Thursday, December 31, 2009

The year in review

2009 was plentiful for me. I know, I feel most people feel differently about 2009 and everyone seems to be focusing on the possibility of 2010. I like the idea of 2010 because of the World Cup, which will be in South Africa. I loved Cape Town and so I am nostalgic feelings of that country. I wish I was more of a soccer fan. I might have arranged to go to a game.
But, I am not. And, soccer fans are crazy!
Nevertheless, 2009 was a good year for me.
I set out to do 12 trips, stateside. The travel bug inspired me to return to places for my past and explore new cities--all in the States. I began in Phoenix with 4 of my friends from high school. We opted to do a reunion type of destination trip. Since I had lived in Tempe, I was the natural choice of tour guide. We dined at 3 of my favorite spots--Los Dos Molinos, Postino and Pizzeria Bianco. I know that my friends enjoyed it. We checked out the Taliesen West, for Hailey; Botannical Gardens, for Jill; Piestywa Peak for Marcee; and Marideth was happy to do it all. She suggested thrift store shopping or making jewelry. I was unable to fully research those options. I ran out of time. I wanted to impress them with the food.
We did some souvenir shopping for all of them since they all are moms and wanted treasures to bring home to their kids. All in all, it was a lovely trip. I am fortunate that they agreed to meet in Phoenix and allow the opportunity to reconnect, as adults. Our senior year, we spent most of it, together.
I met Shari in Napa for the anniversary of Brian's passing. Each year, we explore a different city. I prefer warmer climates. 2010 will be spent in Seattle.
We spent two nights in San Francisco, and one in Napa. Kuleto's wowed us, with a radicchio delight, and we had sea urchin with some of my girl friends from high school. 2009 was about connecting with people from my past.
St. Patrick's was spent in Kansas City. I saw the Silversun Pickups play at the new P & L District. The weather was amazing, for Kansas. For example, my friend, Ames, entertained me with a much needed motorcycle ride. Yes, Kansas in March, was ideal for that.
In April, I flew to Seattle. I spent 3 days with Jean, her twin, Jan, and wine. We drove to Walla Walla, Washington, and proceeded to entertain the locals with our random behavior. I have known Jean, since college, and she has yet to disappoint me. She always is engaging and a ton of fun.
I drove to Santa Fe. I needed that fix. I convinced Melody, my friend and massage therapist to meet me for dinner. In exchange for dinner, she comped me a massage. It was so fantastic that I made her dine with me the following night. We checked the Pink Adobe, 315 Restaurant and Mauka. Chef Joel, of Mauka, was the most amazing of the three options. Plus, we were able to watch him prepare our food and strike up an interesting conversation with him and his staff. If you have time and a food craving, head to Santa Fe and go to Mauka. It is near the Sanbusco.
I enjoyed the road trip, and so I decided to drive to Kansas. I wanted to see my dad, my "grandma" Carol and some other friends. I had a theme to 2009. Reconnect with people from my past. I spent a night at the Eldridge and drank at Free State, my old job and stomping grounds while in college. It felt like home to me.
I flew to Phoenix, again, to get a hair cut and spend time with Jan and Tom. 4 Peaks, Los Dos Molinos and Z Tejas ensued.
Instead of going to my cousin's wedding in Santa Barbara, I continued to train for the marathon. I practiced by completing my first ever 1/2 marathon--the Georgetown/Idaho Springs 1/2. Training sort of took over most of my free time. No longer could I work on Friday nights or travel through Saturday. I was committed to my long days.
I flew to Boston. I planned on spending my anniversary with Brian there. I had had success in Phoenix, Napa and Chicago, years past. Boston intrigued me. I have a friend who lives in Maine and so it became a combo trip. I took a bus to Surry, ME. I spent 3 days with Jean. She was a gracious hostess. I had lobster and ample wine. Again, I like her hosting style.
I returned to Boston and spent two nights there. Thankfully, a friend, Casey, from my past met me for dinner. I loved all of the restaurants we drank wine at, but was disappointed in Mistral--the main event.
3 weeks later, I flew to Washington, D.C. My old duplex mates live there now and so I spent one night with them and two nights with Casey. I had been to D.C., as a child, but didn't appreciate the food, the energy or the subway. Proof was amazing. It is located in Penn Station and again, a real gem of a restaurant. We shared appetizers and sides.
I returned to Denver, 9/25, late, and picked up Saucy Noodle to carb load. I had a 21 mile run planned for the morning. Amazingly, after spending a week gorging myself with rich food and wine, it was by far, the best run I had experienced. I ran without my ipod and alone. The Goddess was running with a different runner and I had a different stride that day. I was confident in my running. Wow, if only that had been the marathon.
Yep, October 18, was the Denver Marathon. I am proud of myself for accomplishing that goal. It was amazing, but I wanted to finish stronger. I am inspired to do it again, sometime, in 2010.
Two back to back trips to Kansas later and I arrive at trip #12, Las Vegas. I figured I should end it on a big note. Food mecca haven, for me. Plus, we stayed at the Bellagio. Can you say, heavenly?
Yes, 2009 was about reconnection, travel and gratitude. People continue to enter my life, for reasons unknown, but it is always beneficial to me. I recognize that I have a little space in my heart for possibility. I recognize that travel continues to stimulate and propel me to new opportunity. And, it continues to introduce people in my life. I met Paula Commerford for lunch at Elway's while she was in the States. We went to high school together and I haven't seen her since high school. Food does connect us all.
Yes, 2009 was wonderful. I am thankful for the opportunities I had and for the continued support of my friends and family. It was about growth and gratitude.
Enjoy the Blue Moon tonight. It should be lovely and peaceful. Welcome 2010. Goodbye to 2009...I learned a lot about myself, this past year.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas continued

Christmas dinner was excellent.
The next morning, we walked to the City Center to check out Aria. First, though, we went to the MGM so that I could get my coffee fix. The Bellagio has a few coffeeshops that are typically inundated with people. I felt Starbuck's calling and so we went to the MGM. I showed Casey around the MGM, mentioning my favorite spots--Nob Hill, the West Wing Bar, Sea Blue. The casino is dark/smoky compared to the Bellagio. I still enjoy staying there, though. My absolute favorite bartender used to work at Nob Hill. Truly, Mark was a mixology god. I miss him!
Next, we walked to the City Center and it was beautiful. How could it not be--it's new and smells heavenly. Seriously, we entered the Aria, the casino that opened and it smelled like marshmellows. No smoke, clean carpets and the beauty of possibility. We checked out a few of the restaurant menus and wandered around the casino. I understood why people were flocking to the building to check it out. It is massive and currently, Aria, is the only casino in the structure that is open. They have a Mandarin Hotel, and a completely separate hotel, the Harmon, that was slated to be Condominiums. Since it had problems selling the condos, it is now an all suite hotel, non-smoking, no casino. The Center is lovely.
At this point, we were hungry. We walked to Caesar's. I wanted to check out Mesa Grill, a Bobby Flay place. I am not a fan of Bobby Flay. I think he is an arrongant chef. I mean, he jumped on his cutting board after winning Iron Chef, one time. Who does that? He's a chef. He should respect the kitchen, not act like a jackass. And, I have seen him on other Food Network Shows and he exudes arrongance. No, I am not naive about chefs. Many of them are cocky, but he seems to take the cake on this factor.
Nevertheless, we went to Mesa because Paul's wife, my sommelier friend from Bouchon, works there. It wasn't busy when we entered. Two other people were dining at the bar and we decided to share a few items. I like to dine this way. It enables me a richer experience in one setting as opposed to getting one entree, each. I like trying as many dishes as possible.
Immediately, I noticed the cheese dip and chilequiles. I really wanted those. I had eaten them while living abroad in Mexico. Basically, it's tortillas cooked in egg, chile and cheese. It's a delight that I hadn't had since 98.
Casey was interested, too, but there were other options. We settled on the cheese dip-mostly since it was served with chips--and I asked for tomatillo salsa, which the bartender brought with the main course. We shared a chicken and pepper hash, with a poached egg on top. It was great and filling and yes, Flay knows what he is doing.
Unfortunately, I could not remember Paul's wife's name and so that trip was in vain. I did like the food and the bartender was pleasant and entertaining. Brunch was available when we dined there. I looked over the regular menu and would have been happy with some of selections.
That night, we returned to the Venetian to check out Mario Batali's restaurant, B&B. My friends, Tim and Joyce, recommended it to me. I respect their palettes and so I wanted to check it out for them. We compare restaurants, in Denver, Napa, San Franciso and other places we have both been. Three weeks ago, they were in Las Vegas and so I foisted Olives and Bouchon on them. They loved each of those and didn't make it to B&B.
Regardless, we dined at Batali's place. The bartender was Brazilian and quite knowledgeable of the menu. I wasn't wowed by the wine list. They offered 5-6 by the glass selections of red and white, respectively. I felt it could be expanded and more user friendly.
We chose the grilled octopus, root vegetable carpaccio and brussel sprout hash. I had to have it. I still was in awe of that side dish at Bouchon.
The octopus was amazing, perfectly grilled and flavorful. I enjoyed the carapaccio with house made ricotta cheese, too. I let Casey devour most of that, though. I liked the brussel sprouts, but were not in love with them. They were more acidic and had pancetta mixed in. I enjoyed it, don't get me wrong, but it wasn't Bouchon.
We asked the bartender, for another suggestion, for dining. He hands me a business card to Carnevino, also in the Venetian, and another Batali place. I wasn't going for that dine only at Batali type of night.
I realized that I wasn't hungry, anymore, either.
Instead, we walked back to the Bellagio, and quickly realized that we had a slight case of food poisioning. I blame it on the pancetta. I had bad pork in Honduras and that is another story in itself. Let's just say...Honduras was much worse.
I still applaud the experience, minus the setback. The octopus was fantastic! I would go back. Plus, they started us with an amuse bouche, and concluded with a small dessert. It was cute.
So, maybe, I should steer clear of pork products. We'll see. I know they have brussel sprout hash at Elway's. Oh, Rapture wine and Elway's, always seems to be a priority in my life.
I finished my Vegas food adventure where it began--at Olives. This time, I met a couple from L.A. and a lady from San Francisco. My bartender, Ernie, was working and so I was treated well from start to finish. I ate a side of cauliflower and a small caesar salad. I met the other diners because both of the women saw my caesar salad and were inspired by it. It is a great caesar salad. I think they charged $9 for the salmon that topped one of the caesar salads which seemed much. I mean, it was a 5 oz. salmon. But, then again, it is Vegas.
Until next time, I will remain hopeful of my dining options and people that I meet. Bouchon and Olives will continue to be my must do food list. I might go to the Elvis Show next time in town. Who doesn't love the King???

Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas in Vegas

Another successful holiday in Las Vegas--I love it!
I arrived on Friday afternoon and made my way to the Bellagio. I was uncertain if they would let me check in at noon, so I was prepared to check my bag and go to Olives. I had forgotten that Las Vegas is all about accomodating the needs of guest, ensuring the quality of the stay. I was grateful to be able to check in to my room.
I stopped in Olives, hoping to see my bartending friend, Joe. I had met him on previous trips out to Las Vegas. I always dine at Olives.
Joe wasn't working, but I befriended the other bartenders. The bar was packed, and I found myself sitting by a single lady. I started talking to her, suggesting restaurants to check out and listening to her story of xmas in Vegas. She was out for five days and more interested in the gambling aspect than me. She had arranged for a full spa day, too. I wish I had taken that route. Nevertheless, we had a pleasant conversation. I wished her luck and was on with my day.
Casey arrived after a treacherous ride to the airport in Kansas City. There was that ridiculous snow storm that had covered the midwest. He had a time getting out of Lawrence and thankfully, most of the flights were delayed. He was able to make it to Las Vegas.
My friends, Carrie and Adrian, live in Las Vegas. I wanted to see them and so we met at Olives, again, for drinks on christmas day. The bartender, Ernie, remembered my first visit and we were rewarded with strong cocktails. I love seeing Carrie since she is always entertaining. She never disappoints. We reminisce about our youth in Phoenix and other trips to Las Vegas. Carrie has been there since 2001. She met Brian, a few times, and some of my other friends too. Carrie is good people.
We had dinner reservations at Bouchon. Because of this, we cut our time with Carrie and Adrian short. We walked to the Venetian and made our way to Bouchon.
Paul, my sommelier friend, greeted us with champagne. We chose the trout, pomme frites and brussel sprouts. Paul suggested a rose' to accompany the main course. The standout, for me, was the brussel sprouts. I loved them. I was sad that it was only a side dish--they were that good. The trout was nice, but I have had better entrees at Bouchon. I enjoyed the fish, but it was topped with cauliflower and diced potatoes. I couldn't understand why the potatoes were part of the dish. They were blah. Of course, fries with dijon are always tasty.
Afterwards, Paul approached us with the dessert menu. Since I have been on a carrot cake kick *for the last year*, I was disappointed that they didn't offer it. Paul, the accomodating sommelier, went to another place in the Venetian and brought me carrot cake. I had a snifter of Ron Zabaco Rum, with coffee and concluded the evening.
Yes, Christmas was successful. Bouchon always rewards. I will write more later. I know that I have been a slacker the last few days. I have been busy with work and tending to the holidays. I hope yours were plentiful and great!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Gratitude cards

Normally, I love christmas cards. I love receiving them. I enjoy writing them.
A few years ago, I had a lovely time retelling a story of my last christmas with Brian. He loved Christmas and lavished me with gifts. This was his holiday while I preferred our birthdays. They are a day apart and so you can see how easy it was to go extreme with the birthdays. It benefitted both of us.
For whatever reason, I did not have the same feelings for Christmas. I knew that he wanted the Bouchon cookbook, from Thomas Keller, that had just been released. I couldn't find it and so I settled for a Nobu cookbook.
Christmas Day arrived and we exchanged gifts. He opened his first and liked it, and then handed me a large gift. I knew it was a book and was a little confused as to what he had gotten me. I unwrap it and it's the Bouchon cookbook. I am devastated. I mean, it was what I had wanted to buy for him. My mind jumps to--well, this is a gift for him.
I unwrap the plastic wrap surrounding the book. I read the cover and I put it on the table. Truly, I had no interest in the book. It was his gift, not mine. He looked at me and said, "Harmony, you missed something. Here." He hands the cookbook back to me and I notice that there are two inserts in the book. I assume they are coupons for Keller's next book release. I open the papers and realize that he had bought us a trip to Las Vegas and we had dinner reservations at Bouchon. I was overjoyed and ecstatic! Again, Brian and tricked me and enjoyed the gift exchange as much as I had. I know that my reactions were priceless. I have never been a good liar. I express too much.
I wanted to share the christmas story and how fun it was to be able to make that my Christmas Story for 2006. 2007 was skipped since I was traveling. I had my blog and that was my way of relating my experiences while traveling during the holidays. I spent Christmas in Margaret River, Australia. That, too, was amazing, but different. I spent both days on the beach with a Scot, a Canadian and a Brit. I think I made myself rice and veggies for the celebratory dinner. We had pints at a pub and that was that.
2008, I sent out a letter. It was not very memorable and so I will not even attempt to remember it.
This year, I had little motivation to do anything. I am enjoying the weather, too much, I think, to think about christmas. Yesterday, I finally got in the spirit.
I am sending out some gratitude cards. Yep, I bought thank you cards. It seemed more interesting and genuine. I do have much to be thankful. I have a new apartment, with a concerned landlord. I love my neighborhood. I am 12 blocks from the Denver Public Library which is fantastic. I am closer to a Whole Foods to feed my tamari almond addiction and I am steps away from Argonaut Liquor Store. Lately, I seem to be restocking my wine more. Hmmmmmm.....could be my visitor.
Anyways, I am grateful for many things in my life. I look around me and see strife, war, negativity, Tiger Wood's affairs and our fascination with them, instead of focusing on what is important.
I opted to purchase gifts because I wanted to, not because I felt obligated too. And with that lack of obligation, the gratitude cards became a reality.
There is still time to donate to your local shelter, salvation army or hospital. If you are interested in a specific organization, check out It is an organization that helps inner city kids in New York. Each year they arrange summer camps or stays with host families. Donating helps more kids be able to enjoy the outdoors and open their minds to opportunities/possibilities outside of their homelife.
Or, if you are a runner or new runner and want to plan a race in March, consider the NYC 1/2 on March 21, 2010. The Fresh Air Organization is hosting a team and would love donors or runners for that premier event. Think about it---New York in March could be lovely! I might even try to do it. The Goddess and I are still deciding on a 1/2 in either March or April. After April, she will be residing in Flagstaff, AZ, which is fantastic for her personal life, but sad for me and my running. I am sure that I will befriend another runner that motivates me.
I hope this finds you well and I apologize for the length. I felt it was important to build the gratitude story and I couldn't do it without mentioning my Bouchon book story. Be well!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Caveau Wine Bar....

I have been wanting to check out Caveau for some time.
Everytime that I would suggest it, someone would remember how much I love Elway's or Lala's--due to the convenience factor. In all honesty, I "heart" Elway's and tolerate Lala's. The service, there, is consistently poor and the wine list lacks. It does not suit the calibre of a true wine bar.
That being said, last night, I went to Caveau, with my friend Jenny. Jenny and I met when we were 10 years old. Fast friends. I believe I spent 3 solid months at her house when they moved to the neighborhood. My mom kept warning me that I would wear out my welcome. For whatever reason, Jenny kept inviting me back.
My parents divorced and we moved to the north side of town with my mom. My friendship with Jenny, changed, as is normal. We lived far apart and our interests changed as we entered high school. I worked, all of the time; and, she was able to enjoy the high school experience, more than I did. We continued to be friends, but not in the same-stay-at-my-house-for-three-months-type of friendship.
We went to different colleges.
I moved to Denver. She did, too.
For the last 8 years, we attempt to meet up, more than once a year. We haven't been too successful with it. We try. We do. But, our lives are busy. Jenny works a lot, is married and travels with her job. I travel as often as possible and my schedule changes each week.
Last night, she agreed to meet me at Caveau. I chose the place and asked her to meet me at 5:30. I had made plans to run with the Goddess and since I hadn't heard from Jenny, I pushed my run time, back to 4:30. Of course, Jenny e-mailed that she could meet me at 5:30. I responded that 6ish would be preferable and rushed to make it work.
I had forgotten that Jenny is perpetually late. I arrived at 6, entered the packed bar and looked lost. I know that I did. There were no bar seats available and the restaurant was full. A girl approached me and offered to help me out. She suggested standing at the bar, until one of two tables left. She saw my jacket and commented on how great the Bull & Bush was. I mentioned that I worked there and we were immediate friends. Dana saw to my needs, from that point on.
I was impressed with the wine list. They offer 1/2 price glasses of wine, daily, from 4-7 pm. Any glass under $12, is $5 during that time. I understood why it was packed with people. Again, the wine list was user friendly and they offered pizza, bruschetta, meatballs and a cheese plate. We sampled the bruschetta and meatballs.
Dana was not our server, unfortunately. Our server was slammed and so the service was a little slow, but they were kind and it was obvious that she was busy, not lazy. When you order a glass of wine, they bring you the bottle and pour a sample of the wine so that you determine, if yes, you enjoy it. I like the concept, but it is time consuming during happy hour. It definitely slowed them down.
Jenny and her husband, Josh, met me, which was great. I enjoy them, as a couple, and I wasn't upset that she included him. I do have friends, that are couples, who make out the entire time I meet with them. That is not enjoyable or fun to encounter or endure. Or, I find that I censor my conversation with couples. There are exceptions--Steve and Sarah--and now, Jenny and Josh.
If you have time, check out Caveau. It is located at 17th and Pennsylvania. Parking is decent and again, the wine list is varied. It isn't the standard b.s. list that people are familiar with. I think if you advertise that you are a wine bar, than have a wine list that is user friendly and unique.
Jenny and I arranged to meet in February. I made sure she put it in her phone and we even decided on a place. There is no stopping us now!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Faith in Top Chef restored....

