Thursday, January 21, 2010

Change the World Wednesday....

Do you ever wonder where your excess waste goes? Probably not? You put it in a trash receptable, or your personal trash can, and it's gone.
I know there are always ways to improve our lives, our society, our world.
This week, the Change the World Post Challenge deals with being responsible in yet, another way.
Instead of collecting to-cups when you get your daily coffee, bring your own. I know it is incovenient...having your own re-useable beverage holder. But, I bet you own one. I have 5 or 6 that I could use. Actually, in the last two months, I have made more of an effort to provide my own coffee container.
Have you considered how much waste you create when you meet 3 of your friends for coffee? Most places give you a to-go container. If two of your friends get water, as well, then that is 6 cups that go to waste. Most people do not crumple the container, either, instead, it goes in the trash in it's full volume fitting form.
For one week, provide your own container for coffee, soda, tea. You will get a discount for the lack of to-go container, plus the knowledge that you are lessening the waste. I know it seems small, but it does make a difference.
I am a coffee-holic. I wish that it wasn't true. I have tried to cut coffee out. I have. I do not drink soda or tea. Instead, I fill up, adequately, on my daily coffee. Each morning, I wake, I make coffee for me and Sara, and than think about how productive I will be. Yes, coffee is definitely my wake up. And, yes, I am able to make a small change that benefits me and the environment.
For one week, I, faithfully, will provide my own beverage container. No Peet's to-go cups or Starbuck's. I refuse.
I hope you do as well. Give it a go and see how it works. Maybe your recycables will be lighter or perhaps your trash. Good luck!!!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Why I like sides......

Last night, in an attempt to consciously choose what I put in my body, I made dinner.
Let me back up and explain my day. I went to the gym with Sara, rode the stationary bike, since I had a run planned with the Goddess. The gym has a sauna and I love it.
Anyways, the Goddess and I did our customary route--up to Logan, south to 6th Ave, east to Downing and then a partial loop around Cheesman Park. Next time, we are running to Wash Park--my nemesis from the Denver Marathon. I haven't run there since. Cheesman Park has been snow-packed or muddy for the last 5 runs. I am over it! I am sure that Wash Park will have similar issues, but it is a change of scenery. It's farther and I want to restart training for marathons.
Afterwards, I walk to Whole Foods intending to buy halibut. I specifically wanted halibut and of course, they didn't have it. I wasn't too impressed with their selection and so I drove over to Marczyk's. They had halibut, and kalamata olive bread, which Whole Foods did not, but it looked old. I decided to drive to Safeway to buy the bread, cauliflower, garlic and cheese.
Of course, they didn't have the bread, either, and so I settled for french bread. I found the cauliflower which looked lovely, chose a pear for a starter to accompany a rough chop of yellow tomatoes, basil, garlic and goat cheese on french bread. I returned home to grab my I.D. and walk to Argonaut. I texted Sara, that I was picking up vodka for pre dinner drinks. She immediately responded since she knows how rare vodka is in my diet.
I knew she liked Skyy. Thankfully, they had a sale of Skyy vodka. I chose a bottle of sauvignon blanc to accompany the fish and went to the check out. The vodka didn't register that it was on sale. I mentioned it to the clerk and she paged the manager for an override. Then, the manager says--well this is a Liter, not the 750 ml, and so it isn't on sale. I said--well, there was a sign on the shelf, under the bottle I picked up.
Frustrated, I said, well, can I get the correct bottle and she said, yes, but then I was so angry that I said, you know what--I don't want it.
I don't know why I got so amped up, but I was pissy. I think it was because it isn't my fault that the shelves, multiple shelves, had the exact same sign on it which said--Skyy Vodka on sale for $13.99.
I stopped at the corner liquor store, which is more, and was approached by a homeless guy selling a publication. They are everywhere in the metro area, these days and I was still riding the angry wave. I think I said something like--I am not interested and kept walking.
So, why I like sides....when I dine out, I rarely choose a protein or entree. Instead, I dine on sides. I think I know why now. I severely overcooked the crap out of the halibut. I had marinated it for an hour with balsamic vinegar, brown sugar and dijon mustard. It sounded awesome, but I overcooked it. The roasted cauliflower was lovely and I liked the cous cous, too. I am more comfortable cooking/dining/eating sides. I think I am distracted when I cook protein. I don't know. I just know that last night's entree was a definite FAIL.
Next time, I am sticking to the sides. No entree necessary!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Just finished reading.....

I put, Before I Die, on hold at the Denver Public Library. I had other books on hold, too, but for some reason, I started with this book.
Obviously, I knew how it ended and it wasn't the most uplifting material, either, but I found it sweet. This 16 yr-old girl is the protagonist and she describes her last few months of living. She devises a list of 10 things that she must do before she dies--have sex, say yes to everything for one day, be famous, etc. I found it well written and again, sweet.
I see parallels of what I am reading and even seeing on t.v. The latest episode of Brothers & Sisters had a similar theme to it. Kitty, protrayed by Calista Flockhart, found out she had a form of lymphoma. She was aggressive with the treatment but there was a chance that she would die and miss out on her son's life. After going into remission, she questions--what am I doing with my life? I am happy now, but couldn't I be doing more?
Why wait to dream or fully live your life? If you want to pursue politics, world travel, culinary school--why not risk and do it? Why do we wait to experience life? True, there is tomorrow, but how do you know what opportunities you will have? Shouldn't we focus on the present? The Now? The day?
If you have time, Before I Die, by Jenny Downham, is worth reading.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Golden Globes

