Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

Continuing the touristy theme of Jan's visit, we drove south to Colorado Springs. Initially, I wanted to go to Santa Fe. When I mentioned this to Jan, she gave a swift no. She felt it was too far and that we should day trip somewhere closer. Next, I suggested Aspen. I have lived in Colorado since 2001 and not once been to Aspen. To go to Aspen, we would need to drive about 4 hours west. This, too, seemed like a lengthy day trip.
I proposed Manitou Springs. I am not enamored with the Springs. Only drive through them to go to Santa Fe. I had heard many wonderful things about the Broadmoor and Manitou Springs. I knew that if I drove an hour, it would be a great day trip.
First, we went to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. It had been highly recommended by several people we encountered in Denver.
Jan received a discount for being a Triple A member. We entered and were greeted by the giraffes. Jan wanted a giraffe to take notice of her, but the giraffes were more interested in the crackers or the poles. Several of the giraffes were licking the poles, frantically-almost. It was comical to say the least.
We toured the zoo. I was a little bummed about the lions. They looked haggard. I saw one in South Africa while on a safari. That lion's mane was magnificent and glorious. I guess I wanted to see a similar mane in Colorado Springs.
Anyways, it was lovely and a nice surprise. Like I said, I normally only drive through the Springs....

Monday dinner

After the Botannic Gardens, I convinced Jan that we should either make dinner or walk to somewhere in my neighborhood. I am close to several establishments, but since I wanted to sell the foodie scene to Jan, I chose Fruition. And, because it was a Monday, our options were limited. I enjoy Mizuna and Luca, which are also walking distance from my house, but they are not open on Mondays. I used to like Potager, but the last few times I have dined there, I have been disappointed in both the food and service. Plus, they are not open on Mondays either.
I love Fruition. The food never disappoints. I have had a few server mishaps, but the food is stellar and so I have suffered through the same server twice. I always focus on the food and order another glass of wine. That seems to dim the poor service.
We walk past Table 6. I considered dining there, too, but knew that Fruition had my attention that night. Of course, they were full and no, I hadn't called for a reservation. Rarely have I made one. Fortunately, I have always been able to snag a table without waiting too long.
That night, I think we waited 20 minutes. We sat alongside 6th Ave, drinks in hand. I'll admit. We both were surprised that they allowed this. There is no waiting area outside of a couple of benches. There is no gate to separate the customers (waiting with drinks) from the sidewalk. For whatever reason, I thought there was some ordinance against this.
I digress. We were seated at a small table. Fruition is an intimate restaurant. Our table location was not ideal, but we were seated. Meaning, we were near the restroom.
We shared the warm asparagus salad and scallops entree. I was pleased with the colors, the taste and the presentation. They serve bread prior to the meal and it is always fresh and tasty.
I thought about ordering coffee and dessert. However, carrot cake was not offered and I knew that Jan does not have much of a sweet tooth. On a side note, I do enjoy their coffee. Order it, after dinner, if you dine there. It is divine.
I wish their wine list was more dynamic, but Jan was happy with the beer selection. I think she thoroughly enjoyed the meal at Fruition. I know that I did.

Botannic Gardens

Last week, Jan and I toured the Botannic Gardens. Since she was visiting for five days, I wanted to show her some of what Denver had to offer.
On Sunday, we dined at the Squeaky Bean and Elway's--two of my favorite places. I will write about those experiences later. For now, I will continue with the visual beauty of Denver.
Monday morning, we hiked at Matthew Winters Park. I wanted Jan to see Red Rocks and do some hiking too. Matthew Winters Park is close to my heart and I always find peace there. Brian and I hiked there often.
Jan and I did some light hiking. She was unused to the elevation and so we kept it simple. Afterwards, I drove to the Amphitheatre. There were several tourists from Boston, that day, since the Red Sox were in town for a series with the Rockies. I showed her the music venue, but we skipped the stairs. I wanted her to enjoy her day, not be exhausted. Another day, I might run the stairs. It looks like a fantastic workout.
After enjoying a pint of beer in the restaurant, we headed back to Denver. I introduced her to the Bull & Bush. She made me. Had I had my way, I think we would have avoided my restaurant the entire visit. I work isn't the same as being a regular customer if you know what I mean.
Anyways, after a brief introduction at the Bull and Bush, we toured the Botannic Gardens. We went at 5:30 pm. Surrounded by beauty, sunset and eventually, the hint of the moon. I loved it. Very peaceful and pure. I enjoyed the current exhibit of copper and we had a coffee at the cafe. I think a glass of wine would have been ideal, but they do not offer this at the Gardens.
It is sad that I rarely enjoy the touristy things around Denver. I liked showing Jan around. I missed the Botannic Gardens and ironically, it is in my neighborhood. I believe a return visit is in order. Perhaps a picnic.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Red Rocks

I wanted to share a recent visit of Red Rocks. It was a beautiful day. Enjoy!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Things that I can do....

