Saturday, August 28, 2010

August 28th

Eight years ago, August 28th, I went on my first date with Brian. This will always be a memorable day in my life and I believe that I will continue to celebrate with food, wine and adventure.
Our first date, he took me to a Rockies game at Coors Field. We played the Giants and won--I think. Really, I wasn't focusing on that as much as wondering about Brian. At the end of the date, he drove me to my house that I was sharing with 3 guys (my dad hated that fact) and said, verbatim---this wasn't a date....but would you like to do something on Monday? We could go to the mountains.
We used to celebrate our anniversary by going to a Rockies game, the Falling Rock for a pint or 3 and then a nice dinner. The final year we spent together, we had a couples massage at Indulgences Spa in the Highlands, followed by a home cooked Brian meal. He always spoiled me with wine and food. And he treated me to a beautiful necklace that I wear, infrequently. It is too special to wear everyday. I treasure all of the time that we spent together.
After he died in 2006, I chose to continue to celebrate our day.

This year, I am heading to Cali to check out Healdsburg. Specifically, Restaurant Cyrus. It seemed like a great fit since I have dined at the French Laundry and I love wine country. Plus, Cyrus allows people to solo dine at the bar. I do not mind dining, by myself. Actually, I prefer it sometimes. I always meet interesting people this way. However, I do not enjoy sitting at a table by myself, even with a book. I like sitting at the bar and talking to locals, travelers and the bartenders as they have the best suggestions of local restaurants and or bars.

Today is a beautiful day. Celebrate your loved ones and life. I will be toasting Brian. Cheers!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Happy Birthday, Easton

Happy Birthday, Easton Matthew!
I wish I had a more current photo of him on my computer, but I do not. I suppose that is because I haven't seen him since I flew out to Portland two years ago. It has been too long.
I hope you enjoy it! I perused my uploaded photos and found some of Jade and her family at Thanksgiving after Emery was born. I had photos of Jade and Emery, but apparently, did not take any of Easton or Mackenzie. I suck as an aunt, sometimes.....
I do wish that I was able to celebrate with the kids. They provide joy, laughter and fond memories. I remember how curly his hair was and how attached to Jade he was. My mom loved watching Mackenzie. We all did. She was an easy baby--sweet, mild tempered and fun to be around. When Easton arrived, my mom assumed that she would have a similar effect on him. What a difference! Easton only wanted Jade. He would cry and cry and cry when she left. I have three sisters...this was a change for my mom. She had no idea how to deal with this little guy.
In this candid photo, he was running away from Jade. I was back for Jade's graduation from nursing school and able to share in her accomplishment.
Mackenzie and Easton are displaying a rare illustration of sibling love. Don't we all fight with our siblings? But, as you know, family is all you have. I know that I am grateful to have each of my sisters.
The last photo is when Jade, Tab and Easton stayed at my apartment with Brian. We had not kid friended our place. Foolish decision on my part. Easton loved all of Brian's toys--the dart board, bike, helmet, you name it, Easton found it and wanted to play with it. He loved Uncle Brian.
So, celebrate today and enjoy your loved ones. Maybe next year, I will be able to share some of the birthday cake.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Dreaming of a beach....

I try to plan holiday travel, early, each year.

Sometimes, it works.

The last three of four years, I have spent xmas is Las Vegas. I have been fortunate to convince my friends to meet me there. It isn't a hard sell. Really, it's not. There are shows, restaurants, night life--open and available to everyone.

The first year I went, I was surprised at the amount of families spending their holidays there. To me, it is an adult city. I wouldn't dream of bringing a child there. Surrounded by drunks, addicts....the ultimate adult play ground.

However, I do enjoy spending christmas, there, for the food factor. I dine at Bouchon on christmas night and have lunch at Olives. Yes, life is grand.