I loved Top Chef.
It was the ultimate cooking show--creative, competitive and new. The first season was about the food, not the drama, of most reality shows. I enjoyed watching the quick fires and elimination challenges. Of course, there was some drama--Steven, Tiffany and Dave all provided it. For example, the famous--I'm not your bitch, Bitch--sequence between Dave and Tiffany. Or, Steven's rant on Kandance about her lack of skill in the kitchen. Harold remained calm and was announced the first Top Chef.
I continued to watch Top Chef and with each season, the focus shifted to the contestants b.s. and less on the cooking. The challenges seemed uninspired. I was bored, but wanted it to be captivating. I remained loyal to the show.
I lost my faith in it when Stefanie won Season 4. It seemed like a complete cop-out, to me. Like, the show felt it needed a female Top Chef. Stefanie has skills, but I didn't believe she honestly beat Richard--the steadfast "Harold" type of Chef from Season 4.
Then, I traveled. I returned to the States and no longer had cable. I rely on to catch up on my shows. Hulu and Bravo do not have a symbiotic relationship, it seems. I saw a few episodes from last season, when Hosea won. This too, seemed, unlikely, since he whined the entire season and did not seem that great. I know he is from Colorado and should be thrilled that he won. I felt it was an afterthought, though.
This season, I saw two episodes, on-line. I wanted to view more since the season seemed more interesting than the previous three. I felt the show had returned to its humble beginnings in the cooking genre. I was perusing episodes, offered by this morning, and saw that they had the finale, on-line. I began watching it and knew that the three remaining chefs deserved to be there. I was happy when they announced the winner. Michael deserves to be Top Chef. My faith in the show, is restored, for now. I wonder how they will continue to challenge contestants or interest viewers. Will there be a Season 7? Hopefully, Hulu will have the episodes, available.
If not, I will figure out a way to view the show...

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Butternut Squash

It began with squash--the vegetable, not the sport.
Last night, I went to Bryn's house. We try to meet up, once a week, for a gab session and lately, my laundry. We drink coffee or tea, walk the lake and eat dinner. I knew that Bryn wanted mexican. There is a family owned restaurant, near her, that is our place to eat mexican. I swear, the same waiter, Jose, never leaves the restaurant. I believe he has waited on us every single time we have eaten there. I think we have been dining, there, for about 7 years. I enjoy their chips and salsa and I like their breakfast burrito, too. We are fairly regular in our order--burrito, no lettuce or cheese, smothered, with tomatoes and a side of rice. Good, hearty, standard, consistent food. I am always happy when we go to Tafolino's.
However, I wanted Edgewater Inn Pizza. This is another family run establishment, near Bryn's house and the pizza is quite good. Normally, we order take-out and make a salad at her house. I had been craving pizza since Casey mentioned his desire to go to Rudy's Pizza.
We ate mexican since I was doing laundry at her house. I appreciated that she was saving me the inconveniece of sitting at the laundromat, waiting hopelessly, for my clothes to dry. Next time, I will suggest pizza.
The cold prohibited us from walking the lake and so we drank coffee and dished on life. I told her that I wanted to cook squash. I wanted to make use of the seasonal vegetables. I guess I am inspired to use my kitchen since I have someone to cook for now. Even if it is temporary, I am motivated to use my kitchen knives, cutting board and random equipment. I feel it is time to get them out of storage.
Her response was that I should take one of hers. I didn't since I forgot. I was preoccupied with collecting my belongings and laundry.
My house guest returned from work and we talked about our days. I sensed that she wanted to be alone and so I grabbed my Moosewood Cookbook and looked at squash recipes. In the index, it was referenced and the one labeled--Chilean Bean Stew--interested me. I looked at the recipe and realized that it was the porotos granados that I had searched out while in Santiago, Chile. Basically, it is pinto beans, corn and squash. I walked 14 miles, or forever, to go to one of the best places for it while in Santiago. It was my last day there and I did not consult the map before beginning my walk to the restaurant. I know, blonde moment, and yes, this does happen to me when traveling. I think it makes for a better adventure or a more animated retell of the story. I know that I blogged about that particular story while in Chile. I met an interesting guy on my walk and for once, found my voice and was able to tell him off. Blonde hair in Chile means never being able to walk or run without notice. Factor in it being South America, the whole machismo crap and you get a sense of what I was dealing with.
Yes, it started with the idea of squash. I walked to Safeway to purchase the necessary items to make the porotos tonight. I am excited and hopeful that Sara will enjoy it, too. If not, there is always ample wine to cover the lack of flavor, right?
Either way, I am excited to be using my kitchen my again. It is the beginnning of a new phase in my life....less dining out and more experimenting at home. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The food factor from Friday night....

Initially, I had wanted to dine at JJ's in Kansas City. I had been there, before, and loved the wine list. On my last visit, I was not wowed by the food, but I loved the wine list. In my world, I wanted to fly into KC, head to JJ's for wine and small plates and drive to Lawrence.
My plan did not mesh with Casey's and so JJ's on Wednesday was not an option.
He suggested going into the city on Friday. We could go to the Nelson Art Museum, walk around the Plaza and dine at JJ's. For whatever reason, I knew our opportunity had passed. It would be a different trip. It seemed foolish to make the trip on Friday since I had to be back at the airport, early, Saturday morning.
Friday became a free day. We decided to focus on restaurants in Lawrence. There were new options and the best way to check out all of them, was to course know, an appetizer here, small plate there. We decided to begin at Pachamama's, go to either 715 or Genovese, but definitely check out Angler's. We accomplished two of the four since we had dessert at Free State. It is the natural mecca when I am in Lawrence.
We arrived at Pachamama's and headed to the bar. Since we were only having small plates, we opted to dine there and not waste a table for a server. The bar, itself, had twelve bar stools and filled to capacity. They had a promotion of wine and small plates that looked interesting, but we did not explore that option. I perused the wine list and they offered two different sizes of wine glass or by the bottle. We chose the Ridge Zinfandel and waited to order the food. They had 4 male bartenders at the bar. I was surprised, given the amount of space, and believed that we would be overwhelmed by their attentiveness. We weren't.
We tried a crab roll and pommes frites. The menu was interesting and I would like to check out some of the flavor profiles. The wine list was user friendly and they carried Free State and Boulevard Beer. I like establishments that support local brews/products.
The crab roll was tasty and the fries were fine. I wanted them for the dijon mustard that accompanied them. I did like that. I believe the mustard was the highlight of the meal. The atmostphere was upscale trendy. We weren't out of place, but it wasn't as inviting as I would have liked. It seemed stuffy.
From Pachamama's, we drove to Angler's which is a few blocks away. Angler's is a new addition to Lawrence. Our friend, Dave, recommended the place. He said the oysters were awesome and that they had a fantastic beer selection. They were excellent and the place was lively. I loved the feel of it immediately.
The owner shucked our oysters and entertained us while we dined at the bar. I would have preferred to experience the entire Friday night meal, there, and skipped Pachamama's. When we walked in, we were greeted by the lobster tank. It made me laugh since we were definitely land locked in Kansas.
I had wanted to check out a third restaurant. I was full, though, and dessert sounded necessary. Free State has carrot cake. Enough said.
I had another Santa's Helper and chatted up my old co-workers and friends. I did enjoy dining in Lawrence and figure I can always go to JJ's on another trip. I will return to Angler's. When I was in school, Pachamama's was opening and it was definitely, the elite option. The location has changed, making it more available to diners like me, that enjoy coursing out the meal. Another trip, another meal, another experience.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Cabin Fever

The weather is ridiculous. It is 8 degrees. How can I function in this weather? I am not handling it well. I am determined to stay inside. I have limited movies, books that I have read, which is a fantastic way to waste time and I do have food. I stocked up, somewhat, since I have a house guest for an undetermined amount of time.
I don't have coffee, though.
I will be venturing out to rectify that issue. I need it. I want it and I like to be able to appear to be a gracious hostess.
I called my landlord to let him know about my situation. I wanted him to know that I would have a temporary guest and approve of additional keys being made. I tried to do it on my own, yesterday, without success. He has the Do Not Duplicate keys and I wasn't crafty enough to persuade the guy at Ace Hardware to overlook the techinicality. He suggested having the landlord authorize the keys being made with a letter on a letterhead from his building.
I called Dustin. He told me that it would cost $45 to have additional keys made. I was shocked and tried to suggest the other route--letterhead, but he insisted that this was the only option. He had tried to do it in the past, but told me that a locksmith was the only way to have keys made. I agreed to it since I want to feel safe in my space and I want my friend to be able to come and go as she pleases. I do not want her locked out.
I figure I did the right thing. I notified Dustin of the temporary situation and was processing how to justify the cost of the keys. Safety/security trumps feeling insecure due to not locking one of the doors to ensure entry for her.
Dustin stopped by with my lease and said--you are in luck....I found a few copies of the keys that you are responsible for if you lose them. AWESOME. And this validates doing the right thing. I am certain that the Slumlord would have found some way to make sure that I paid for keys, the door, the extra person in his house. Basically, somehow he would be compensated. Funny, I still haven't heard from him regarding my deposit. He will forever be the SLUMLORD in my book.
Although, I have severe cabin fever and mass boredom, I am accomplishing some tasks. I know that I will venture out for coffee and maybe library books. I need something to read. This hulu connection is lovely, but mindless. I need to be challenged not brain dead.
I will comment on my experience at Pachamama's later. I checked out another place in Lawrence, too, Angler's, which was fantastic and a rare find.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Part two

Day two of my 3 day trip began with the walk to campus, followed by lunch at Free State and risotto at Casey's place. I wrote about the walk a few posts back. It started and ended with biting cold.
On the walk, I mentioned preferring Teller's to Free State because of the proximity. It is two blocks from Free State and at that point, I wanted warmth, not more distraction.
Teller's is a restaurant that used to be a bank. While in college, I used to frequent it for Italian margaritas with Jean (when I was underrage and wanting the sweet drink), martini's with Sarah (the Sarah from college that lives in my favorite city in the world--San Francisco) and wine as an adult. I had eaten there a few times. It is fairly standard italian fare. In college, it was a dining destination, a romantic date night type of restaurant. I worked at Fifi's and was spoiled by their food.
Rarely did I frequent Teller's for food. No, for me, it was all about the drinks, the wine, the conversations that occurred after working a shift at Free State. I haven't dined there in years. I think I made Brian dine there, once, on a visit to Kansas.
Regardless, we ate at Free State Brewery, a place that I used to work. It continues to be the best run restaurant, in my book. It is a well-oiled machine, incredibly efficient and consistent. The beer is stellar and the fare is cheap and good. They have specials and many options. We chose to dine at the bar, since I am a bar kid. Casey knew the bartender. I did not. Initially, the bartender deferred to Casey for all decisions. I was annoyed, but dealed with it. We decided to share a chimichurri pasta salad and a black bean quesadilla. Free State has great mustard and so I insisted that we share a side of fries.
The food arrived and I was disappointed. The rice and the fries were cold. The salad was boring and lacked salt. But, I was hungry and so I ate it.
The beer was excellent. I tried the Santa's Helper, which is a belgian style beer. As the meal progressed, the bartender talked to me--finally. The bar, itself, is small. Initially, it appeared that the guy didn't enjoy his job. I think he was having an off day. I ran into him on Friday night and he was more animated and lively.
Overall, I like Free State and will dine there again. It holds many memories, for me, good and bad. Work is always a mixed bag of memories and I frequented Free State throughout my time in Lawrence. Even though I wasn't wowed by the food, I know that it can be much better. They are not sacrificing the quality for a cheaper product. I think it was an off day.
That night, we had dinner at Casey's house. He made mushroom risotto. I love risotto and I enjoyed his rendition of it. I laughed while he critiqued everything about the meal and how much better it should have been. We are hardest on ourselves, I believe.
I will post more about the food factor in Lawrence and my time spent in Kansas. I did enjoy checking out Free State, the Eldridge bar, Teller's and the Pig. Lawrence continues to be "good" to me. And, for the first time ever, I dined at Pachamama's. That place is "the" place to dine in Lawrence. I will explain why and why not later....