I watched 24 with Sara.
That is what I do.
I own the game 24. My dad gave it to me for xmas, one year, since he also enjoys watching Keifer Sutherland being a badass!
Faithfully, I have watched that show. Season 6 almost convinced me that I was finished with it. Season 7 inspired me to become a fanatic. Season 8 began...slow start, but intriguing. Keifer still is sexy. Chloe is older and facial expressions are a bit much, but, I will give it a go!
Instead of watching the Golden Globes, I made Sara watch the 24.
Avatar won Best Picture.
Mad Men for best drama.
Michael C Hall won for his role in Dexter.
Juliana Marguiles won Best Actress for drama series.
Alec Baldwin...well, he is Alec Baldwin. Have you ever seen 30 Rock? Freaking hilarious and awesome. Yes, he completely deserved the Golden Globe.
Then, we get supporting actress in comedy------Chloi Sevigny. I am a HUGE supporter of Big Love. I wish I had cable for that alone. I don't. I haven't seen one episode of Season 3. I love the drama of the polygamists, the compound, the political righteousness of being a believer in Mormonism. I enjoy watching the dynamics of their unit. Truly, it is a great show.
Absolutely, adore the drama of it. But did she deserve the Golden Globe? I would say no.
I would have suggested Jane Lynch. GLEE.
Of Best in Show love. The blonde lady from those projects, in addition to Two and a Half Men. She deserved the Golden Globe for her role. I like Chloi Sevigny, but didn't think she was that diverse.
Have you ever seen Glee? Check it out. She is brilliant in it. I never knew her name until tonight. She isn't a celebrity. She is an actress. I mean that in a good sense. She can act and does, without the name status. She stands out, completely, but it isn't for the status symbol. She is fun to watch. Seriously, check out Glee. It isn't just a musical. It's funny, engaging, well written. The guys that do Nip/Tuck direct it.
I keep trying to get Michaela to support it. She was a performer, through school, too. I wish that I had went to more movies in 2009. I have a movie date, matinee, solo with m&m's to Up in the Air or Broken Embraces. Either way, I plan on seeing something on one of my off days. Cannot wait to be selfish!

Challenge of the week---Change the World Wednesdays...

Imagine. A world free of pesticides, toxins that cause cancer, leukemia, etc., foods that are substandard, but mass-produced to meet demand.
Imagine--taking care of yourself...making you a priority.
I believe that is a goal of mine in 2010.
You do car maintenance. I know that I do. Faithfully, I get my oil changed. I might fudge a month of the cycle, but realistically, my 21 year old car is in excellent shape. I spend extra money to ensure that my car will work.
Why don't we maintain our temples better? Why aren't we concerned with what we eat. People still drink soda, eat McDonald's, high corn fructose syrup, etc. We wonder why we are obese as a nation.
I think most people eat based on convenience. We are so busy in our lives that we settle for fast food, food loaded with hydrogenated oils and bad fats because it is easier.
It takes time to prepare a nutritious meal. First, there is going to the grocery store, after work--when everyone else is shopping, no parking can be an issue. You get home, prep the meal, cook it and at this point, you have wasted 2 hours, on a minimum, and than you go to bed or attempt to make time for you. Isn't it easier to order take-out or pop in a meal that is preservative ridden?
I work in a restaurant. I eat there, everyday, that I work. It's easier for me. Although, I am able to pick and choose what I would like to eat. I have options. I choose to not drink soda. I opt to avoid fast food unless i am severely hungover and in Texas. Yes, I ate Jack in the Box while in Dallas, years ago. I thought I would die and was unable to meet with Brian's family, in my current state of mind. So, yes I have eaten fast food, once or twice in my life. But, afterwards, I feel like crap.
I know that it is a toxic invasion to my system.
I have felt how different foods feel to my system. You have experienced a hangover? I believe there are food hangovers, too. I cleansed, for a month, last year--no alcohol or cheese. I wanted to limit my caffeine in-take, but seriously, I cut out booze, I needed some vice to cling, too. Anyways, when I began eating cheese again, I felt like I had drank 2 bottles of wine, on an empty stomach, the following morning. It might be different for everyone, but it made me question the decisions I made regarding my diet.
This week's challenge (last Wednesday's) is to look at food labels prior to eating the contents. If you are unable to pronounce or identify what you are about to ingest, don't. Cut out the high corn fructose syrups, hydrogenated fats and white flours for a week. I live on tortillas, so this will be challenging, but think about it and reflect on how you feel after the week free of crap that you don't need. I know it is easier to drink that soda over water, or pick up the ready made meal, but give it a go.
Enjoy and Good Luck! Small changes lead to beautifying ourselves and our environment. We all share the space. Think of what you can do to make it better!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Affirmation of the Day....