This year, I envision a beach. Did Imention that I spent one xmas at Margaret River, Australia. There is a hostel--Surfer's Resort--about a mile from the beach. Clean hostel with a group of interesting people. I spent the holiday with a Scot, a Canadian and two guys from the UK. Christmas Eve was spent on the beach, at dusk, followed by pints at a pub in the town. Glorious and it is beckoning to me, now. Not, precisely Margaret River, but a beach.
Where would you spend christmas? What should I consider? This is definitely a non-Vegas type of year.
I feel the waves, the sun, the sand. San Diego seems appropriate, but I am not against international travel. I want to be inspired.
Any and all suggestions are welcome and appreciated.
Happy Saturday!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

New Ipod

I decided to test out my purchase during the Georgetown-Idaho Springs 1/2 Marathon. Truly, that is why I bought it in the first place. The broken #4 had been playing with my mind. Sometimes, I could control what I was listening too and others, I was unable to turn the volume down. Yes, that happened. I had no control over the volume. I struggled through a run without music and hated it.
The idea that I would be unable to listen to music while running a 1/2 marathon, solo, was unappetizing. That, alone, forced me to buy a new nano.
I arrived in Georgetown with a fully charged ipod. It was loaded with my Itunes, but not with everything. Somehow, the space was limited and I had not fiddled with the ipod to test what selection I had.
The gun went off while I was still in line for the bathroom. Yes, I stood in line for 40 minutes to ensure pee #6 of the day. I stretched and joined the mass of people running the 1/2 marathon. I turned my ipod on and began.
A few miles in and it started acting up. My first thought are new....there is no way that you are malfunctioning....
Calm down. Relax.
Turn it off.
Turn it on.
Pray for compliance.
Work with what you have. Listen to Raspberry Beret, again, and think of New Year's Eve, when two of my sisters decided to drunkenly serenade me. This is why an ipod is essential. I remember associations of memories because of song. Prince's Raspberry Beret will always be a highlight in my running mix.
There are still glitches/kinks that I will have to work through. I made it through the race with music. For that, I am thankful. I am frustrated that ipods continue to give me grief. And it will probably continue.
I rode up with 3 other runners. We all run different paces and I knew that I would be running, this event, solo, since the Goddess had other plans. Sara Jo isn't ready for a 1/2 and I hadn't spoken to Jamie or Gadget in a few months. I did run into both of them in Georgetown. Jamie, pre-race and Jenny at mile 8. Anyways, on the drive to the race, my friends asked me what my goal was regarding the race.
I told them two hours.
It was unrealistic since the weeks leading up to the race, I was focusing on running the entire race. I didn't want to stop and walk like I had a year ago. Lindsay and I finished in 2:09:12 or something like that. She was supportive and encouraging as I struggled to run the race. I walked. I cursed. I hated it.
This year, I wanted to finish as a confident runner.
So, I tell my friends--two hours.
The race begins.
I thought about stopping at the aid station at mile 4. I didn't. I talked myself into waiting until mile 6, than waiting until mile 8, due to a untied shoelace. I walked for a minute and then started up again.
At mile 12, I utilized the water station. I carry a hand held and it works for me. I walked through the aid station knowing that there was a mile left.
Up the hills--all of them, and most of the race, I ran.
When I crossed the finish line, I was mid sprinting for the last 4oo yards. I kept thinking, if only I ran like this more of the way....If only, I could figure out the timing...
I finished in 2:10:20--I think.
Time-wise, I did not hit my goal. And, I finished better the year before.
In reflection, I was disappointed in my time. But, I feel more confident in my ability to fully run a race. That is what counts. That was goal. Not the time, but the effort.
And, they say to be conservative at the start of the race. I was. I was too conservative. I had ample energy at the end. I sprinted and then worked a 9 hour shift after the race. I think I napped for ten minutes between race and work.
Yes, I feel good about my abilities. And, yes, there is room for improvement. I want to really cross train--bike, yoga, strength training--since all of these things with stengthen me as a runner.
By the Vegas Marathon, I will have figured my ipod out, too.....