Traveling to the midwest--part one of the food factor in Lawrence...

I had a brief visit to Kansas and froze. I covered the weather and that fact in my last post. It stayed with me since it was THAT cold. Really, truly, was terrible.
I woke up. I overslept and it was snowing in Denver. I had agreed to bring coffee to Tiffany and so I made my way to Daz Bog. Normally, I would have stopped at Peet's coffeeshop, but knew that parking would be an issue. Instead, I drove, slowly, to Daz Bog and picked up our respective coffees.
I met Tiffany at the Bull and Bush and she drove me to the airport. Immediately, I recognized that in my haste to meet her and bring coffee, I had forgotten my travel water bottle. Mistake #1--avoid purchasing unnecessary items at the airport. Everything is overpriced and again, unnecessary. I had gum. I had hoped to eat prior to meeting Tiffany, but figured I could have lunch with Casey. Mistake #2--skipping breakfast unintentionally. I should have eaten either an english muffin at my house or a pastry that Mark offered me at Daz Bog. Either way, food would have been nice.
I flew in and we drove directly to Lawrence. I was famished. I arrived at 1:15 pm and we drove to Lawrence. No stops for wine or food. Instead, we ran errands. I was a little annoyed because of the hunger, but was trying to remain positive.
Since we were running errands, my hunger waned. I was beyond hungry and so when it came to choosing a place, I couldn't decide. I considered mexican--typical--but Casey was uninterested. He suggested going to Aladdin Cafe, but I wanted to check out La Parilla. I hadn't been there since a trip out with Brian and I had fond memories of it.
La Parilla is south american fare and, again, I had enjoyed it. We entered the restaurant and we were the only diners. Well, it was an odd time to eat lunch. I think it was 3:30 at that point.
Anyways, Casey chose the special and I was intrigued by the salvadoran enchiladas. I considered fish tacos but thought better of it. Fish in the midwest could have less than desireable results. The salvadoran enchiladas were potato, yuca and cheese, or something to that effect. We began with chips and salsa. The chips were fresh, unsalted, but recently fried. I overlooked the lack of salt and tried the salsa--too sweet, but hunger kicked back in and I ate it.
The food arrived and it was okay. It lacked flavor and I suffered through it. I was disappointed with the food. I remembered it being tasty and flavorful. Plus, the margaritas used to rock. The house ones we drank were mostly sweet and sour.
We decided to check out the Bourgeois Pig...again, another place that I used to enjoy while in college. We entered the coffee shop and ordered a drink. I chose a ginger infused vodka with soda. As we caught up with each other's lives, I recalled the delicious hazelnut coffee that used to draw me to the establishment when I was in school. Suddenly, a pot was brewed and I had other fond memories of Lawrence. Although, I do not believe that I would be able to drink the coffee now--too sweet.
The day started off, frantically, but ended in a calm fashion. We watched the KU game at a pub and drank red wine. More later on my food adventures while in Kansas. I promise I will stop lamenting the weather.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

I am defeated.....

Typically, I am a freak...when it comes to nature that is. I wear shorts yearround. I prefer it.
I get hot. I have mentioned it before. I know that I brought up performance art, lack of pants and what not. That is, until I went to Kansas.
It's not like I haven't experienced a winter in Kansas. I have. I did it for my entire childhood, adolescence and college. Funny how easily it was forgotten.
I visited last week.
I checked the Weather Channel-35-40 degrees all week. I figured it was similar to being in Denver. I forgot one thing...the wind.
The wind won.
I had no defense. I was defeated.
We walked to campus from Casey's house. It is about a mile and a half...maybe a little more. I had a bus pass when I was in school, but I rarely used it. I preferred walking then and I tried to continue with that decision.
The sun was shining. I was wearhing my standard outfit--shorts, polo and my Bull and Bush Dickey's jacket. Casey thought I was crazy and he asked me where my jeans were. I explained that I would be fine. The weather was similar to Denver and I had just walked in 35 degree weather with no problems.
We departed and started the walk towards KU.
I attempted to speed walk. He stopped me. He wasn't strolling, like Chileans, but due to the weather, I would have liked to have walked a faster pace.
Nevertheless, the initial part of our walk was pleasant.
We approached the Union and I was beginning to get uncomfortable. I was cold, but not ready to admit it. I purchased a few items in the bookstore and we opted to walk downtown for lunch. I had wanted to eat at Yellow Sub. When I was a student, there was a Yellow Sub, next to Union. I remember dining there and having beers at the Crossing. Funny, this time, there was empty space. Some construction, but no signs of either building.
So, we walked downtown. The five blocks of Mass. St. continued to grow, as I was freezing. Our destination was Free State, but I would have readily settled for Teller's to get out of the cold. The last two blocks were brutal. I couldn't continue. I told Casey that it was no longer a question of enjoying too many beers...I wouldn't be able to walk back to his place due to the bitter cold. I lost. Kansas and its wind won. If I go back, I must have long pants to battle the cold.
Funny, how it snowed today, in Denver. I never once considered wearing jeans to work. There is something about the weather in Denver that feels normal to me. Shorts yearround and sunshine minus the biting cold. I choose Denver.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

I bought pants....

I know--that sounds like sacrilige, coming from me.
No worries...they are running pants. I figure if I want to avoid a gym membership and treadmill, than I needed to invest in some running pants for the winter. Today was the perfect example of why I need pants to continue training. The weather altered and my walk home was frigid.
Again, I know this sounds odd, coming from me. Typically, I wear shorts yearround. Correction, I wear shorts indoors. Yes, it isn't awful where there are heaters. Actually, I think I overheat at work and in my house.
Truly, I own two pairs of Levi's (somewhere, that I bought in 2000 or 2001--uncertain--it's been that long). I wore jeans to work, one time, and knew it was a mistake within 20 minutes. I was hot and I had 9 hours to despise how hot it was and how uncomfortable my night would be. So, I wear shorts.
I enjoy watching people's reactions. It feels like performance art. I have walked through Target, several times, and people either stop and stare, or feel it necessary to question my sanity. Really, aren't you cold or better yet--you are making me cold. I am all about comfort.
Hence, the running pants. I am committed to running. I enjoy it and I hope to accomplish two 1/2 marathons in 2010 and one full. I know that I will do the Napa 1/2 which is July 18th. I am recruiting other runners and friends to do that particular race. It will be awesome. I mean, what better way to celebrate finishing a half marathon than having ample wine or sparkling wine? Chandon is a fun winery and yes, they have lovely "champagne". I have been there several times and enjoyed the atmosphere.
I haven't decided what other half to tackle. I believe the Goddess and I are signing up for one, prior to her move to Flagstaff. I am sad that she is moving, but know how excited she is for this adventure. We would like to do a 1/2 in April or May. I prefer April. If anyone has any suggestions of fun events, please let me know.
Also, I hope to run another full. I would like to run a sea level, flat, warm race. I like the idea of Chicago, but the weather is an issue. I have heard that Austin is a great marathon because it is flat. Phoenix would work if it weren't in January. I would like to be able to get more running under my belt before any long race.
I don't know. I am sure that something will feel right. I might even try the Denver Marathon, again. Next year it will be a Rock n Roll Marathon. There is an advantage to that marathon since again, it goes by my house. I don't know if I will be able to resist the temptation, though.
Regardless, I bought pants. I realize that for the last few months, most of my purchases have been running related. I guess I have found my hobby. Thanks for listening.

Mundane randomness and thanksgiving recap--finally's cold.
Wow, what a difference an hour makes.
At 3 pm, I went for an afternoon run. I had to delay my plans since I was waiting for my landlord to stop by so that I could pay him for December rent. He can be somewhat flaky and so I wanted to be close to my place. I didn't want to have to arrange another meeting. And, I mean, flaky in the sense that his time can be off...not that he completely blows me off or anything. Just that he loses track of time, sometimes. It has worked in my favor and I am not complaining by any means. He is a complete improvement over the Slumlord. He maintains the property, shovels the sidewalks and appears to take my concerns seriously.
For instance, this afternoon, I mentioned that my downstairs neighbor was fighting with his girlfriend. 20 minutes later, it ceased. Dustin is a great landlord in my book.
Anyways, I went for a light run. I contemplated going longer or faster. Than, I convinced myself that it was okay that I was only going for a bit. I mean, anything is better than nothing, right? Or, that was my reasoning this afternoon.
I opted to walk to Cherry Creek for stamps and coffee. Somehow I lost my stamps and I needed them for the upcoming holidays. Plus, I had written two cards this afternoon and wanted to send them off.
I showered and departed. It was FREEZING. Ridiculously cold. The sun was still out, but the weather had turned. Where did the heat go? Wow, my walk back from the Safeway was bittersweet. I talked to Jade on the walk back and froze. I couldn't believe how cold it had gotten. And, no, I didn't make it to Cherry Creek--thank goodness. I might have called a cab for that walk back.
Now, I am home, warm and safe inside. I took a brief break from blogging. My holiday was fantastic. I had a lovely Thanksgiving with Bryn and her family. I have spent several thanksgivings with them. I am grateful to have them in my life for their making me feel like one of the family. Her dad makes the best oyster stuffing and typically, we have lunch followed by coffee and pie. I always feel peaceful after spending time with them.
I met Morgan on Friday morning. I follow Morgan's blog--Caution Redhead Running, and since she was in town for the holidays we met for coffee. We had considered a run, but I was a chicken. My minor tendon injury allowed me to suggest coffee and not join her for the 10 mile run. It was great to meet her in person and we had a wonderful conversation. I felt fortunate that she made time for me while visiting her family. I hope to head to Florida in 2010 for fun and possibly a run--who knows? Travel is always welcome in my world.
On Saturday morning, I met up with Steve and Alecia from Kansas. They are creating new traditions for themselves and decided to go to the Broncos Game for Thanksgiving. They had a blast and we were planning on meeting up for drinks on Friday, but an allergy attack from her and my cold prevented it. Instead, we had breakfast at Lucille's. Food is friendly, you know? I mean, if you are unable to meet for drinks, at least, find a suitable restaurant to share a meal. Lucille's has awesome breakfast and great bloody mary's. Yes, I know this from experience.
I think I took a break to reflect on life. I am still reflecting, but I missed blogging. I want to continue running, travel and take a class. I have a friend that took cake decorating classes. My aunt is quilting and learning how to crochet and I feel an itch to learn something new. I haven't figured out what, but it's there.
Have a great night....