Love yourself. Make yourself a priority and live in the Now...
I follow several blogs that have a Grateful Posting of some sort on a weekly basis. I have been considering this, too, but, realize that I prefer the term affirmation over grateful.
I remember, being in high school, and taking P.A.L.S.--Peer Assisted Learning--and my teacher, kooky as all get-out, was motivational and endearing. She always pronounced, Target, like Tar-geh. It drove me batty. Again, I think that was a term, she used.
Mrs. Trickle encouraged us to be kind to our peers. We had to do affirmations for ourselves and share affirmations with others. At the time, it was challenging. I mean, you don't want to appear too lovely with your classmates. Now, with all of the "Mean Girls" in high school, I am sure that there are fewer and fewer affirmations occuring.
I guess I am trying to incorporate that into my life.
Being happy with myself and thankful for my life on a daily basis.
Today, I am happy to be living in the now. I definitely make myself a priority with food, travel and wine. I still need to plan out 2010, but I have two trips, in the making---Santa Fe and Seattle. It is a solid foundation to begin with.
I have a lot to be thankful for. I love my rental. I live in the metro area, which I wanted. I have a job. I have opportunity to travel and give back. Right now, is a time to give back. I look Haiti and the aftermath. Doesn't it inspire you to consider your own happiness/gratitude as well of ways that you could give back to the community? There are many charities associated with the Haitian Aid. I saw the Brangelina gave 1 million dollars to the efforts. Instead of seeing the good that they are able to provide, people criticize them. They suggest that this is a publicity stunt. Really? How so? Yes, I am familiar with the whole hook-up between this notorious pair, but thay have always given back to the community--Stateside and abroad. They have adopted kids, done humanitarian aid and continue to use their wealth to give back in whatever fashion they deem useful. Why is that bad? At least they are giving something, unlike many people that will not. People that are able to give, something--anything helps, but still will not help.
But, back to the Affirmation--Live in the Now. Make yourself a priority. Do something, even small, in some way, that puts on the emphasis on you and your needs.
Enjoy. I will.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Random mid-week thoughts....

I am finally settled in to my space on Corona.
Artwork is up.
That settled it. Instead of being wrapped in a corner, I have displayed my Diego Rivera's, Rafuse and other wine related artwork. I have one more piece to display, but I need Sara's help with it. It is blown-up photo of Brian, framed, that was signed by everyone that attended the Celebration of Life in 2006. I didn't sign it. But, at the time, I didn't want a reminder of my thoughts that day. I don't know what I thinking. I was in complete shock, but somehow managed to recognize that it was unnecessary to write on it. I don't think I wrote on the one in Wisconsin, either. I think his parents knew that everything that I wanted to say, had already been said to him or written down. I didn't need to express my love for him on that piece.
I have many memories, beautiful, of my life with Brian. I have notes, letters, photos that will always be in my life.
So, yes, I need help displaying it. It's heavy and I do not want to break it. Sara will be home, later, and I will make her help me then.
In other news....I met with the lawyer's to discuss my best course of action with the landlord. I am still waiting to hear back from them. I know they are not lazy or putting me off. Genuinely, they seemed interested in helping me get my deposit back. Patience is a virtue, right. I have to remind myself of this, frequently.
Shari and I are hoping to do back to back trips. We are meeting in Seattle, already planned, at the end of February. We are celebrating the anniversary of Brian's passing there, this year. Seattle is food friendly and I love Pike's Place Market.
I am restless, dreaming of a mini-vacation. She has a voucher from our trip to San Francisco last year. I mentioned flying to Phoenix and driving to Sedona, meeting in Austin since I keep being told how much I would enjoy it or heading to San Francisco--because it's, well, my favorite city in the States. But, I would need more than 3 days to enjoy the city. I would have to go to Napa.
Realistically, I am drawn to Santa Fe. The weather is questionable, but I believe that is the most likely option. She can fly to Denver and we will drive to Santa Fe or Taos. Either way, we will be enchanted.
Enjoy your day!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

No scathing letter necessary

Yesterday, while working, I decided to tell the scotch drinking lawyers about my continuing saga with the Slumlord.
I mean, scotch drinking, in the most endearing way...these lunch lawyers remind me of the show Mad Men. They would 100% prosper in that decade of cocktail lunches, smoking and sexual harassment. There are days, when I wait on them, where I feel that they need a personal assistant (female) to address all of their needs. Yes, they are misogynists, but yesterday, they truly aided me in my quest to deal with the Slumlord.
I had told them of my issues with the deposit return. I started off with--he charged me...and it arrived a week after the 60 days were up. One of them, looked at me and said--enough. It doesn't matter what he charged you for--he was late and there is a statute in Colorado where if they exceed the deadline of 60 days, they are obligated to return the full deposit. AWESOME.
Now, I need to write a letter or have them write the letter, today or tomorrow. The Slumlord has 7 days to return said deposit or go to court where he could face a repayment of 3 x the initial amount. I think the odds are on my side in this. And, he needs to be held accountable for his negligence in maintenance and human kindness. I mean, there are deadlines for reasons. I paid rent, on time, every month, for 16 months. He should have returned my money is an orderly fashion.
More on this later. I am off to work.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Izba Spa