Wine dinner

Wine dinner Wednesday--awesome.
I have been looking forward to this night, August 18th, for the last month. I love wine dinners. Interesting conversations, amazing wine/food, scrumptious dessert, more wine. Intoxifying. The last one that I attended, Sara Jo, and I sat with two couples. I believe, we represented the youngest people in attendance and I had asked Maghan, to place us at a fun table. One couple was newly married and beer drinkers. The other two, were on a date and as the night progressed, we learned that the woman had quit her job in order to pursue her passion. She opened a wine accessory store and was extremely joyful in her life.
Yes, the conversation flowed and was unique. This is what I enjoy about wine dinners. Being placed in a situation where you can connect with people that you do not know. Be inspired, motivated, or be able to release something about yourself. Yes, wine dinners are fantastic. Feeling this way about this event, especially one that was hosted by Solera, prompted me to overlook my happy hour wine date with Jenny.
Jenny and I meet regularly throughout the year. Typically, we shoot for a Wednesday night, every two months. We change venues around the metro area to keep it fresh--I think.
Originally, I set aside, this Wednesday, August 18th, to meet her. It has been two months since our last happy hour and in my phone, tonight, we were supposed to meet at Root Down. I still haven't checked out their food and patio. I suppose it is due to the fact that I have heard--several times-that the service is less than stellar. In fact, it is poor and the food, although, great, does not make up for that fact. I have to be in the mood to overlook poor service.
Meanwhile, I received a weekly e-mail from Solera where they mentioned upcoming events. They were having a 4 course meal, paired with wine, on August 18th. Immediately, I texted my friend, Maghan, and asked him to put me on the confirmation list, +1. I figured I would ask Sara Jo, or someone to attend the dinner with me.
A few weeks later and I realized that the 18th was the night I was supposed to have happy hour wine with Jenny. I e-mailed her to have her consider a change of venue. I wanted to give her the opportunity to attend the dinner with me. I really wanted to go. And, Jenny has been considering service work. Each year, she organizes several holiday fundraisers that aid area shelters, homes, people. She excels at this and wants to take a more committed position of what--she doesn't know. It has been floating in her mind for the last 8 months. I believe that she will meet her opportunity when she least expects it. I attempted to convince her that the Solera wine dinner might be that opportunity of inspiration.
Unfortunately, she declined. She told me that I should go, though, and we could meet on an alternate night.
Ironically, we met at a wine tasting on Monday, at Solera. Maybe I should rename this post--wine consumption at Solera. The tasting was the 3rd that I have attended this summer. I enjoy people watching and am friendly with a few of the reps that pour at the tastings. Because of this, I hear the back story of some of the guests that routinely attend these functions. There are cougars that say the most outlandish things to the reps. The gall of some of the women.
Today is a great day! Work followed by wine, food and a unique opportunity to meet people. My friend, Jen, is attending the event with me. Her boyfriend is our chauffer. Grateful for that. The taxi or walk back to Solera to get said car is less than desireable.
Enjoy your day!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Introducing Ipod #5...

I should name my ipods since I continue to buy them.
First one, my introduction to current technology, prompted by Pocketsize to enter this century, was stolen in Chile. By a fellow traveler, I might add. The thief was British and his had been taken in a different country. I guess he felt since he had experienced this injustice, it justified his decision to take my ipod. I was devastated. Trying to run, solo, and this theft derailed any hope of the running commitment. Thankfully, this occurred at the end of my trip. I didn't have to wait long to find ipod number two.
Ipod number two, I dropped while walking on Speer Blvd. Trying to multi-task, I was listening to my ipod, talking on the phone to Jan and holding my purchases from Whole Foods. Eventually, I realized that the ipod was missing. Hurriedly, I walked up and down Speer hoping to find my ipod. No luck.
Ipod #3....well, I was suckered by Target into a "deal"....not enough memory. I enjoyed the ITunes card though. I opted to gift this ipod to my sister, the fitness fanatic.
Ipod number four has been dropped too many times. It is broken. At this point, I am lucky to have it turn on. The other day, I couldn't turn the music down. That prompted me to puchase number five.
As such, in names, they would be....stolen, lost, gifted, broke and new. Sorta generic/basic, but this is how I will think of previous ones in memory. I hope that number five has a long life.
I needed a new ipod since I am running the Georgetown-Idaho Springs 1/2 Marathon tomorrow morning. I am running, solo, since the Goddess is busy this weekend. I am nervous to be going solo, but, excited too. I am ready! And, I needed an ipod to facilitate the run. I have no conversation partner and although I think/talk to myself while running, anyways, it will be nice to have background music to offset some of the internal conversation. Yes, I am constantly thinking. About life, work, travel, wine, food, travel, travel, travel. While running, I contemplate aches and/or pains, too. I try to quash those negative thoughts before they defeat my run.
Tomorrow is going to be an excellent day! New ipod. New day.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Bahamas and giving back