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

my personal challenge the world wednesday....

Last week, Reduce Footprints posted a challenge regarding trash and the amount of trash we personally waste. They recommended not throwing your trash out for a week, look through it, really consider what is trash and what can be reused or recycled.
Personally, I didn't post about it, but I thought about it.
At work, I collected empty bottles of champagne, vodka and wine and took two cases to be recycled. The brunch shift is all about bloody mary's, screw drivers and mimosas. We almost always go through a case of vodka.
I dropped off my moving boxes, too. I felt that I should be doing my part. Not only saying it, but actively participating, too.
I went to my neighborhood laundry mat and read two magazines while I waited for my clothes to dry. I read an article on Guy Ritchie, the new chefs in Portland, OR, the top restaurants to check out in the States and an article about a family in New York that went without modern convenience for a year. He wrote a book--No Impact Man, and there is a movie coming out as well. He was determined to live simply, without overtaxing the environment. They stopped eating out to lessen the take-out box, shopped at farmer's markets instead of grocery shopping to cut out the use of plastic bags, shopped more frequently and used what they needed as opposed to wasting what they had overshopped. Apparently in the interview, he met the journalist with a mason jar full of coffee instead of the standard to-go cup.
I am not that able to reprioritize my life at this point. Or, realistically, I do not want to cut all convenience out of my life. However, I am interested in small changes that leads to more awareness and lessoning my overall "footprint". For example, I am determined to use my take-out coffee mug instead of purchasing a new throwaway cup each time I purchase coffee. I would like to use all of my hot tea and then invest in loose leaf tea for future use. I have a handy dandy strainer that is specifically used for that purpose. I do recycle most of my trash and rarely fill a bag more than once every two weeks.
I walk everywhere.
There are always ways to improve things.
Enjoy your day even if it is filled with grocery shopping, stress or road rage. Me, I will be walking to the store to purchase wine for thanksgiving dinner tomorrow. I continue to be thankful for my convenient location.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Holiday spirit

Is there joy in the world?
I see it, sometimes, on customer's faces or people I encounter on the street, the store, the coffee shop. A glimmer of hope, a smile, gratitude.
Most days, I see sadness and despair. For instance, today, I waited on this woman that had no joy in her life, or so it appeared. She was unsmiling and wanted the apple steak salad without bleu cheese and the dressing on the side. Very strict and boring, to be honest. She was extremely precise and rigid with her posture and her demeanor. On the plus side, she did tip well.
Lately, I seem to question that when I am pondering life. I worry that we are carrying to much stress in our lives. I see how much difference a smile makes. I am trying to smile more often or be nice. I know, if you know me, it is trying for me to do either of these things. I used to cringe when customers would tell me that I should smile. My typical response would be--I am not a I do not smile on command.
Again, that was the past and now, I am thankful for my life and as we embark on Thanksgiving, I see more and more strife around me.
I wish that I had told my sister's my wishes, last year.
Every year, we exchange gifts and as much as I enjoy this practice, I know there are people out there who have nothing. I considered donating their gifts, last year, and didn't do anything about it to change it for this year.
My aunt donated my gift to the Heifer Fund, last year. I think she bought a goat for a family in Africa. It was either a goat or a chicken. She was excited about her idea, how it would benefit that community and told me that was what she preferred instead of giving me a gift.
Plus, when it came to moving in October, I was grateful that I had less crap to move. Not that my gifts are crap, but instead of receiving something another material good, why not give back?
This year is another gift giving year since I know Jade has already bought all of her gifts and it isn't fair to spring it on her with short notice. But, I am going to make it a point to change our gift exchange for the future.
I saw on the news that they expect a 38% decline for charities this holiday season. That, alone, makes me sad. If you are able, donate food, money to a charity or simplify your life and take used goods to good will. We can all benefit from spreading a little joy, right?
In other news, I went running, earlier this afternoon, and it felt great. No pain on my foot or knee issues. Instead, it was blissful and instead of focusing on my physical issues, I was able to think of the lack of joy in the world and what I could do to change it, on an individual level. My life is positive and rife with possibility...

Friday, November 20, 2009


After a much needed massage, earlier today, I decided to go for a run. The weather is beautiful and I wanted to take advantage of it. I considered yoga, but didn't want to drive to the Highlands. Plus, the sun is out and why not enjoy the neighborhood?
I warmed up and was truly feeling it. I thought of all of my runs with the Goddess and how I felt confident, enough, in my own running to go solo. Of course, I do enjoy running with Lindsay and will continue to do so.
Anyways, I was beginning the home stretch when this woman with a stroller crosses over to my side of the street. I run towards her and her two grandkids and smile at them. I feel encroached on, somewhat, and as we pass each other, I step down funny on my left foot and F**k, that's right, I reinjure my freaking tendon. AWESOME...if only, she had given me a little more space to maneuver. Her stroller took up most of the sidewalk and I was trying to be respectful of the space issue. I moved to my right where there was a rock landscape and you know the rest.
Now, I am at home, I took off my shoe and there it was--my old friend. The bubble on my foot that took forever to go away. This sucks! It truly, effing sucks...right as I am about to begin running again. Plus, I remember how awkward it was to walk, some days, forget running. I know I am okay and that I will heal, but really, how difficult is it to share public space? I did scream the F word and she goes--oh, are you okay? No, I am not okay. My foot is in immense pain. She kept walking....hmmm....why couldn't she have stayed on the other side of the street or why didn't I continue onto Speer? Oh, that's right, I didn't want to wait for the light to change.
Enough complaining. I know. I am just super irritated by the ways things turned out.

Chardonnay inspired dreams....

I am a red wine drinker.
For a brief period of time, I did enjoy white wine. I started drinking wine in 95 when I worked at Fifi's. It was a job requirement to be able to talk about their wine selection. My first bottle, bought, was a 95 Kunde Cabernet. I drank it with my friend, Heather, and we loathed it. We ate sugar cookies from Joe's Bakery in Lawrence and opted to drink white wine. Not white zin, but white wine.
It was extremely brief.
I do enjoy a sauvignon blanc or pinot gris, every now and then, to protect my teeth from looking too stained. I have a nickname of "purple teeth" and so yes, I am a red wine drinker.
I had a bottle of Gundlach Bundschu chardonnay. It has been in my cabinent for a few years. On Wednesday, I had drinks with my reader and our mutual friend, Christina. I returned home and felt that I wanted another glass of wine and so I opened the bottle of chardonnay.
It hadn't changed and my dislike of it hadn't changed either. It is too buttery and heavy, to me. I still drank it.
And, I had two glasses of last night, after work, and both nights had the most random dreams. The first night, I was moving to Iowa, by myself, but my parents and siblings were driving me there. Jade had just had a baby and so the baby was with us and we were all crowded in our old maroon van. It was snowing, a bunch, and we were surrounded by mountains. Again, I question the mountain factor since we were in Iowa.
I never figured out why I moved there. I remember reflecting on the one restaurant that was in town--a KFC--obviously this dream was just that--a dream. I hate KFC and would never move to the country or a town with only one restaurant.
Last night, I dreamed that my tires cost $2500. I was at my mom's house in Kansas and someone cut the tires off of my car. I was devastated that I had spent all of that money to have them stolen.
I wonder why chardonny inspires dreams of family for me. I have no idea. I must have some anxiety about the holidays and of course, the snow. Although my new, real, tires will come in handy this winter.
I doubt I will be purchasing any chardonnay anytime soon. I have never been a fan, nor do I relish the weird dreams that occur when I drink it.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Done and done....

Alright, I have mentioned the snow and need for tires.
I purchased all season tires, today. No more fear of driving on bald tires or return trips to Discount Tires to patch bald tires. Nope, I am a responsible car owner. Although, I am a lazy person.
For instance, I knew that I needed tires. I knew that my time was limited since I had a day shift and so I walked in, explained that I wanted to buy all-season tires, listened to one pitch and said--okay...that sounds great.
I walked to the Bull and mentally kicked myself. Why didn't I wait for them to provide more options? Why was I in such a rush to get to work? Why was I an irresponsible buyer?
CONVENIENCE...I paid for convenience.
And, Discount Tire did patch my old tires, twice, without charging me. I figure that factors in the cost of the entire experience. Plus, I feel safer, I do. The winter in Denver has started and I want to feel good about my car and be confident with my driving.
I will now.
In other my goodie bag from the Denver Marathon, was a pass to Core Power Yoga for one week. There was a little side note with the sentence--new students only. I opted to ignore that sentence and went to a class on Wednesday. It felt amazing. I now have five more days to enjoy the pass. I feel I earned it, too. Training, fundraising, and running all contributed to the one week of free yoga. Heck ya, I am going to utilize it!
I have a day off tomorrow and I am thankful. Yoga in the am, followed by a much needed massage and afternoon run. Running is being reincorporated to my routine. My goal is to run two 1/2 Marathons and one full in 2010. I know the Napa 1/2 is a must and am undecided on the other two. I would like a flat course, sea level and preferably--warm weather. Chicago might be out for that reason.
Anyways, I feel great about my productive day and look forward to a day off. I am bummed that I spent too much money on tires, but it is over and done with. Now, I am a confident snow driver--seriously! I am.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Random acts of kindness

Most people that know me, know that I really despise driving in the snow.
Yesterday, heading into work was easy. Light snow, driveable roads, nothing major. Snow continued. People called to see if we were open due to the snow factor. Of course, we welcomed them in. Or, better yet, I welcomed them since I was manning the phones.
I heard mixed reviews of how bad the snow was....this one guy was like--it's nothing. A little slippery in the metro area. They shut down 1-70 from Evergreen to Vail Pass at 7 pm. When he mentioned that, I knew that he was a confident snow driver. Slipping to him in the metro area was not what slipping to me meant.
Other people were like--it's terrible. The roads are awful. It took, forever, to get here...etc.
Steve and Pocketsize came in for a rare appearance. Actually, I know that isn't fair. They have been busy with their lives and Saturdays haven't been the best time to see them. Anyways, they stopped in and inquired about how I was getting home. I told Sarah--yes, I am driving....BUT, you hate driving in the snow. I know, but such is my life. I know that she was worried for me as the night continued. Sarah is so sweet.
As 2 am approaches, I get apprehensive, knowing, that I will be out there soon. I will be maneuvering the roads.
Finally, I am finished with work. My boss asks if I have upgraded my tires yet. He knows that I have had two separate flat tire situations in the past 2 months. I tell him that I had put it off and now regretted it.
His response--drive fast and be reckless. If you get stuck, call me, I will help you.
I about fell over. It was gracious, and like Dave, but he said it, without any prompting. I mean, for instance, he and his brother both have multiple SUV's---ideal for moving people, but I would never dream of asking them for help. They aren't interested.
I made it home safely.
I texted Dave and said--thank you. I am safe.
I did appreciate him offering to help me. It made my drive much easier, and less stressful. I guess, I don't hate driving in the snow as much as I thought.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

I have gratitude...