Recently, I read a post that inspired me. Or, better yet, affirmed my desire to give back.
Nancy, of Life in the Second Half, is a gifted writer. Many times, I have read her blog and been inspired to do something with whatever she has written about or currently is contemplating.
She blogged about our ability to give back. A grass roots approach instead of relying on the government. She mentioned Katina, the current oil spill, wars, banking, etc. There is a lot going on, right now, and instead of accomplishing a task, we are extending our laundry list of to-do's. With each crisis, we move farther from being successful at one.
She suggested being proactive. Of course, we can complain and whine about the current state of affairs. But, what does it accomplish? More frustration and anger.
So, she wrote about giving back, in small ways, but doing what she a jar is out at a coffee shop--putting in spare change for whatever the cause is; donating clothing that is in the back of her closet, etc.
I believe we are all capable of this. On a small scale, it feels great to give back. I should simplify my closet, my library of books, spare change, etc. This is something that I can definitely do.
Also, I can write about events/fundraisers that I would support. For instance, this Wednesday, we are having a small silent auctin/fundraiser at the Bull and Bush from 6-8 pm where all of the proceeds directly benefit Gulf Aid. Our brewer, Gabe, is passionaate about the Gulf Coast. He made a beer, the Black Coast IPA, in honor of the Gulf. On Wednesday, every pint of the IPA which sells for $5 a pint, will go directly to the Gulf Aid. Also, if you are interested in making a personal donation to the Gulf Coast Aid, we are accepting those too.
We all have talent and ability to help ourselves and others. I am happy that Gabe made this beer and was inspired by his decision to do this. Please come out and support this venture if you are in Denver and passionate about the Gulf Coast. Our beer is tasty, too. You definitely will benefit from that.

June 28th

Happy Birthday, Jenny!
When I was ten years old, my bestie, Kristy VanEmburgh, lived one house from me. Our neighborhood was full of kids that matched Michaela's age, my age and Jade's. Jasmin was definitely the odd man out.
Anyways, Kristy was my friend and her parents bought a house on the north side of town. I was bummed, but I was ten. What could I do?
While their house was on the market, I was making chocolate pudding with Kristy and her older brother, Kevin. In walks a realtor with a couple and their daughter. I remember meeting them since I remember feeling awkward in the kitchen while a showing was going on. Distinctly, I remembered meeting Jenny that afternoon.
Three months later, the family moved into the vacant house. I ran down, curious, as to who the new neighbors would be. It was Jenny, her brother, Mike, and older sister Valerie. Fast friends we became overnight. I think I spent the entire three months of summer break at their house. My mom kept insisting that I would overstay my welcome; but, Jenny kept inviting me back.
We attended the same middle school and high school, but we had changed. Mostly due to distance. My parents divorced and we moved to the north side of town. Fortunately, for me, I was able to continue with my elementary school mates in spite of the boundary dictating my transfer to Central. The last thing, I wanted, at that time, was to start over in a new school.
After high school, I attended KU and Jenny went to Ft. Hays. Years later, we both ended up in Denver. We reconnected, moderately, and since the initial lunch date, we have become true adult friends. I see her, once every two months for happy hour. We make plans and stick to them. I am hoping to do a Mudd Volleyball benefit with her and her husband in August and perhaps a relay, later in the year, with some of my friends. I am thankful for the chocolate pudding. I suppose it will always hold us together.
Happy Birthday..

Sunday, June 20, 2010

5 days of debauchery begins...