Today, the Goddess and I treated ourselves to a massage at Izba Spa.
During our marathon training, I spoke to her of Izba. I mentioned how glorious Izba was and we imagined taking a day to go there instead of running. While training, we talked about everything. I enjoyed our long runs, but dreamed of day we would skip running to go to Izba.
We have continued to run, weekly, but in a much more relaxed state. We still b.s. an array of topics and in November, we discussed going to Izba. Christmas seemed like an appropriate time to enjoy a massage. But, with shopping, work, the weather, we decided to put it off until January.
Why not? It would be something to look forward to.
And it delivered.
Our appointment was at 3:30. We arrived early so that Lindsay could fill out the paperwork. Izba offers many services and I had arranged for us to have the Short Spa Treatment. Basically, there is a 15 minute dry sauna session, followed by an hour long massage. During the Banya session, a therapist gently beats your back with oak leaves. The air is filled with the essence of peppermint or lavendar--sometimes--and then, they slather you with honey. At this point, you are hot, finding some difficulty breathing and then they douse you with cold water. It feels amazing.
A quick rinse off shower follows. Then, a massage ensues. Lindsay had a female therapist and mine was male. My guy was fine. I was super relaxed from the banya treatment and the massage was great. He focused on my rhomboids, neck and eventually, my legs. I need to be proactive with stretching. The last two massages have been rough on my legs.
We showered, dressed and then drank hot tea and ate orange slices. It was the perfect way to conclude the experience.
Lindsay loved the massage and told me that she wanted to buy one for her mom and aunt for Mother's Day, or her sister, for her upcoming nuptials. I was glad to be able to share Izba with her.
Then, I realized maybe this could be a goal of 2010--monthly massages at Izba. That would be something to look forward to and a nice accomplishment. Body maintenance is essential.
Enjoy your day. I am about to melt into sleep...

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Maybe 2010 is the year I will learn how to dress as a grown up....

In some ways, many, I still dress like a college student.
I wear shorts, yearround, because I can. And, because I enjoy it. I live in a city where the sun is present and lovely. There are days when the snow is unbearable, but I still wear what I want, when I want.
I think I choose my outfits based on the simplicity of it. I am able to get ready, quickly, and rarely are people waiting on me to go to dinner, to a show or a wine tasting. No, normally, I am waiting on someone to get ready.
I work in a bar. The dress code is simple--clean, t-shirt with said logo on it. Shorts, jeans or khakis. They do not like multi-colored shorts or slacks. One of the managers harps on people that try to deviate from the uniform. Recently, this guy wore the golf shorts (hideous on him, but not the point), they were multi-colored and inappropriate to be wearing at the Bull. Katy made sure to point that out, repeatedly, in case he chose to forget it.
I spend most of the winter, indoors, either at the Bull or in my house. When I venture out I wear shorts or a skirt, mostly. Because of Steve and Sarah's wedding in Las Vegas, I own 4 dresses. Again, because I had to have to them for the occasion. Otherwise, I think I would have continued to purchase skirts or shorts, not jeans. I do like the dresses.
Recently, I met with Steve and Pocketsize. I was explaining to the fashion diva that I had made plans to meet some friends at Elway's. I wanted to dress up, more than my typical t-shirt/shorts combination. Her immediate response was---DO NOT WEAR A SKIRT....but, that is all I own.
Granted, I do own two pairs of Levi's, from 10 years ago. They fit, but I rarely wear them out.
She insisted that I alter my normal comfortable get-up. I didn't. She felt that I should be appropriately attired because of the weather. Did I mention that I walk everywhere? That night, I drove, but I know she was concerned about my lack of attire because of my normal routines.
I suppose I have never been a girly-girl. I wear clothes that are practical, not showy. I spend money on wine--big surprise, or travel, or food. My sisters are complete opposites. Michaela is similar to Pocketsize. She enjoys buying clothes and always looks stylish. Jade buys clothes, too, that look lovely on her. Jasmin is sort of all of over the place with her spending. Let's just say...she is inconsistent with when she has it.
I digress. I decided to make a commitment to expanding my wardrobe. I found a cute, black sweater today and almost bought a mid-length skirt. I tried it on, but it looked frumpy. I looked shapeless (awesome) and as I considered how I could dress it up, I realized that I really didn't want it. I would make due with my slacks or find another skirt that was more flattering. I do want more skirts, of altering lengths, but I do not want to look like a christmas tree. I looked ridiculous in it.
I think back to one of my friend's weddings. I was a bridesmaid. I received the dress, tried it on, knew it was too big in the chest, but thought--it'll work. It is loose and I don't feel uncomfortable.
At the wedding, all of the pictures were awkward. I kept thinking--why didn't I get this altered to fit right? Instead, I hoped that none of the taller men could look down my dress.
I do need to grow up, fashion wise. Last night, this regular said---yes, short skirts and boots are great...not on you....oh, I didn't mean it like it sounded.
Or, perhaps, I am remembering it how I want to. I am justifying my need to expand my clothing. I know that Pocketsize would help me. I think she has considered turning me over to What Not To Wear.
I am hoping to avoid this.
Plus, maybe it is time, I make myself a priority in that manner. Instead of being the first to arrive with a glass of wine in hand; maybe, I should make an effort and make people wait.
When I fly, I almost always, wear a skirt, look presentable, and feel that I am taken seriously when I need something. I avoid wearing sweats or flip-flops. I feel it does make a difference.
2010 could be the year that I buy my first pair of designer jeans. Michaela swears that it makes a huge difference in how I will feel about myself...we shall see.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Trying to be calm....