Yes, I have gratitude. I can still wear shorts in Denver, in spite of the oncoming winter storm watch. I went on a walk, today, in 35 degree weather and it felt glorious to being shorts and enjoying what remains of fall.
I am thankful for my new neighborhood. I was supposed to go running with the Goddess, today, but I wasn't feeling it. I sent her a text, with a simple explanation and suggested meeting another day. Had it been sunny, I would have went. I know that I could have mustered the desire to go for a run.
I cleaned my house and decided to walk to my old neighborhood. I miss it. I do. It feels like home to me. I bought a coffee and was on my way. I wanted to check the Logan rental to see if I had acquired mail. Of course, the old neighbors were not at home. Whereas in the past, I would count on them to be outside, yelling at their dogs or in their house, on-line. Rarely, were they unavailable. I saw mail, but had no way to access it.
I do like my new neighborhood. I have been gone and haven't established myself here yet. I returned from my walk and felt rejuvenated. I could have went running was the immediate thought.
Perhaps I don't have a set purpose, but I am thankful for my life. I am thankful for my desire to have a goal, whatever it may be. I miss training for the marathon. I have been incredibly restless and I think, a lot of it, is due to not having a goal right now. I was content with the training as it took up oodles of my time. I thought I was happy with being able to work on Friday night or Saturday morning, again, but it isn't enough. I realize that now.
I am grateful for my friends and family. They listen to my endless complaining about said restlessness or my inability to decide on how to grow up. I know that I must at some point.
Or do I?
I do have gratitude. I will continue this later....There is more to consider and be grateful for....

Friday, November 13, 2009

This is why servers can be confused and annoyed....

Last night, I was working a random floor shift. My section was not spectacular since the weather was turning south. Our outdoor covered patio lacks and so most customers prefer dining in the main room, near the fire place.
My night begins with two tables, inside, and one table on the patio. The two inside tables will be transfered to their rightful server.
Plus, I could tell they were annoying by some of their requests---I want a strong margarita.
My response--we aren't a mexican restaurant and so we do not rely solely on the sweet and sour mix.
He agrees to the margarita and still insists that it isn't strong enough. I know this guy is full of it, but have the bartender add an additional shot of well tequila to appease him. We make strong drinks, typically, and I told him that he should order a double in the future.
Another table...three men and one woman sit down...immediately, it's we're having separate checks.
My response--I will discuss it with your server when he arrives, but typically, we do not do separate checks.
Well, we have expense reports. And, what do you mean you don't have prime rib until 6 pm? Can't we get it, right now, at 4:40? No, again, it is available at 6 pm.
My favorite and it was my table, this time. Six people sit down, at different times and seem normal. They order a few appetizers and sip a drink each. Finally, a girl shows up and orders a glass of pinot noir. She seemed to have some command, but I should have been hesitant.
She wanted to order and so I approached her. Here is how it played out--
Her--I would like a salmon caesar salad.
Me--Would you like a large or small caesar salad?
Her--I don't know. How big is the small one?
Me--well, it is (I gesture the size) and continue with, the amount of salmon is the same regardless of if you order the large or small caesar.
Her--I will take the small caesar salad.

15 minutes later her salmon caesar is delivered. She motions to me. I walk over.
Her--I didn't order this. I wanted a house salad.
Me--Oh, so no salmon caesar....just the house salad.
Me--well, which dressing did you want?
Her--Oh, what do you have?

Really, you wanted a house salad but you don't know what dressing you ordered? But, I comply, play along, get the salad and return with the house salad, sans salmon.

Wait, I wanted a

I rush back to the kitchen and of course, they has tossed the product. They make a new salmon and I present the new salmon house salad to her.
I was annoyed because I know what she ordered. Perhaps, she didn't, but I know what she said.
All in all, surprisingly, they did tip me. They weren't rude about it, and of course, I kept my tongue in check. To the other servers I was honest about how dumb this girl was, but I did not make it an issue to the table. I do not enjoy being belittled and this was definitely a situation where I was ready to unload my frustration on the table.
The night continued with one of my friends hanging out and a few other people that were easy. It was simple and I was home by 9. I cannot complain, too much more. I just wanted to illustrate how diners can be and why servers get annoyed. I am not a mind reader. I can anticipate your needs and I enjoy that, but if you say, verbatim, I want a salmon caesar, that is what I am going to order you, not the house salad.
Another day in the restaurant industry. Sometimes, I want to scream--CALGON, TAKE ME AWAY, or at least, take me to South Africa and pay me, too!!!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Starbuck's Instant coffee....

I am not a fan of instant coffee.
I think, as a child, I would drink it with my grandma. She drank, coffee, daily and mostly, it was nescafe. I remember hearing that it would stunt my growth. Somehow, I think that was an wive's tale.
I digress.
I love coffee. I drink it, everyday. It is what I wake up to and sometimes, I go on the wagon and can do it, but I do not enjoy it. I am a coffee drinker. I do not drink soda or tea, just get caffeine from coffee. Oh, and chocolate.
Typically, I drink drip coffee with a splash of soy milk. I was trying to cut down on my dairy intake and what better what to do it than make this small adjustment. Anyways, I have a friend that works at Starbuck's. In the past, he has brought me a pound of coffee since he knows how much I enjoy my coffee. This is a definite perk of working for Starbuck's. They get a pound of coffee, per week, as an employee. I would be in heaven and never go without.
About a month ago, he visited me at work and handed me a new product that Starbuck's is endorsing. Instant coffee. I put in my cupboard and that was it. Again, I am not a fan of instant coffee. It was confirmed while traveling in Fiji, South Africa, and Argentina. Chile had Starbuck's. Costa Rica had its own amazing coffee and New Zealand had decadent latte's.
Today, I took a siesta. This is a habit that I am forming and opted to have another cup of coffee. Knowing I had the Via available, I thought, why not give it a go? Maybe it will surprise you.
It didn't.
It's instant coffee. I am not a fan. I would rather go without than suffer through a cup of this watered down product.
They are making a push for it in the States. Abroad, instant coffee is normal. But, it still doesn't make it taste better. I like fresh brewed coffee---strong, bold coffee.
Try it, if you must, but if you are a loyal coffee drinker, don't be surprised if you, too, are disappointed.

November 12--Hailey's day....

I have been lazy the last few training, no yoga, the books I picked up at the library do not inspire me. Instead, I have taken siestas the last few days and I went to bed, early, last night, too. What is wrong with me? Don't get me wrong...I love naps and do not judge anybody for enjoying one. The summer I lived in Mexico, it was an important part of my day.
I believe I need a project or a new hobby or something to take up my time. Even my postings have been mundane since the marathon. I need inspiration or motivation. I feel lethargic and sleep is my fall back. I am not depressed--I know that, but, I am lazy. That word seems to be the word that keeps coming to mind. It is an accurate description of how I have spent the last few days.
I feel that it is a cycle for me. I need something to focus on so that I have a purpose or meaning in my life. When I don't, I get lazy, restless and bored. I question my life's work and how to better myself. I am a work in progress, I suppose.
In other news....Happy Birthday, Hailey! I hope she is able to thoroughly enjoy her day, however she decides to spend it. I know she is surrounded by her boys and that they will take care to please her. Her son, Andrew, just had a birthday, too. He turned 4 on the 10th. Birthdays are wonderful. I was a touch tame on my birthday month this year. Training made sure that I didn't go too wild with drinking wine or going out to dinner.
Yes, I am coming off of an incredible high associated with the marathon. Maybe that it why I am so lethargic.
Enjoy your day. Smile. Eat cake. Be happy~

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Need a project, not to be a counselor....

It is difficult to not think about the future--the what if factor.
Lately, I have been privy to three separate situations, where the individual is in an impossible situation. They want advice or direction, but really, I recognize that in no way, is that my place in the friendship.
For instance, I don't know how I would react to the specific situation since I haven't went through it yet.
I tried to explain this to my friend. I hope she understands. I am not trying to be unsupportive. I just know that from an outside perspective, of course, it would be easy for me to say--this is what you should be doing.
I suggested to her that being in the present moment and making peace with the circumstances was the first step. From there she needed to decide what course of action was best for her.
I know it is frustrating, but that is all I can do. I would hate for her to listen to my speculating when each situation is unique and again, I don't know how I would react if I had to face it. I reiterated that she is loved and supported and that, yes, she would get through this.
My other friend is facing a custody battle which I do not envy. He tried to be amicable, for the sake of his kids, but this led to inaction and the opportunity for his ex to walk all over him. She has continued to do things, to him, because he let her. I feel bad for him and do not envy his road. But, he'll make it work and he will get through this.
I know that I asked for a project, but I don't think I wanted this one. I feel that I need to be specific in my wants and hopes of the future. I will continue to run, but since I am not training for the marathon, any longer, I have more time to focus on other projects. Any suggestions?
We all have decisions to make, some easier than others. That is what defines our character. We forget that we have the power to protect ourselves and that by not doing something, that, too, is an action--i.e--my friend and his pending custody battle.
Thankfully, I have a wonderful loving family and support system. I hope to be there for my friends/family to listen, support and not judge or suggest courses of action. I cannot. It is similar to bashing someone's ex boyfriend or husband in the midst of their break-up, and then finding out they opted to stay together. How do you take back your words of wisdom? How does that person ever feel safe, confiding in you again, when you think their spouse is a moron?
Each situation is unique. We can only hope for the best and the understanding of our peers and family.
Be happy today and in the present moment. For me, I need to get outside and enjoy the sunshine.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Settling in...

