Monday, May 31, 2010

Pre-Race dinner

I met with a stylist, last week. Meaghan told me of her sea level race where she believed she would PR. It was sea level and she trained in Denver. Obviously, there was an advantage in that. I know, somewhat, from experience, that running at sea level is easier after training in Colorado. It is. Believe me. I dream of doing a marathon, at sea level, on a flat course. I would rock!
So, Meaghan trains in Denver, intending to PR at the Phoenix 1/2. She prepared. Really, she did. Cut out drinking and smoking for 2 months. She started the event and was killing it. 7 miles in and she had a great pace going, felt good about herself and then, suddenly, she was finding difficulty with her running. Instead of running 9 minute miles, she was running 13 minute miles. How did this happen was what she was thinking....After everything was said and done, she finished in 2 hours 23 minutes. This was her normal altitude, smoke-filled race. She decided that she would never cut out drinking/smoking to train for a race again.
I understand that. I do.
My best run was my last run, prior to the marathon. I dined in D.C. for 4 days, eating rich food, drinking a ton of wine/beer and then ran 21 miles in Denver. It was freeing, amazing, pure.
The marathon lacked. I quit drinking. I ate before 7 p.m. I ate bland food...blah, blah, didn't work for me. I knew it.
Last night, pre-Bolder Boulder, I felt like having a glass of wine. Sara Jo was busy. Pocketsize was down south. I hadn't spoken to the Goddess. Bryn isn't much of a wine drinker. My options were limited.
Suddenly, I receive a text from Maghan. He wanted to know what I was doing and I responded, hoping that he would want to meet for dinner. Maghan is a pro. He likes food. He knows servers and wine. I knew that if I met him, I would have a fantastic experience.
I needed to limit my intake due to the race and so I told him that it would be an early night.
We agreed to Elway's....Shocker, I know.
Michael and John Miller were bartending. Maghan knew the sous chef and so we started the night off with a shrimp and fritter appetizer. Maghan's friend and co-worker, Jason, was also dining with us. Maghan ordered a bottle of big red wine off of his friend, Tim. We settled for the ribeye. I am not much a red meat eater, but felt that a bite or two wouldn't kill me. They wanted the ribeye, medium rare, topped with an over easy egg and foie gras. I complied.
We shared beef enchiladas.
I demanded the spring vegetable medley. I wanted something green.
And, we had a beet salad as a starter. Yummy, colorful, delightful.
Afterwards, they ordered smores and creme brulee. I am not a flan or creme brulee person. I had half of a smore and then departed for the evening.
I slept 7 hours. Yes, I like my sleep. I woke up, early, to meet Lindsay. Uncertain about how my stomach would feel, I began to regret my dinner option. The last thing that I wanted was to have an unpleasant race due to my food choices. But, like in D.C., I had an amazing race. No stomach issues or cramps and I felt right. Right in my world that is. Yes, my system is used to a certain diet. When I alter course, or try to be healthy, I suffer through the event. It isn't pretty and I do not recommend trying it. I have found that in my races, I should be true to who I foie or steak, and then run.
I am considering the Las Vegas full marathon. It is months away, but the decadent dinner, afterwards, will be worth all of the training, conversations and 26.2 miles. Yes, I think I will register for Vegas 2010..........