And so it begins....five days with Jan, in Denver...
Normally, I fly to Phoenix, disrupt her life and return to Denver. I am honored to be able to show her my perspective of the greatness of this city.
I enjoy Phoenix. I do. Let me clarify. I enjoy visiting Phoenix for my friends, Los Dos Molinos and the Phoenician. I couldn't live there, again, though. It is too spread out, hot and concrete.
Denver is home to me. I can honestly say that. I love it here.
I hope to head west to the mountains for a little retreat, but spend the majority of Jan's trip in Denver. There is so much to explore and love about this little gem of a city.
I am undecided on what restaurants to eat at---Elway's, Solera, Fruition, Squeaky Bean, El Tejado (she loves mexican food), etc. There are multiple options and little time.
Plus, the Red Sox are in town. It will be an excellent atmosphere to enjoy downtown. Of course, we will go to the Falling Rock since she enjoys beer, too. I have stocked Stella and chips and salsa to be an accomodating hostess. She, too, is a chips/salsa aficionado.
Then, there is the Botannical Gardens, Red Rocks, the Zoo, City Park Jazz, etc. to name a few sight seeing options. I haven't been to the Gardens in years or the Art Museum for that matter. It should be fun to view Denver as a tourist for a few days.
If I have time, I will update our adventures while doing them. Otherwise, catch you on the back end. Also, Happy Father's Day to all of you Father's. I spoke to mine earlier and he didn't really like the quotable card I sent. I found a fantastic quote (I thought). I wasn't too terribly concerned that Ted Kennedy said it. It did cross my mind that my dad wouldn't get past that aspect of it. And, I was right. During our conversation he mentioned the card and that Ted Kennedy had no morals. I guess the quote was completely worthless in my dad's mind.....

Thursday, June 17, 2010

In conclusion....

7 am--I called my insurance company. I said that I was ready for the tow service and would be available for an hour. The previous day, an hour was the time estimate.
I waited to shower, which was foolish. Since they were late, I kept envisioning me entering the shower and receiving the call that they had arrived.
Eventually, I thought--screw it--just shower and I began my day. I called Sara Jo to inform her of the situation. Since an hour and a half had passed, I thought I should update her on their status.
I called the towing company, inquired about the time estimate, and notified them of the contact change. They assured me that the tow truck would be at my house within a half hour. I said that I would be leaving within that time frame and that they should contact Sara.
I walked to work.
The called me an hour later. I told them to call Sara and that should had the key to my car, the mechanic's information, etc.
I continued to walk to work. My phone started acting up. Basically, there was no way to contact me regarding my car.
Eventually, I was able to receive calls. Sara called me to let me know that the tow company was unable to get into my car. Funny, how, that is why I arranged to have my car towed. This company would be unable to perform the service.
My insurance company had called, also, to let me know that they were sending another tow truck to tow my car.
Meanwhile, I text Sara and apologize for wasting her morning. If they had arrived within the first hour--like I had been led to believe--she wouldn't have had to deal with my car at all.
In summary, four hours after my call, my car was opened. The second tow company was able to open the door. At this point, they wanted to leave the car with Sara. She called me and I told her to have them tow it. She offered to sit with my car until the work was finished. But, I had no guarantee how long it would take to fix my car handles or a way to get her home from Sweden Pride. This would have been an option, for me, had they arrived within the first hour on Tuesday. Sure, I would have preferred avoiding the unnecessary tow, but lack of communication and time prohibited this.
My car is safe and at home. I have new handles and a belief that this will not happen again. Yes, expensive to fix, but a must do service. Thankfully, the Goddess drove me to my car after our run yesterday. No more bus rides on Colfax.....

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Continuing the car drama

I call my insurance company and inquire about my roadside assistance. Thankfully, when I became a member, I opted to purchase full coverage for my volvo. I spoke with a customer service agent. I explained that I needed my car towed to my mechanic's shop since I was unable to enter the car. I had the keys. No, the issue wasn't about locking my keys in the car. I was unable to get into my car due to the lock being broken on the passenger side and the handle broke on the driver side. I was clear on that. There was no misunderstanding as to why I would need roadside assistance.
The lady told me that they could set up the tow, but that I would need to be available for at least an hour from the initial phone call to the towing company. I knew that Monday was a wash since I had to work a double. I decided to call--first thing--Tuesday morning. That way, the towing company could get to my house, take my car and I would have enough time to walk to work. Or, if they were late, Sara Jo, could handle the transaction. And since I had already notified the insurance company of my situation, the call on Tuesday would be shorter. I wouldn't have to go through all of the paperwork to get my car towed.
Monday night, I went to a wine tasting fundraiser at Solera. I was supposed to work, but didn't feel like it. I convinced a co-worker to work for me. I walked home from the day shift and assessed my timing situation. The fundraiser started at 5 and ended at 7 pm. I could take the bus to Solera instead of walking or hiring a cab. I showered, texted my friend to let him know that I was taking the bus and headed out to Colfax.
I support public transportation and walk, frequently. I have taken the 1 Bus, several times, to Cherry Creek. The experience is pleasant since it is a clean bus and most of the riders are professional or service industry workers.
I have heard about the 15 bus, but haven't ridden it, in years. I probably will not ride it anytime soon. Walking will be my option, if ever, I am carless again.
I walk up to Colfax and Downing and wait with many others. It was 6 pm and the 15L--an express bus--was full. I scan the bus and locate an open seat near a man that seems normal. I sit down.
I have my ipod but no sunglasses. I left them in my locked car. Smart.
Anyways, the ride was quick, but I felt dirty. The seat reeked of urine and I think I was the only clean white person on the bus. I almost wore a skirt. I was grateful that I opted to sport shorts due to the leering looks I was getting just being on the bus. The "normal" guy next to me decided to start picking his nose--awesome.
The ride was short and only made 4 stops between Downing and Glencoe. I depart and want to wash the essence off of me. Like I mentioned, walking will be the way in the future.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Obviously....I love my car.....I do....