The Bahamas--stunning.
Absolutely, sufficiently stunning.
My week was full of snorkeling, diving, sun burn---yes, never ending sunburn. Somehow, Neutrogena 85 failed me. Yes, I applied it multiple times during the course of the day. And, I had help with applying it.
Outside of the sunburn, my trip was stellar. I stayed with my friend, Shar, and she was gracious/hospitable enough to introduce me to all of her local friends. I wish I could explain how special Shar is to me. I met her on a whim since I was staying in a bed bug infested hostel in Chile. It was run by an American and I wasn't impressed with his bedside manner. Basically, the guy was absent during the beginning of my stay at his hostel and when he returned, he turned out to be a consumate jackass. Trying to maintain proper form, I went to him to explain the bedbug outbreak, but keep it contained. I wanted to prevent him from losing money on all of his guests. However, his response to my bites was incredulous. Verbatim---she's the one that thinks she has bed bugs.
These are supposed bites. At which point, I took off my shirt to expose the bites-obvious, evident, real bites.
Yes, I met Shar in this environment and we chose to jump ship and head to the coast. She to Vina del Mar, and me, to Valparaiso. Eventually, we met in Valpo and spent the remainder of my Chilean venture there.
Since then, we are facebook friends, but I had not seen her since February 2008.
I arrived in Nassau and she and Eddie, a friend, picked me up. Within 25 minutes, I was at the beach, enjoying the tremendous water. This started my 7 day stint in paradise.
Quick side note---yes, I stayed with my friend and she, in turn, included me in her life. Part of which was the addition of couch surfers. I think I will sign up for this service since let's be honest, I love traveling and any way to decrease my cost, abroad, is welcome. Yes, I think I will sign up to host couch surfers. Not necessarily to show them around, 100%, but to enable a safe place to stay.
Mentioning this service, also, makes me think of service, in general. I know that I have noted, this before, but summer is almost over. If you the ability to host a child for the summer or donate, please do. Check out They need host families and/or sponsors through the fall. It is an excellent way to give back to the community, meet new people, establish more contacts.
I think of the fresh air fund and realize that in my own way, I have benefitted, completely, from people's generosity. IE...Shar and her friends. Meeting couch surfers, other travelers....having the desire to see a part of the world that is unknown to me. If you have any inclination or desire to better this planet, please check out Not only are you personally benefitting; but, you could be providing an opportunity for someone else to see the world or something unknown to them.
I know that I must document my trip, more fully, to The Bahamas. I had an excellent trip. And, yes, I believe in service. Please check out Enjoy your night!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Short time for reflection

I burned my feet today. Really. Seriously. Burnt feet from the Bahamas sun. Freaking crazy.
I slathered on half a tube of sunblock and still managed to burn the exposed areas of my shoulders, neck, arms, and now feet. I am utterly amazed. Tomorrow, I am wearing a t-shirt over my swim suit. I do not know how else to block some of the potential damage to my skin. I ended up feeling like I would need a body suit to protect myself from the sun. It was so awful today, that we cut our time on the boat short because I was frying. Our plan included spear fishing, snorkeling, eating Kentucky Fried Chicken on the beach and then returning to Nassau. Due to my love/hate war with the sun, we dined on KFC in the boat. Delightful. I have not eaten KFC in years. They told me that anything tastes good on a boat and I would have to agree.
Simon and Erik caught us 6 lobsters and Greg, Simon's father, grabbed 6 conch shells. I was intrigued by the conch diving as the shells varied in size and color. They offered me the largest one to take back to the states and I, gladly, accepted.
As a result of the spear fishing success, we are dining on lobsters tonight. I cannot wait.
Lobster, dirty rice, wine...what a life! I am blessed with my friends and feel so fortunate to have met Shar, in Chile. Otherwise, I know my trip here would have been completely different.
I have done so many activities with locals' that I know would not have been an option had I tackled Nassau by myself. I feel sorry for the cruise dwellers or other travelers that choose to stay in all inclusive resorts. They are missing out a huge part of the Bahamas and what it has to offer. I have seen midnight basketball games outside of Hammerhead's Bar, snorkeling with no fee (almost too many times to count), impromptu daiquiri stops from around the island, met incredible lovely people that want to showcase their perspective of Nassau. Yes, I have been blessed with people in my life.
Tomorrow, we are heading out on the boat, again....what a life.....