Bolder Boulder

Excellent race.
Many people had asked me if I was planning on running the Bolder Boulder. Friends, co-workers, regulars all knew about the race and asked me if I would be participating. I talk about running a lot and so it would seem natural that I would want to run the Bolder Boulder.
The Goddess and I pondered it while running a few weeks back and decided to sign up. I registered us and waited for the information regarding our wave. Since there are 50,000 people that do this particular 10k race, they have organized it based on waves instead of having everyone begin at 7 a.m. I think that would be a complete cluster. Talk about massive outlet of people loose on the streets of Boulder. Yes, that happens, but in waves. Controlled chaos to a certain degree.
I was concerned about parking/transportation. Pocketsize suggeseted RTD. This is a race that she always does. I think she has done the last ten years of the Bolder Boulder. She is in a qualifying wave and enjoys the Bolder Boulder. She prefers the RTD bus. And, as she pointed out, I could do it from the Colorado Park and Ride station. Easy, accesible, convenient.
A group of my co-workers were also signed up. They were carpooling to Boulder and asked me if I wanted to join them. I told Brett, their ring leader, that I needed to confer with the Goddess before I committed to the car pool. I liked the option of it, but knew that Lindsay and I would be running the race, together, in the same wave. It made sense to drive/bus/whatever with her. Ironically, Brett hurt his foot and opted out of the race. Last I knew, he was still driving the kids to the race. He told me that he would drive them up in a supportive role. Funny, when I ran into them, today, he had backed out. They took the RTD, waited an hour and a half to get to the race and missed their wave.
Lindsay told me that her boyfriend would drive us up to the event. And, that he and his brother had also signed up for the race. It would be a family outing, for them, and Lindsay's parents were running, too. I was looking forward to meeting Jon's brother, Bud, and considered the RTD option, but didn't want to be separated from Lindsay. I wasn't bringing my cell phone and 50,000 people is a lot of people. If Jon wanted to drive, I wanted to be in that car.
I woke up at 5, stretched, showered, and headed up to Arvada. I met them at 7. I had drank a bunch of water and G2 (my savior). Approaching Boulder, it was congested. Many people decided to drive. We drove under a bridge, full of people, waiting for the RTD. At that point, I was happy to be in the car and not standing in line, waiting for the bus.
Jon and Bud dropped us off near the start line. We walked the remainder. I stopped at a porta potty. Thankful for the t.p. still there, but unhappy with the fecal factor. Somehow, it was awful pre-race. Potty finished and walked to start line.
I kept thinking I would see outlandish costumes. Most people were decked out in typical running fashion. I saw Horsetooth 1/2 shirts, Colfax Marathon shirts, Bolder Boulder shirts, etc. Nothing out of place...until, the start of my wave. I look up and see 4 people dressed in gold. Gold cape, gold shoes, shirts and then, one lady wearing short (uber-short) sequinned gold shorts. All I could see was the chafe factor. I did not envy this lady at all. I saw her quitting the race to stop the rub factor. What an idiot! I mean, really--didn't you try on your costume before race day? Kudos to her if she did complete the 6 miles. Realistically, it was doubtful. Small sequins rub.
The race began.
Easy pace. Lots of conversation and distraction. I saw several belly dancers, an Elvis performer, Blues Brothers Band, multiple bad singers, a couple great house bands, marshmellow mile, doritos and loads of bacon. I didn't get any of the bacon, but next year, is a new year. I am so eating bacon at next year's Bolder Boulder.
All in all, we finished and I felt good about it. It was easy. We could have challenged ourselves, but I would have missed out on all of the people. Half of the fun is watching the spectator's interaction with the runners. Lindsay kept telling me about the shots and slip and slides. We didn't see any slip and slide. However, we did watch two men dive, headfirst, into a baby pool. Jealous, but not too much to do it myself. I didn't want to run the final miles with wet shoes.
We met up with her family and watched the elite runners race. What a show! The women were first and they rocked the race. The men had a later start. The Ethiopian team finished together. They held hands and ran the last 1/2 mile as a unit. Pretty freaking amazing.
I understand why it is the biggest 10k race. Boulder is beautiful and the race was fun. I see myself running it next year....

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Few thoughts....