Sunday morning, I woke up, like I always do, and lamented the fact that I had to work.
There is never enough coffee.
There never seems to be enough sleep between shifts. I close every other Saturday night.
Plus, Sunday mornings are trying--difficult servers, customers, long shift.
I walked to my car, intent on bringing coffee to my co-worker. For whatever reason, we always are nice to each other on Sundays. I bring her coffee when I close the day shift and likewise. I love this arrangement. Like I said---there is never enough coffee.
I unlock my car...snapped the lever to the handle.
Immediately, I knew I couldn't get into my car. See, I have had this problem before. A few years ago, I broke the spring to the lever that enabled access to my driver side. Eventually, I took my car in to be serviced and asked the guys to look into the door handle. Stupid, expensive repair--I move forward.
I have faith.
I walk to the other side. Hopeful. Despite the fact that I had not been able to enter the passenger side door for 10 months. I broke the lock, one night, at Elway's.
Did I mention, that the trunk is unpenetrable? No way to enter with key? Or, switch on inner side of door? No, only works inside car. There is a switch that releases the lock.
Right away, I assess the situation.
Do I have enough time to walk to work? No.
Is my bike ready? No.
Is there anyone, near me, that could pick me up? No.
Cab it is.
I arrange for the service and wait.
Cab arrives.
I arrive without coffee for my co-worker. At that point, I was more concerned with arriving at work. I felt bad, but really, my car issues consumed me. From experience, I knew that I would be spending more money than I anticipatedd. Simple part, but complicated labor.
I work.
We were busy, ridiculously so, but I am still able to maneuver. Basically, I do not buy into the b.s. associated with my job. I work. Try to find zen and not worry about my car.
I meet Melody at Elway's. Steak, amazing meal, conversation, wine.
I decided to review my car insurance coverage, speak with my mechaniacs and go forward from there. Sunday night ended peacefully.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Happy Friday

3 a.m. Sleep began to evade me. I think it is because I have a lot on my mind.
For the last few weeks, I have been on the fence with whether or not I wanted to A)run a marathon this year and B)sign up for training if I did decide to run a marathon.
I kept seeing Las Vegas in my future and opted to run that race. It is a flat course, at sea level, and not until December. I would have plenty of time to train and prepare for the marathon.
I knew that I was not interested in another training sesssion with Team in Training. Although a good program, I have no ties to their organization. The fundraising was just as taxing/time consuming as the marathon training. Asking my friends and family to donate, on my behalf, again, seemed unlikely since I have no personal connection to leukemia or lymphoma.
I have been receiving e-mails from and recognized Runner's Edge of the Rockies. Plus, I know a few people that have trained with them and had only good things to say. I knew that if I wanted to be trained with a structured plan, that they would be the organization I would commit.
I set up my marathon training on their website, Tuesday, made the payment, and have waited to hear back from them. Apparently, I cannot access my account until they approve the transaction. My question long does it take? How long is too long? Why haven't I heard anything?
I am a little frustrated since I want to know what to expect from the training--where the runs are in the metro area, do they offer some Sunday morning trainings in lieu of Saturday, etc. I work on Friday nights and hope that there is interest in Sunday morning trainings. If only one person would be interested in joining me. The likelihood of me completing an early Saturday morning long run, after closing, is nil. Sleep is what I will want.
I think that is part of what I contemplated at 3 a.m. The run factor...Please, let there be someone that will run with me on Sunday mornings. Otherwise, I will have long Saturday runs that are difficult.
Anyways, Happy Friday. Enjoy the day.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

One thing about me....