Although I would like to blow my old landlord up, I know that it isn't an option. I know that it is affecting me too much and that I need to release the anger.
First and foremost, I am angry that he was late getting the deposit back to me. When I moved in to his rental unit, I paid him the deposit, plus first month's rent, with no hesitation. I didn't even try to finangle out of my responsibility in securing that place.
When I did the walk-through, I saw the stairs and was hesitant. They looked like they were ready to fall down. I commented on it to him and he said, yes, the city wants me to repair them, but it would cost me, $10,000.
I should have known, then, that he was unwilling to fix, anything, on his property. I let it slide, enamored with the eclectic space and the parking spot. Plus, I was near a Walgreen's (automatic G-2 supply) and the yoga studio that I frequented. I overlooked the shortcomings because I wanted to live in that space.
Of course, quickly, I realized how incompetent he was. No fence, the plumbing backed up, no heat...were just a few serious things that I had to deal with, in the first few months of living there.
Still, I overlooked it.
Then, Brooke and Katie moved in. Plumbing backed up for 24 hours with no response from him. When he finally contacted them, it was to berate them for calling a plumber.
I could on like this forever. I considered contacting a lawyer to pursue action against the slumlord. However, I am not mad about the money. I am that he will continue to behave in this manner.
He isn't going to fix the stairs. Or the plumbing. Or the heat. Or the security. I mean, I had a door that you could twist and unlock it. How secure is that? I told him about it and nothing was ever done.
I am trying to come to grips with letting it go. What is $100? More suffering of dealing with this complete jackass, for one thing. But, on the other hand, if there were some way to force him to own up to his inadequacies as a landlord, it might be worth it. He owns 8 rental properties around Denver. I would not subject anyone else to his property management skills. He truly is a SLUMLORD. For instance, said collapsing stairs...he charged me 2.5 hours to fix. I don't how he fixed them or how he felt okay deducting it from the deposit. It is normal, as an owner, to clean the carpets, repaint the walls, cauk the shower. This is considered normal wear and tear. It is ridiculous!
I am trying to breathe through it. I am sleeping on it before deciding on a course of action or inaction. I only hope that the girls are able to survive the next 6 months. We still talk/text and I know they are frustrated with him, too.
My current landlord is like a godsend. I have had a guest in my one bedroom, for the last 3 weeks. Rod would have found a way to charge me for her being in his house. Dustin is understanding that people's situations change and I am trying to be a supportive friend while she looks for other rental properties. It could be worse....I could still be living in Rod's house or the stairs could have collapsed when I moved out. I guess that is something to be grateful for....I might send him a "love" letter to let him know how incompetent I know him to be. That might soothe my anger. I don't know. Whatever I decide, it's coming.
I am off to work. I dream of travel and want to be enchanted...

Thursday, January 7, 2010

What are my options? Yes, this retains to the SLUMLORD....

I received my deposit check today.
I moved out by November 1st. The landlord has 60 days to return monies to the tenant. Funny, somehow, my landlord missed that part of the rental agreement.
I wasn't mean when I contacted him to inquire about the deposit. I opted for the professional plan. He never responded to my e-mails or phone calls. Still, I remained calm, collected, professional.
Last week, he contacted me on Tuesday to ask what my new mailing address was. I wasn't shitty in my reply regardless of how frustrated I was with him. I had sent a written letter regarding my move out date, re-e-mailed him to make sure that he received my notice. When I found my current rental, I e-mailed again, to keep him current with my situation. I gave him my address than, and again, when I left the key to the place. I wrote it down twice, so that he had no reason to not be able to send me the check quickly.
When I moved out, while it downpoured ridiculous amounts of snow, I wrote a note, with the key and explained that I had not raked the leaved in the yard, due to the snow factor and that one of the stairs had broken while moving out. Thankfully, no one was hurt due to the poor condition of his stairs.
Today, I received my check--a full week late and the post mark was yesterday. Again, complete disregard with rules or regulations of the lease agreement.
We paid $850, equivalent to a month of rent. He sent me a check for $589 where he listed the cleaning that he had to do. I was pissed at the amount and than I was annoyed that he charged me to rake the leaves and repair the back staircase---REALLY, WTF? Those stairs have been ready to collapse since I moved in in June of 08. And that jackass charges me to fix it. Or, better yet, apply a bandaid to the continuing disrepair of the stairs.
What are my options?
He was late with the payment.
He charged for things that were out of my control. The leaves and the stairs. And, he charged for crap that he should have fixed before I moved in, in addition to cauking the bathroom and the lovely carpets. Normal wear and tear of a rental unit. And, he is a SLUMLORD. Currently, he is refusing to fix the heat situation. He doesn't want to have to pay for his current tenants to have ample heat. Instead, he gave them space heaters until further notice.
His next solution was rigging a light switch that hooked up to the heater. If they turn the light off, they have NO HEAT....I don't know about you, but it is FRIGID in most of the United States right now.
Surely, I have some rights or avenues that will ensure him being forced to be an adequate part of society. I am so FRUSTRATED............I decided to move out after he refused to re-key the place when someone broke into the downstairs unit. He felt it wasn't his responsibility since he had just re-keyed the locks to accomodate the new move-in. When he acted all pompous with this situation, I innocently asked him why I had never received the new key?
Immediately, he said, I will re-key it. Can you see what a complete moron he is? And, I was a great tenant. Rent always on time, pleasant, not a junkie and yet, it didn't matter. He just needs bodies to fill that space.
If you have any suggestions about action that I can take, please let me know. I must do something!!!