Happy Sunday~
I am off to work, but wanted to reflect on a few things before I embrace the day. I love Glee. I love the station on Pandora. Yes, I am a dork, when it comes to music and my little desires. I really, truly enjoy this show. Several times I have tried to get my musical sister to like the show. She doesn't. To this day, I do not understand it. I feel it is a well done show with musical numbers intermixed within the story lines. If you haven't seen it, do. Jane Lynch is hysterical! Recently they dedicated an episode to Lady Gage which was well done. The homage to Madonna was fantastic! It made me nostalfic for my childhood, listening to some of Madonna's earlier songs.
Running on a Sunday morning is awesome. Normally, I am too tired to start the day off in this fashion. Today, I made myself get out of bed, stretch, and go. I feel great now. There is something about an early morning run that is inspiring.
Massage. I want to get back on the once a month schedule. I support body maintenance. Running has created a few more kinks that need to be addressed. I have found a male therapist that I enjoy. He runs and so he knows exactly what to do, for me. He also gives me epsom salt to use when I leave. Plus, I know from seeing him, that I need to pay more attention to post-run stretching. My hamstrings try to compete with eachother, as to which can create more distress, for me while running. Massage helps break up the tightness and myofascial build-up. My legs have been wrecked the last few sessions. Yes, stretching is a necessary evil.
Coffee. I need to get more or convince the Goddess to give me more. She works for Allegro and has supplied me with their lovely coffee several times in the past year.
Work. I have a great job--flexible, lucrative, interesting. I am approaching a landmark anniversary for me, in my mind. Somehow, it is only important to me. I suppose that is how it goes. However, I feel it is a testament to how great these guys are to work for. A simple, thank you or yes, we appreciate you, would suffice and help my moral. Eight years is a long time, right?
Friends. That goes without saying. I am blessed in this department. And, I am grateful for the eclecticness of my social group. Tomorrow, I think I will be able to shower and use the steam room at the Colorado Athletic Club due to the generosity of a friend of mine. And, I am fairly certain I can extend that offer to my running partner and Pocketsize. Post Bolder Boulder, I will be clean instead of grimy post-race.
Enjoy your day however you see fit to spend it! Enjoy the Sunday~~~

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Happy Memorial Weekend

Happy Memorial Day weekend!
Myself. I am consumed with work, the prospect of upcoming travel, running, eating healthier (trying to although not too successful), art festivals and avoiding spiders.
I want to start with the spider thing. As some of you know, while I was traveling abroad, I crossed paths with a spider that turned into a 5 month issue since I am anti-Western Doctor. Yes, I am stubborn and stupid in that regard.
Instead of going to a doctor, immediately, upon my return to the States, I kept wishing this problem away. I won't go into details. Let me just say....for 5-6 months, I had a difficult time sitting down. I feared spiders prior to this path crossing incident, but now have the ultimate respect for what they are able to do.
My friend, Sara Jo, is an x-ray technician. She told me of a client that was insistent on having his foot x-rayed since he believed a spider had laid eggs in his foot. They complied, found nothing, but still, this guy believes there is something in his foot where the spider bite him. He has had his foot re-opened several times to look into it.
As idiotic as that sounds, I do understand his desire to have his foot looked at. I had a staph infection that kept popping up. I think he should calm down with re-opening his wound since that can create infection, too. Not to mention, pain and more time to heal.
Then, the other night, I was remaking my bed, with clean sheets, and a spider stared at me near my bed. I couldn't get it to leave and so I slept on my couch until 4 a.m. when I woke up, cramped, and couldn't figure out why I was on the couch.
Today, I made lunch (somewhat successful with healthy food alternates....I suppose, really, I feel successful when I make my own lunch instead of getting take out) and as I approached the oven to check on my sandwich I see a spider dangling in front of me. Calmly, I back up and look at where it is hanging from. I open the fridge and see that it is connected to that door, too. I opt to wait it out and write about it.
I do respect spiders. They are, in the animal totem, supposed to inspire creativity and writing. Plus, according to Dr. Bryn, they bring money to you. And, all of the other uses they have--eating unwanted insects, etc. Still, I do not like seeing them--dangling from my ceiling, or hanging out near my bed. I know. I have an irrational fear. However, I still have flashbacks to the bite, the infection, recovery, etc.
I considered going to the art festival, downtown, this weekend. I have no idea what they are offering, but thought about it. So, if you are in downtown Denver, check it out and let me know how fantastic it is.
I think I am too relaxed. I had some body work done and while there, the therapist, popped my back. I love when that happens. A nap seems so inviting, pre-work, and I believe it will be order. As long as the spider stays in the kitchen, that is.
Regarding travel, my friend, Jan, from Phoenix is finally visiting me! Yea! I cannot believe it. I always go to her. This time, she will be here and I need some ideas of day trips from Denver. I am thinking Manitou Springs, Estes Park, Aspen or somewhere west. I will have to get a car. Jan is used to air conditioning 24/7 since she is a native of Phoenix. I know she will not be happy with my natural car or apartment, for that matter.
I am running the Bolder Boulder on Monday with the Goddess. It will be my first and maybe, only, time doing this. I don't know. It is an extremely popular event and I prefer the smaller, capped races, I am finding. Better shirts, less people to weave through or trying to get to the race amongst 50,000 others. Pocketsize is also doing the race, but she is a qualifying wave and determined to have a good race. I doubt that I will see her, unfortunately. Me, I think I might be overwhelmed by all of the sights, people and distractions. We shall see.
Regardless, I plan on enjoying this weekend. I hope you do, too.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Happy Birthday, musical "sister"