Joy=Me, in 2010. Or, finding a joyful place in 2010. This year is about joy. Shari and I decided that on February 28th of this year. Yes, this year is about joy. I walked to Safeway earlier, and thought of my blog and considered doing a post of things you do not know about me. There are probably several things. The one thing, most important thing about me, that you might not know, is that I lost my soul mate in 2006. I lost my heart.
Most of it, that is...I have many memories, photos. I have a lifetime of memories that occurred in three and a half years. I know. It seems brief and maybe a little naive. But, I stand firm in this belief. I met the love of my life in 2002, fell in love, and believed that I would spend the rest of my life with him.
Because of this, I think my perspective of life and happiness is different than most other people my age. I am reminded daily of the need to say what I mean/feel since you never know how much time you have. Life is short. Too short.
I hear things, negative things, and it makes me sad. Recently, I learned that someone close to me, might have cancer. I am so sad for how this will effect my family. I am sad that as much as I know life is short, I still need the reminders of it. Cancer, lymphoma, terminal illness happens daily. We should all laugh, experience joy, drink wine, feel fat, eat carrot cake, steak, etc. Yes, eat steak. I sampled this particular ribeye at Elway's and it was amazing.
And, friends equate to joy. I am fortunate to have many friends that make me smile and experience life.
Please enjoy tonight. Find joy. Smile.

Summer color

The most amazing beet salad--ever~
I convinced Maghan and Jason to order this with me at our pre-Bolder Boulder dinner. It was my pre-dinner and substinence for them. They aren't runners, yet. Maybe, one day.
It is funny how well I ran that event. Amongst 50,000+ other runners, we (the Goddess and I) fared well. It wasn't a race. It was a spectator course and fun. I saw many people handing out bacon, marshmellows, doritos, drinks. Plus, the amount of other runners stifled our ability to try to make a break for it. I loved every single minute of it. Could I have run faster? Absolutely. Was I distracted? Yes, pleasantly, so. Would I do it again? Yes. Yes. Yes.
I am still figuring out the right formula of food/wine, pre-race. From two experiences, personally, I believe a glass or two of wine is fine. It doesn't mess with the race running. Instead, I think, it aids me in my relaxation and sleep.
Also, I ate ribeye, topped with an over easy egg and foie gras. Talk about rich, decadent food. I was a little scared of how that would effect me. Seriously, I do not eat red meat, frequently, and there were lingering concerns in the back of my mind when I woke up, pre-race. I kept projecting positive thoughts/energy of my race day experience. I was happy to have Memorial Day off, and grateful for the opportunity to run the Bolder Boulder.
It all began with red wine and beet salad at Elway's. The evening was glorious, filling and entertaining.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Summer dinner

Yummy....oven roasted tomatoes.
I found this recipe, on-line, regarding oven roasted tomatoes. A week ago, I roasted peppers, asparagus and tomatoes. I found, then, that the peppers were delicious, asparagus-overcooked, and tomatoes needed more seasoning. I liked the idea of roasted tomatoes and wanted to consult a recipe to make it better.
I cheated, a little. They said 3 hours, slow roasting, in the oven. I couldn't wait longer than two hours and fifteen minutes. Tomatoes were delightful. I wish that I had made more. Two hours is a long time to wait for this wonderful meal. I see now that I could pair the tomatoes with pasta, cous cous or wild rice.
I took campari tomatoes, slightly salt and peppered, olive oil and garlic cloves. My only regret is that I didn't have more garlic. I love roasted garlic. Mental note--buy more garlic. And tomatoes.
Anyways, after the two hours and fifteen minutes, I took the tomatoes out and replaced it with bread. Ten minutes later and dinner was prepared. Lovely, colorful and filling. I topped the bread with the garlic and tomatoes. At the last minute, I cut up basil and placed that in the mix, too. Basil makes everything better.
Tomorrow, I hope to walk to Cherry Creek to check out the farmer's market. I do want to suport local farmers and enjoy summer fruits and vegetables. And, I have been lax about keeping fresh flowers stocked in my house. It is time to get back in that habit.
Ahhh, summer. I love it! Rockies games, City Park Jazz, dining on patios and friends. It is a lovely time of year.