Foundation to build on

I now have numbers.
Due to the lovely Jen and her athletic pass, I was able to arrange a few complimentary sessions with a personal trainer. Today, I met Karita and now I have the truth. It is an unavoidable when you must get your measurements or a base to begin a program.
She specializes in Pilates. I appreciate Pilates, but want to feel more comfortable with strength training. And, realistically, if I do not join Colorado Athletic Club and choose a different, cheaper option, they may not have pilates available at their establishment. I told her this and tomorrow, I will have my second comp session with her.
Overall, I am in decent shape--blood pressure, no obstacles, healthwise, that would limit my ability to pursue a healthier lifestyle. I didn't fear my weight; however, when she gave me the body mass index, I was apprehensive. I don't know why, but I wasn't looking forward to hearing that result. It wasn't bad, though, and so I feel confident that I can commit to this fitness goal.
I have Jen and Team in Training to thank. It came at the right time. 2010, at the beginning when everyone feels inspired to tackle new challenges.
Of course, there is more that I would like to achieve. I keep returning to volunteer oriented vacations. Giving back while exploring other countries or regions of the United States. There is an organization based in Denver that places volunteers in host countries for anywhere from 2 weeks to an extended stay vacation. Education, teaching English, helping out in orphanages, HIV centered clinics all are appealing to me. I want to figure out the region of the world that I want to explore and go from there. I wish that my spanish was more proficient and then I would have more options in Central America.
Or, I loved South Africa, but feel I should check out more of the world before returning there. Well, to be honest...I want more passport stamps. I want to fill my book up. It definitely brings me a sense of pride. Lame to some, but truly honest. I love traveling.
Stateside, there is an organization through Rock Resorts, called I saw it in Shape Magazine and need to research it further. I would love to go to New Mexico, stay at the Rock Resort in Santa Fe, and do work along the Rio Grande or trail maintenance. Basically, whatever they offer, I would do because I keep seeing Santa Fe and New Mexico, in general, in my immediate future. Not as a relocation or anything like that...more of a trip there for soul searching or a spiritual reminder, I suppose. Well, and the food factor always stimulates my senses. I could see Melody and entertain her with training stories or follies from my life.
Wine education remains in my head, as well. I would love to continue that direction of life since I enjoy drinking wine. I enjoy being able to choose wine for my friends, even if our interests are completely different. I prefer red wine drinkers--hint, hint---but like the challenge of choosing a white wine for friends. Shari keeps telling me that I need to pursue this and I know, I do. It's just doing it and making it a priority.
I want to incorporate more body work into my life, too. I set up a monthly massage, through Elements Day Spa. I support body maintenance, always have, but recently, became lacksadaisical about it. Yesterday, I realized how tight my quads are and could barely get through the bodywork. It wasn't relaxing and the therapist stopped and focused on my head/face. I enjoyed it because it was relaxing, but know I was cheated out of 5 minutes that I paid for because I couldn't breathe through the leg's portion. Maybe yoga will be reintroduced to my fitness regime.
Quick note on that...I support Core Power Yoga in Denver. It is a wonderful program; yet, they do not cap classes. I was paying $120 a month for a free mat rental, supposed magazine subscription (never received it) and unlimited yoga. The level Two classes were always full beyond maximum capacity leading me to quit going to the classes. It is uncomfortable to stretch when surrounded/engulfed by 65-80 other people also trying to relax and do yoga. It's hot yoga and so the odors are rarely pleasant if you know what I mean. I understand the financial aspect of wanting to make money and be succesful; however, there must be an adequate solution where people continue to want to practice yoga at their studios. I know that I am not the only person that feels that they could turn people away from classes.
Nevertheless, I now have a foundation to build on. I know my measurements, weight, BMI, and want to improve on them. I have the desire and the tools. Now, I want to prioritize my travel options and wine...