Because of my name, I sometimes get the random--"Do you have a sister named, Melody?"
Or, some other lame attempt to make light of my name.
In an earlier post, I mentioned, the two situations on the same night, where my name was questioned. Annoyed, I wrote about it.
Still, I get more comments about my supposed sister, named Melody, than any other insight regarding my name. Remember, one guy, thought that Harmony was the one you could eat. Immediately, I corrected the hominy reference. Verbatim, I told him that I was not named after corn. And, no, in no way did I find any humor in him suggesting that.
When I met Melody, in Santa Fe, she was my massage therapist. I had arranged for a massage at the hotel that I was staying at. For some reason, I was upgraded to a hot tub session since my massage was going to get bumped to a later time. I met her, Melody, but wasn't paying attention to her name. I was in post hot tub bliss--super relaxed and wanting to fully enjoy massage. She asked me my name.
I mumbled, " music?"
Her response--"I get that, too, sometimes."
Since I hadn't listened to her name, it seemed nonsensical that she, too, would get the same musical implication. Still blissful, I didn't comment on it. I didn't even question that reference.
An hour and a half later, I emerged from the massage. I thanked my therapist for the lovely experience and finally, inquired about her name.
She goes--Melody.
I heard it. I understood the music reference.
I told her it was a pleasure to meet her, asked for her card, and made my way back to the hotel.
Months later, I returned to Santa Fe with Sara Jo. Intent on receiving another massage, I called Melody and arranged a massage. From this point, we have always been friends. Each time I visit the city, I manage to dine with Melody.
Today, I want to wish her a happy birthday. I wish that I was with her to celebrate, but know that we will do that in Denver. She will be doing a continuing education workship in June. Celebrate than. Toast her now.
It is fun to introduce her to others, and myself, in Santa Fe. Of course, people question the coincidence of our friendship based solely on our names. Now, I can say that I have a sister named Melody.....

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Bottle Shock

Great flick. Right up my alley. I mean, how can wine, Napa, France not be attractive? Plus, Alan Rickman stars in it. As well as Bill Pullman and Freddie Garcia--I think that is his name. He starred on Ugly Betty, as one her suitors, too. He was Gio, the sandwich shop owner. He revisited her in London. He stuck out to me, since he inspired her, to pursue her goals and not settle for what was easy or convenient.
Bottle Shock--really, highly enjoyable movie.
It takes place in the 76, in Calistoga. A man is struggling to protect his dream of making fantastic wine. Broke, but with a vision and a loan, he continues to move forward. His son doesn't understand the complexities of the money struggle, but he is passionate about the wine. Plus, he is young and wants to impress the ladies. This is post-Woodstock, hippieish and California. A little loose on the flow, but still entertaining, I would recommend this movie.
Probably, I am nostalgic about Napa and about wine. Actually, I remember being in Napa/Sonoma in 2006, with my friend, Jenn Shaw. We dined at the French Laundry and toured wine country. Driving around the square in Sonoma, we saw Alan Rickman filming a movie. In hindsight, I believe, this was the movie. Of course, I was driving by and we didn't stop to watch the action. I do not like to interrupt genius. Or, in reality, while in wine country, I want to enjoy the wine. Everything else--food, filming, stars--takes a back seat to my need to drink wine. I prefer red at most junctures.
Yes, it was a great flick and ideal for tonight. I wanted to enjoy my night with a light, fun, entertaining film. I liked Sideways, too. I think that film was more about male commaderie and the hate for merlot. This one, inspires. Inspires a goal, a dream, family, travel to wine country and wine, itself. If you haven't checked it out, do. It is a fun, summer film.