Settling in...thankfully. I put it off as long as I could.
I traveled. I worked. I rearranged and I kept moving boxes from place to place. As of right now, I have a completely open kitchen path, living room and my room is uncluttered. It is beginning to feel like home.
And, I have my first guest......Sara Jo. Yea! I am so excited to have wine with her and catch up. I saw her at Elway's, post-marathon, but since then, nada. About 4 years, Sara and I met weekly for dinner. Typically, we would begin at my place, with wine and small plates and move on to some new and exciting restaurant in Denver. I loved Wednesdays for that reason, alone.
Now, with school, work and other distractions, I am lucky to see her once every 6-8 months. I am working on changing that. Sara Jo has always been a fantastic conversationalist and supporter. Plus, she likes red wine, as much, if not more, than I do. Needless to say, we get along fine.
The Goddess saw my place, pre-Saturday run, but it wasn't put together. It was a quick look-see. I think I will have her over for drinks on another occasion. I hope to continue to run with her once a week.
And, it wasn't clean, either. Now that I have hard wood floors, I feel it is necessary to sweep, daily. I remember that regiment from my mom's house, but now, understand how important it is to sweep or at least try to. So far, I have been on task.
This morning, I walked up to the King Sooper's to purchase coffee and filters. The store is open 24 hours which is convenient, but it is dirty. I think I will continue to frequent Safeway even though it is a few blocks farther than the Sooper's. I prefer cleanliness to convenience.
I am mundane, but getting my life in Capitol Hill put together. I need a hobby or a new project. Trainig took up a lot of my free time and kept me focused. Now, I dream of faraway places, exotic foods and people. If only I could be compensated for travel....

Sunday, November 8, 2009

My Sunday.......

Today was a great day.
Sorta normal, sorta lame, but overall, fairly pleasant.
It started at work. I blasted my ipod. Lately, I have been listening to Kanye West's, Stronger, because it reminds me of the marathon and Somebody's Baby, by Jackson Browne. I think of that song and associate it with Fast Times at Ridgemont High. I have always enjoyed that song. While downloading new music for the marathon, I found the Jackson Browne song, in addition to Veronica, by Elvis Costello and Psycho Killer, by Talking Heads. Yes, my music selections have been all over the map lately.
Anyways, ipod blasting, work started smoothly. Little Mel brought me a coffee. We do that on Sundays, alternate, for I don't know what reason. It started and has continued. I enjoy it. I absolutely look forward to Sunday morning for the coffee, alone.
The Broncos play tomorrow night. Typically, if the Broncos don't play, we aren't busy. Today, was the complete opposite for a few hours. Several people that I knew, came in, to have brunch with me. There are four girls that used to be Saturday morning girls and in the last year, have become Sunday morning ladies. They are fun, always have great conversations and easy. They eat the Taos or eggs benedict and leave. They tip well and never require hand holding. You know what I mean...they aren't needy.
Anyways, today, one of them was talking funny. I couldn't help but look at her mouth and I couldn't understand why she was drawing attention to it through her actions. I thought she might have a cancor sore or imaginary fever blister. I tried to avoid fixation, during their ordering, and finally, one of the girls goes--well, you don't know about her mouth, do you? No, I didn't.
She explains that about six weeks ago, they went to Cervantes and as they were leaving, some random guy came up, punched her boyfriend in the face and then her and ran off. He didn't ask for money. He just wanted to hit them.
Her boyfriend's teeth broke through the skin and she broke her jaw in two places. Her jaw was wired shut.
Seriously, wtf? How does this happen and for what? It wasn't a mugging and apparently, the bar acted like it didn't happen. They claimed no responsibility and showed them to the street.
I know I live in a city and I know there are areas that should be avoided. But, the fact that Cervantes kicked them out speaks volumes over living in a city. Anything can happen, anywhere. It doesn't matter that it was in five points in Denver. I remember being on the wrong compartment of a train in South Africa. I was the only white person on that area of the train and I was safe. Nobody approached me or tried to make me feel uncomfortable. I wasn't kicked off the train either.
On a side note....a friend of mine texted me, yesterday, to ask me to Elway's. As you know, I am a sucker for Rapture. I tried to avoid going, but I caved. I texted her back and asked who was there. Her response was, Jen and Mark. I like her latest "suitor", but I prefer girl's talk. I had spent a few days in Kansas and wanted to dish, but not with a male present.
I arrive. I walk into Elway's and there they are...Jen, Tiffany, Mark, and two others. And, they had paid their tab. Annoyed, I sat down and ordered my Rapture. I tried to welcome the conversation, but was bored with the specifics. The wine wasn't enough. I had to go to work.
In the last week, I have sat through two separate occasions of meeting friends and their significant others. Granted, I have friends that I meet as a couple. For instance, Steve and Pocketsize, but they are my friends. I do not try to entertain them separately and I believe our conversations are everything they are supposed to be.
I find myself censoring topics with spouses or new boyfriends. I wish my other friend at Elway's knew that lesson. Instead, she droned on and on with her latest and greatest.
Again, filter....doesn't everyone have one? And, I wish my girlfriends understood that girl time is different from hanging out with a couple. Oh, Sunday...what a fun day!

Friday, November 6, 2009


Truffle them.
This morning, I was in Lawrence and trying to decide where to eat. Did I want mexican, again, or something different?
I ate at El Mezcal, the first day. In college, I loved the margaritas at El Mezcal. I had forgotten that that was all I loved about El Mezcal. Margaritas--awesome, food, not so much. I had scrambled eggs, tortillas and beans and rice. The eggs were bland and tasted old. I ate the chips.
Yesterday, we ate at Tortas Jalisco. I liked the chips--made to order. Margaritas were bland. I think it was sweet and sour, with a splash of tequila. Anyways, the chips were great, the eggs were decent and I liked the salsa. It was a definite improvement over El Mezcal.
Today, we considered La Parilla. It is a south american restaurant that I have enjoyed in the past. My sister fell down the stairs, one time. Completely different story, but a great restaurant, nonetheless.
I needed a book, for my flight, and so we detoured to the Dusty Bookshelf. I found a Nelson DeMille book and we continued to walk down Mass St. Since we had eaten mexican the previous two days, I decided that I wanted something different.
There was a new restaurant on Vermont that specialized in truffle fries and burgers.
Initially, we were the first to arrive. We sat at the bar, made eye contact with one of the workers and drank a beer. I had a boulevard wheat and waited for my felafel burger and truffle fries. Casey had a salad and ordered a side of duck fat fries with all of their sauces. They had a stout mustard, guajillo sauce, garlic mayo, chipotle bbq, and ketchup. I liked the food. My felafel was great and it was topped with pickled cauliflower and onions. The bun was great and I was happy.
We wanted another beer and so I tried to make eye contact with one of the two people standing behind the bar. No movement.
I got up. I walked over. I ordered two beers. I sat back down.
They never offered to drop the bill. Instead, a line formed as people dropped in for lunch. I had a flight to catch and so as I dreamed of one of the workers, actually paying attention to us, more and more people arrived. Frustrated, I joined the line. I waited.
Casey went to get the car and I waited. When I paid, the guy said----this is why we like people to pay as they go....seriously? I am drinking beer. I ordered multiple things and you want me to pay as I go? How difficult is it to start a tab, since I am siting at the bar, where you are? What did you do? You made me almost late for my flight and required too much work for me, to actually, feel that I was dining out. I sat at the bar. I think that is what frustrated me most. I sat and watched them, talk to each other for 45 minutes, instead of ask if I wanted more water or another beer. Yes, the food was good, but if I were to return, I would order take-out. At least, that way, I would pay as I go. I can walk to Cork and Barrel and open my own beer.
I didn't like the guy's attitude. It is a bar. Bars have tabs. There has got to be a more efficient way of operating Dempsey's on Vermont St. Plus, as they got busy, they were unable to clean tables for new customers. I know that I was not the only one annoyed with their concept of ordering.
Perhaps, south american would have been better, today. I loved the fries and the plethora of sauces. I am a condiment kid. However, the service lacked and I do not know if I am the forgiving type, as of late...

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

new place

My new place is fantastic.
Slowly, I unpack, organize, move a box, repack an older container and basically make it appear like I am actually doing things.
That is until yesterday. I know have an open kitchen, free of boxes/organizers and all of my wine glasses are washed and unpacked. Life is good.
I figure, I will tackle the rest of it, this weekend. I have ample cabinent space to utilize and I want to make it feel like home. I am beyond the old place and its negativity--due to the landlord. I am brimming with possibilities of being in Capitol Hill. I live a block from the best sandwich shop in Denver--Snarf's, Whole Foods, my laundry mat and a really awful bar (Park Tavern). I am certain that I might go there, infrequently, since I have never been a fan of that establishment. Probably because Brian got kicked out of it, one night, for his I.D. I think. I cannot remember. I only remember that I have never been a fan of this bar or the other one, they used to own, the Bank. I lived on 16th and Williams in 2002 and was a local for a brief amount of time. Personally, I prefer the Thin Man, or even the Squire, if I am on that end of town.
I could always walk to Don's Mixed Drinks, or Lala's. I have options.
Nevertheless, I am excited about this neighborhood and finding my niche. There is always activity. It definitely has an eclectic mix of people. I have encountered transients, kids (early 20's), older couples, hippies, junkies, lesbians, etc. It is an interesting feel and I love it! I plan on exploring more, when I have time.
Side note--I am much closer to the Denver Public Library which is also a benefit of the area. I used to live closer to one of the satellite branches, which was nice, but limited. The main library is amazing and will become a regular stop, for me, in my new area.
Enjoy your day. I must conclude this for now.....

Friday, October 30, 2009

Kindess of strangers and other musings of my new space.....