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

spin class

While training with Team in Training, I participated (sort of) in a fundraiser. At that point in my fundraising, I had actually surpassed my mimimum amount and offered to donate additional monies to two of my training partners. The Goddess had to raise $4300 and Gadget's friends were not as generous as mine. Honestly, I wasn't required to do any group fundraisers since my friends/family rock! I am a lucky girl.
But, still, I wanted to support my teammates. I did a brief stint at a Harley Davidson fundraiser. I poured beer and greeted guests for 3 hours. It reminded me of work; but easier, since I wasn't forced to answer questions about the beer or the establishment. Simply, it went--we have MGD and I am sorry, it isn't that cold. We are having kegerator issues. But, it's free and we are only asking you donate to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Thankfully, the bikers were generous and I believe the Goddess received $80 for my smiles during the 3 hour period.
Then, some of my customers came in and I was chatting them up about my marathon training. I wasn't fishing for a donation or anything like that...instead, I was being honest with how I was spending my summer. I told them that I was lame because I was unable to do much outside of train on the weekends. I began to recognize how limited my socializing options had become. I could no longer work or drink on Friday nights since I had to get up, early, for my long run on Saturday mornings. The prospect of being hungover, in additon to being tired, did not interest me. Faithfully, I committed to lame Friday nights.
Anyways, Jen, my friend, offered to gift me a month long membership to the Colorado Athletic Club for my upcoming silent auction fundraiser. She offered. I accepted. I knew I wasn't attending the event since I had to work, but I gave the certificate to Gadget, hoping she would be able to raise some money for herself. It was an awesome silent auction item--month long pass, gold, family plan. It enabled to benefactor membership to any of the establishments.
I told Gadget to bid on it. I told her to be aggressive and sell it. She didn't.
No one bid on the item and so it was returned to me.
This brings me back to Spin Class. My friend, Jen, told me that I should use the pass and so I added Sara Jo as my family and forced her to get up at 5, this morning, to attend our first ever Spin Class. I was intimidated by it. I wasn't looking forward to going in blind. I had seen an episode of Cougar Town where Courtney Cox is berated during a spin class. For me, that is not motivational or enjoyable. I do not want to be called out in that type of activity. It is embaressing and unnecessary, in my opinion.
So, we arrive early and set up camp. I try to adjust my seat higher, but it doesn't go higher. I notice that I have one foot strap, but my left foot strap is missing. Sara adjusts her bike and we anxiously wait for the class to fill up. There were 9 women and 15 men. It was full, but not fully utilized.
The guy, a Brit, begins the class. Immediately, this guy to Sara's right begins talking to her. This continues through the class, for her. Thankfully, I had a wooden structure separating me from other people.
I looked around and there were several people talking during the beginning of the class. The girl in front of me, did her own thing, the entire time. Rarely, did she get out of her saddle, as they say.
Initially, I thought of how much I loathe cycling and what a mistake it was to go to this class. I truly do not enjoy cycling. My last two weeks of marathon training were spent on the stationary bike since I was nursing an injury. I despised every minute of it.
The music started out fine. The first ten minutes cruised by with a few missteps on my part. My left foot kept falling out of the strap, causing me to slow down, readjust and start over. I was afraid that I would buck forward, from momentum, and crash on the stationary bike. That would have been awesome! Midway through the class, Sara looked over and said--oh, your strap broke...nope, that is how I started.
Next time, I will find a fully functional bike.
Halfway through, I remember thinking--this isn't so bad. I can do this. Other people are struggling. Maybe this wasn't a mistake.
Sara's friend kept talking. I laughed because I knew she was annoyed.
The instructor was motivational and working hard, himself. His face contorted and it was moderately entertaining to watch. The plan was for us to climb 3 hills, each hill building on speed. He said that the music would reflect our climb.
The music was awful. By the 3rd hill, we were listening to back to back Oasis songs which were not fast. And, at this point, my mind was wandering to the boot camp going on, outside of our room and of random associations of Wonder Wall. I kept telling myself to stop and focus on the spin class. I am not suggesting that he should have played hip hop or top 40's crap, but something fast, to keep us moving. What's the Story, Morning glory, is not an up tempo song.
Afterwards, we stretched. I stood up on the bike and felt all of the stuff we had just done. My legs did get a work out. Wow! I had no idea how affected I could be. We trudged down the 4 flights of stairs, gingerly, and headed to the dry sauna. I love the sauna and am seriously considering a membership to this club for that alone. I suppose I did benefit from Team in Training.
Goal #1 of 2010 accomplished--attend a Spin Class and own it, somewhat....I think it owned me in the end.
Now, I need to figure out the rest of my goals for 2010. Travel, adventure, food, wine, friendship, two 1/2 marathons, one full. This entails commitment to train and flexibility to still enjoy life. I would like to alter my nutrition so that it aids me during the training. I won't be giving up wine anytime soon.
Snow today. Ample time to figure it all out. I dream of sleep, though; or heading to New Mexico. It's been calling me lately.
Be well--

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Subjectiveness of life...

Like anything, movies are subjective.
Before I went into work yesterday, I watched a Top Ten Movies of 2009 according to two respected critics. Of course, I don't remember their names. It isn't really the point. I watched their list and was unfamiliar with several of their choices. Avatar and Where the Wild Things Are were both dominant and near the top of their list. I commented to Sara that I wanted to see Up in the Air--another feature on their list--and a few other flicks. Last year, I had seen several of the contenders. Granted, I cleansed the month of January and needed to fill my time with something besides dreaming of Rapture wine at Elway's.
Ironically, I went into work and again, people were talking about movies. These two guys, were writing down movies that had influenced them. Everyone sitting at the horse shoe joined in. It took awhile and thankfully, they were occupied. I was entertained and interested with their list. I asked if they had American Beauty, The English Patient, or Y Tu Mama Tambien. They didn't.
Our tastes were different and I knew it immediately.
They had Fight Club, the Departed, Reservoir Dogs, Dumb & Dumber, and a slew of other movies. I think the list grew to 120 options and they wanted to whittle it down to ten movies. They asked ten people to choose their lists and then they would cross reference it to have the completed top ten. I was asked to join in, but never able to make time to do my list. One of my co-workers said that I would have extreme difficulty finding ten movies that I enjoyed or felt influenced by on their list. I believe their top 3 were--The Departed, Reservoir Dogs and Silence of the Lambs---respectively.
It made me think--what are movies that influence me or that I love, love, love? And, I suppose, it is more than that. Movies that I can watch, repetitively, and still enjoy them.
So here goes--
1. American Beauty--I went and saw it 5 times at the theatre. It was well-acted, cinematographally beautiful and it completely surprised me. I know many people that were untinterested during the trailers that made it seem more Lola like. Instead of showing how it did relate to materialism and the need to simplify life.
2. Fight Club--I am a huge Ed Norton fan. It continued the theme of materialism does not equate to happiness.
3. Slumlord Millionaire--I had no idea what the movie was about. I went prior to the hype of the awards. I felt it deserved everything it got.
4. Lost in Translation. I think I enjoyed that you never knew what Bill Murray said to Scarlett Johansen in the end. It was romantic.
5. The English Patient. I avoided this movie like the plague. Everyone kept saying how fantastic it was and I didn't want to allow it to crush my expecations. Eventually, I went to Liberty Hall in Lawrence and fell in love with the romance of it. I think I fell in love with Ralph Fiennes, too.
6. Million Dollar Baby. I cried. I laughed. I felt nauseous when the kid got beat up and when Hillary Swank got hurt. I was overwhelmed, emotionally, by the plot, the acting and the ending.
7. Memento. I enjoyed the concept of the movie. Chris Nolan is talented.
8. Amores Perros. The director also directed 21 Grams. I enjoyed the idea of the 3 stories converging and how it all came together. Both movies were well done and interesting.
9. Usual Suspects. Extremely well acted and entertaining. I can watch it again, and again, and again.
10. Pulp Fiction. How could this not be on a top ten? Quentin Tarentino is masterful. This movie reinvigorated John Travolta's career as well as Bruce Willis. Samuel Jackson was hilarious. I don't know. If I had more time, I would truly consider my top ten and know that yes, it is absolutely without a doubt, my top ten.