Random Wednesday

I love roasted vegetables.
Really, I do.
In an attempt to be domestic and stay in, rather than dine out, I utilized my refrigerator this evening. I had purchased an orange and yellow pepper, tomatoes, and asparagus on Monday while in the Highlands. I stopped by my aunt's house for coffee, a walk around Sloan's Lake, dinner and wine at Kat's. My friend, Kat, relocated from Phoenix. Fortunately, I have been able to meet her for lunch on a couple different occasions. She suggested wine at her house Monday. I complied since I knew that I would be in the area. I could see Bryn, shop at Sunflower and conclude with wine at Kat's house. Her house is a gem, by the way....very cute. I wish that I wanted to live in that area. Instead, I am definitely more of a metro Denver kid.
Nevertheless, I had vegetables from my shopping venture at Sunflower. Plus, berries and pineapple. I love summer fruit.
I worked, today, but wanted to have a night to myself. I needed to write letters, organize my life and watch the movie, Bottle Shock. I am determined to do things that I have been avoiding--i.e....the dentist, obgyn, hair cut. Yesterday, I had my hair cut by a stylist recommended by my childhood friend, Jenny Minard. Jenny and I both live in Denver and in the last year, we have arranged to meet every two months for happy hour. We set the date/place/time before concluding our night. So far, it has been awesome and we have stuck to the schedule. Solera, Squeaky Bean, Trios Enoteca have dazzled us. Next up is Root Down.
Anyways, Jenny is someone that I trust when it comes to stylists. I have difficulty finding one that I like. My last girl, lived in Phoenix and I would fly there to get my hair done while drinking margaritas with Jan, Tom, Kat and others. I enjoy this; but, I needed someone local.
I drove to Wheat Ridge and met Meaghan at Altitidues Salon. A spitfire. Talented, non-stop talker, pure entertainment and fun. She is going to Africa in a few months to hike Kilimanjaro. She runs 1/2 Marathons. She is flipping a house in the Highlands area. I learned all of this sitting in her chair. I had a haircut. It wasn't hard or difficult or long. Maybe 35 minutes. She likes to talk.
While I sat there, I listened in amazement at her ventures. I mean, she is bad-ass. She decides she wants to do something and does it. I admire that.
I realized that there is more, for me, to explore, challenge, organize, do. Hence, the list of servies that I need to have done--obgyn, dentist, continuing hair cuts. And, travel.
Cooking at home.
Eating more vegetables.
Drinking wine. Only because I really, really, really love it.
I thought about joining the runner's edge of the Rockies. I do want to train for another marathon. I want to just more than finish. I want a time-oriented goal.
I am so off track, right now. I am watching Bottle Shock. Great movie about wine. I made wheat pasta with roasted tomatoes, peppers, garlic and asparagus. The garlic and peppers were dynamite. Tomatoes could have used more flavor and the asparaus, I over roasted. Trial and error. One day, it will be more natural, I hope. I think I relied to much on Brian to take care of me and my hunger needs in the kitchen. He knew exactly how to season, prepare, enjoy.
Yes, today was random. Work, dreams of travel and getting things organized and achieved. I feel good. I feel great in my life, right now. I want to be bad-ass, too......

Monday, May 24, 2010

Trying to use bulk items instead of single size portions----Change the World Wednesday....

