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, food...how 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.