Sleeping in a new place is always trying.
I remember my summer in Guadalajara, Mexico. We were overwhelmed by the smog when we flew in, arrived at our guest house and settled in for the night. We--Jean, Liz, and I--were living with a single mom and two of her three daughters. The first night, we had a few drinks and retired to the room.
There were no screens on the windows and it was stifling in the house. The ceiling fan lacked and so we were eaten alive, all night, by the mosquitoes. Plus, since it was a new place, it was difficult to relax and let the mind quiet. I was miserable. I felt that I had taken a shower in the bed because of how much I had sweat. It was awful.
Last night, I heard the familiar sounds of the street. Living on Logan provided ample car noise and so that was moderately familiar. There are more people out walking, in this area, and so that was new. I woke up, a few times, startled, by how near the noises were to my bedroom. I slept okay, but this morning, I realized that I had completely wrecked my sheets. I don't know how, but I was sleeping on the mattress. Apparently, I tossed and turned a lot, last night.
The cable guy was scheduled to arrive between 7-8 am. They informed me that it was imperative to be at home at this time since I was the first appointment of the day. They stressed the importance. I woke up and waited. I hit the snooze button, a few times, but in every sense of the word, I was ready for the internet provider.
8:00 am came and went. I knew the weather was bad--moved in it--but, still I was ready to cut the guy some slack. At 8:30, I called Comcast to inquire if they were, in fact, working today and where the guy was. He called me, set up my internet connection, and told me that they waiving the installation fee since he was late. LOVED IT!!!
And, love the neighborhood. Yes, Capitol Hill is eclectic. In my house, I found a few items of interest--burnt spoons and a couple of syringes. Lovely. I am basically naive when it comes to drugs, but I figure that they previous tenant was a complete junkie. I cleaned my new space before my old space. I had to. I did not feel comfortable with my findings.
Afterwards, I walked to Whole Foods. I wanted pasta. I walked in, met a girl named, Erica. I told her that I was excited to live in the neighborhood since I loved Whole Foods. I walked away, in search of veggies. 10 minutes later, Erica approached me with a reuseable bag. She handed it to me and said--this is a welcome to the neighorhood bag. In it, there was an orange, chocolate, turkey jerky and a vitamin water. It was lovely and made me think of the kindness of strangers. Yes, there are good people in the world.
And yes, the move to Capitol Hill is positive and full of possibility. I love my new space.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Moving in the snow and searching for red wine...

The move went surprisingly well.
The two guys showed up at 9:20, due to weather, I am certain. I had starting doubting my decision to push forward with the move instead of postponing it until tomorrow. In my mind, it snows frequently in Colorado and as a moving company, it isn't there first day at the rodeo, you know.
Two guys show up and I ask them where they would prefer loading my crap. At this point, I am referring to my belongings as crap because I would love a glass of wine or someone to arrange said items in new place.
First, I want to update the slumlord situation. I haven't spoken to Rod since the break-in that the girls downstairs experienced. I had sent him an e-mail, plus letter, to indicate my desire to move out. He responded with--sorry to see you go. Right. I can tell.
So, he calls me yesterday to say....well, I see that it's snowing and so if you need to stay a few extra days, I can pro-rate the rent...say $40 per day...REALLY? That is more than what my rent breakdown would be. The gall of this man. I mean, seriously, I am not technically out until Sunday. According to meterologists in Denver, the snow will stop today and it's going to be a beautiful, sunny day tomorrow, Saturday and yes, Sunday.
Back to the is young and the other was older than me. I scraped my stairs with my neighbor's shovel, created for a path for them to maneuver to the truck and loaded some personal items into my car. At some point, they broke one of my stairs in 1/2. I am so lucky that they didn't fall through the stair. Actually, Slumlord Rod, is lucky. Goodness, I cannot believe that I lived in this place for so long.
I look around and I know I must clean. I have little to make it nice, though. What is my incentive? Rod has done nothing to maintain the place. Instead, it is on its last legs. I am a good tenant; however, and so I will clean.
Side note...trash bins are still in alley. I don't think Rod realizes how lucky he had it with me.
The guys followed me to my new place, unloaded and left. Due to the weather, I paid for 3 hours of work. It sucks, but I am moved, my friends still like me--yes, you know who you are, and I am warm.
I am celebrating my new place, toasting life and the return of the sun! I do enjoy living in Denver!!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The irony of the weather

Weather in Denver...gotta love it.
Of course, it is the day before my move. Again, the irony of living in Denver. Normally, we remain snowless until, at least, December. Or, if it does snow, it is moderate...a light dusting. Why cannot it not be normal here? Why must it snow, today, of all days?
I will be okay. I will meet my landlord, later, and close tonight. Fun times in my life. On the flip side, because of the snow, I will not have to rake all of the excess leaves in my yard. The slumlord has it in his lease that I am in charge of the yardwork with the other tenants. Big surprise that he wants us to do it, since he fixes so much on the property. And, they contribute 0% to the yardwork, trash removal or laundry room clean up. Our trashcans are still in the alley since I didn't move them back. I guess there is that positive in the snow. I will praise the snow gods for that. I was not looking forward to leaf removal since I do not have a rake. And, in reality, I didn't know if I had to do the entire yard, or just the back yard. The girls, downstairs, let their dogs firebomb the front, typically; although, recently, I have seen the dogs in the back yard, too. They must be expanding their territory. I watch where I walk now.
Most of my stuff is packed. Meaning--my jeans--yes, I own two pairs, my jackets, boots, cold weather clothes. Again, the irony.
Last night, the Goddess texted me and said that she was running late, but would be at my house by 6 pm. I checked the weather. I left my shorts out, specifically, for our run. I felt confident that I would be fine with a hoodie, long sleeve shirt and my Volvo for life cap.
Lindsay arrived. We stretched and within 6 blocks, it was raining. We kept going. We wanted to run. Neither of us had run since our perspective marathons on October 18th--mine in Denver, hers in San Francisco. It was glorious and I enjoyed it despite the rain. I missed running. I missed with Lindsay too. She knows way too much about my life right now, from all of our Saturday morning runs, and vice versa.
We did a short loop due to the rain. We ran by my new place. It definitely feels right to be relocating there. I saw my sun room and felt peace.
I still am packing. I cannot believe it snowed! Annoyed, but, again, I will be okay and I will move tomorrow.
Enjoy your day, be it in the snow or sun. I envy the sunshine....please come back to Denver. I miss running outside!

Monday, October 26, 2009

October 27th.....

Two years ago, on October 27th, I flew to Fiji.
It was glorious. I walked off of the plane, with equal amounts of possibility and uncertainty. I remember having a little anxiety, too.
I took a leave of absence from my job and a tour of the southern hemisphere began. I want to honor that day, as I will, every year, from this point forward.
I like to celebrate...a lot. I will make occasions up so that I can toast life for any reason. For example, I celebrate March 11th, since that was my return to the States. I drink a margarita and ample amounts of wine.
I like my birthday. I enjoy St. Patrick's Day, Cinco de Mayo, and a host of other made up holidays that I have created. I am not traditional in any sense of the word.
Christmas is Jade's birthday. I love my sister and I wish that I wanted to head to Oregon to share it with her, but instead, I spend christmas in Las Vegas. That's right. I like going to Las Vegas for christmas. I have spent 3 of the last four years there. I think it is because I have never went home for that holiday.
Brian loved Christmas. Absolutely, 100% loved christmas. I enjoyed celebrating with him. We had traditions in Denver that we made. I chose to stay with him, here, instead of returning to Kansas to spend time with my family. Flying to Kansas wasn't an option due to work and my desire to celebrate with him.
Now, I make my own memories, but not in Denver, and not in Kansas. I feel I will return to Australia, one day, since I spent a christmas there too.
Memories of a wonderful 5 month period of, I would like to return. I dream of faraway lands, of destination marathons and exotic dishes. I think it becomes more prevalent when the weather turns here. I am a warm weather kid. I despise the snow!
I wish it were sunny today. Instead, it is dreary and we are gearing up for snow. I am moving this week. I am projecting positive vibes for a quick, efficient move. On an interesting side note...after 4 months, my new duplex mates, finally figured out how to take out the trash. YEA! I am so proud of them. I wonder if they will figure out how to put the trash cans back...probably not. In 3 days, this problem is no longer mine.
Celebrate today...I am. But, probably not how you think. I am going running with the Goddess. I thought I would try something new to honor this special day in my life. I have missed running.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

more thoughts about the marathon...still processing and wanting to give it another GO....

I met the Goddess last night to recap our perspective races.
Both of us, struggled with the marathon on October 18th. She said that her first marathon went much smoother. She carried her phone, this time, called her sister, and said--don't worry about coming down to the finish line for awhile....I'm going slow.
She remarked on the beauty of San Francisco and how stunning the finish was. I think this is what prompted her to say--let's do the Big Sur 1/2 next year. I looked it up, and I believe it isn't until October. I would like to do a 1/2 in March or April, before the Napa 1/2 in July. I feel I will do another full, at some point, but I enjoy the 1/2 much better. My body recovered, right after the Georgetown 1/2. I didn't struggle, nearly as much, either, physically, during that race. I remember considering finishing at the 1/2, while running the Denver Marathon. It would have been so easy to make that turn, finish strong and celebrate my day. I knew it, but I also knew how disappointed I would have been.
I mentioned that I switched from the 1/2 to the full in July. I did it for myself and as a way to celebrate Brian's golden year.
Last year, he would have been 26 and he was born on September 26th. His mom got a tattoo to celebrate the momentous occasion. I considered that, but wanted my own thing. Traveling is always my thing, but it seemed like a cop-out, too. I wanted something that challenged me. The marathon made sense--26.2 miles to celebrate his golden year.
While other people were training and being inspired by stories of survivors of leukemia and lymphoma, I held to my belief that I would be celebrating his birthday. I know that sounds shallow, but I have no personal associations with either of those diseases. It is tragic, sad, and life changing, but it didn't motivate me to better myself or keep going. I think I tuned most of the rhetoric out. Again, I know how shallow that sounds, but think about training since May, where every Saturday morning is spent with a group where we discuss fundraising, mission moments and leukemia for the first 1/2 hour. Not to mention, the weekly e-mails from coaches and the staff at TNT. It is hammered into your brain, ad nauseum. I just wanted to run, to celebrate and grow.
I would recommend TNT to anyone that wanted to train for a marathon and give back at the same time. I wouldn't use the group, myself, for a future event, because I already did it and it wouldn't be right, with my admissions of tuning out the mission statements of fundraising announcements.
2010 is right around the corner. Another marathon looms in the distance. I feel 2-3 halfs in my future, too. Destination events might be my new way to travel. It would be interesting....