I also enjoy Little Miss Sunshine. It reminded me of my childhood and the family roadtrip. Neither of my parents found much humor with it. My sisters and I all cracked up.
The Departed was well acted. I like Jack Nicholson.
Good Fellas. Scorscese at his best.
Casino. Long, but entertainig. The Joe Pesci death scene is memorable. Enough said.
Heat--talk about well acted. The scene between Al Pacino and Robert De Niro was simple, but incredibly intense. Then you add Val Kilmer, Ashley Judd, Dennis Haysbert, Jon Voigt, etc.
Traffic. I mean, the war on drugs continues and that movie protrayed it honestly. The Drug Czar's daughter was a junkie. Eventually, it was suggested that perhaps we should start on an individual level as opposed to thinking this can be solved on an international level. I like Benicio del Toro and I enjoyed the cinematography. San Diego was an immense blue, Mexico was dirty and Ohio was gritty/gray.
Like Water for Chocolate, In the Weeds, Opening Night, and other restaurant inspired movies. It is always fun to see how they service industry is protrayed. Some are better than others. Waiting was funny, but definitely not a repeat in my book.
So, what is your top 3 movies? Why do you like them or feel inspired by them? I think I go in phases where things definitely stick out in my life--the need to simplify, enjoy and not get wrapped up in things is why I believe I am such an avid fan of both American Beauty and Fight Club.
Whatever inspries you--go with it and enjoy. Yes, it is subjective. I could go on and on and on......

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy New Year!

Ah, 2010 began well.
I worked the day shift and it was profitable.
Thankfully, everyone was in good spirits. My co-workers, for the most part, were pleasant and were not in the way. There are days, that we constantly run into each other and one person will be hateful. This hate spreads like a cancer, consuming everyone in its path. For whatever reason, yesterday was peaceful. We all helped each other out and remained friendly.
Seriously, it is completely random where the only complaint I heard was that this woman couldn't find her gloves. She was confused, and determined, to find them, before she could settle into a cocktail. I even went outside to search for the black gloves. The gloves were in her friend's car. After a fifteen minute search and rescue, bloody mary's were ordered and life returned to happiness.
And, at 4 pm, I could leave.
There were several people on a double. I didn't envy that position, at all, or their choice to do it. I know how long of a shift, New Year's Day can be. It can be brutal.
Afterwards, I returned home and Sara Jo and I decided to watch the Florida game at Elway's. I couldn't bear the thought of returning to the Bull to watch the game or going to a sport's bar to view it. No, I wanted my Rapture wine and food. I wanted to celebrate 2010 in style. Sara Jo is an alum. I am not a Florida fan; but, she is, and she agreed to watch the Sugar Bowl at Elway's.
Elway's was perfect. Slow, like a Sunday night, and good people were working and Cory, my sous chef friend, saw us and made us a special dish. I love Elway's. He brought us quail with etoufee and a lobster bisque that was amazing, utterly amazing. It was such a treat and again, the perfect way to begin this year.
Steve and Pocketsize called me to invite me downtown to see them. I wanted to, but I knew that I had already had a few glasses of wine and it wouldn't happen. I was already too far into my night at Elway's. I am hoping to see them for brunch tomorrow. Rarely do I have a brunch off and when I do, I like to enjoy it the way everyone else is able to--with a mimosa and being waited on. Hopeful, I will be!
On a sad side aunt put her dog down yesterday. I do not have the specific details, but I know that Macy had pain in her life. I am sad for my aunt because I know how much her dogs mean to her. She put down Maverick, her boxer, earlier in the year. I feel bad that the last walk we took Macy on, I was complaining about how slow we were going. I was freezing and wanted to eat. I can be impatient and unreasonable, at times.
I hope to see Bryn later today.
From my time with Team in Training, I managed to inherit a pass to the Colorado Athletic Club. I toured the facility the other morning and I love it~ I am so excited for the sauna!
2010 has a positive vibe! Enjoy your day!