Uninspired to blog, but wanting to do something, I have been semi-participating in the Change the World Wednesday challenges. Reduce Footprints continues, weekly, to ask us to reduce our individual carbon footprints in unique ways. There has been paper, water, commuting inspired challenges.
This past week, they posted a challenge about single serving packaging....try to omit these from your diet/shopping for a week.
Meaning, do not purchase single serve yogurt, fruit, etc. Basically, buy in bulk and create your own meals. Cut out the supposed convenience of single serve portions to further cut back on waste.
I understand why these portion sizes work. For me, it is all about convenience, when it comes to food. I eat at work, daily, since it is quick, convenient and efficient. I don't have to worry about cleaning up, packaging or prepping. I order what I want and it arrives.
Plus, I like the food at the Bull and I have worked there, forever, and so if I want bacon and eggs, at night, they will make it for me. I am lazy. It is easier, for me, to rely on our kitchen to provide my meal.
Or, I choose to dine out. Again, limiting my need for groceries and or bulk items. When I do shop, I tend to purchase items that I can use immediately. I do not buy in bulk since I rarely use all of the item.
However, in the last few weeks, I have made more of an effort to make my own meals. I want to be more healthy. I do enjoy the food, at work, but it is limited. We do not have a large supply of fruit or even salad toppings. I can only eat so many tortillas and avocados.
Saying that, I have been more creative with bringing my food to work. I suppose, it is because, there is a trend of employees, doing that, lately. It is summer and fresh vegetables and fruits dominate.
In an effort to utilize my groceries, I have been buying in bulk. It is somewhat frustrating trying to use all of the greens in the packages. However, I do have some help, from Sara Jo--my neighbor/friend for life. I foist all of my unused greens or avocados onto her. I think we both benefit from the arrangement. I am able to incorporate more options into my diet and she has more access to said options.
My solution is to have Sara use my produce and freeze the rest. I am trying to make it work or think outside of the box. The other day, I made a spinach and strawberry smoothie. I realize how delightful smoothies can be and how wonderful it was to use the strawberries that I froze instead of buying frozen strawberries. And, I had ample spinach from the bulk container.
I hope you find this challenging and useful. I know that I have.....Good luck on reducing the single serve portion size!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Day 1 of Santa Fe

Monday morning, I woke up, late, and lethargic. Normally, I prefer driving, early, anywhere, that I am heading. This trip, I woke up at 7 a.m. I made coffee, ate pineapple cottage cheese--skipped the breakfast burrito (which I really wanted)--packed, loaded my car and was on 1-25 south by 9:15. In traveling terms, it was a late start. But, the rush hour traffic extends from 6-9ish in Denver, and I wanted to bypass as much of the stop and go traffic as I could. I was still stuck in some of it, but it wasn't terrible.
Monday was an ideal day to drive. I headed past Colorado Springs, Pueblo, and finally, the found the open road. Little traffic, blue skies and the ability to enjoy it, all. I considered detouring at Walsenberg and heading to Taos. Really, I did. But, then, I thought about the pool/hot tub at my hotel and that won. I continued on 1-25 and arrived at 2:30ish.
Always craving chile and missing the breakfast burrito fixation, I tried the fare at the hotel. They had a chicken/chile quesadilla. I enjoyed the pico de gallo and the chiles were great. I am not a fan of dark chicken. It is a texture thing. I picked around the dark meat and ate some of the quesadilla. I had dinner plans with Melody and needed a snack.
The Hotel Santa Fe was a nice hotwire find. Parking, internet, clean and immediate service justified the 4 star rating/price. I would stay there, again. The food was okay. They had complimentary coffee located on the 2nd and 3rd floor, from 7-10 a.m., which I felt, was another perk in their service.
Anyways, I checked into my upgraded suite and made my way to the pool. Small, but not many people were making use of it. I loved the hot tub. I utilized that amenity on two days of my stay. Bravo for the hot tub!
I checked in with Melody regarding dinner. She had mentioned the Compound or El Farol. Honestly, we have dined, a lot, in Santa Fe. It was a Monday which further limited our options. I thought about returning to Coyote Cafe or Geronimo. I love both of those spots and know they consistently deliver an excellent meal/experience.
However, I did want to explore. I had been to the Compound for lunch and knew it was solid. I wasn't inspired though. El Farol is a tapas/live music venue. Very fun, I want to say, but I was in the mood for high end.
I read an article in National Geographic about how to spend 48 hours in Santa Fe. The author mentioned Max's. Supposedly, the chef, Brian Rood, is going to be the next big thing in Santa Fe. Intrigued, I wanted to go there. Or, Restaurant Martin. Martin's place wasn't open on Monday and so we opted for Max's.
According to another article on the place--provided by the hotel's restaurant listings, kudos to them for another resource--the place was busy and a reservation was necessary.
I called and set one up, for 7:15. Melody and I decided to meet at the restaurant. We walk up and enter the small space. Cute, eclectic and hip.
The menu was small. They utilized their ingredients in appetizers and entrees. I liked that fact, but it limited some of our choices. We started with a root vegetable salad. Crisp, colorful, light. The perfect way to start the experience.
For entrees, we shared scallops and shrimp and grits. The scallops were accompanied by oyster mushrooms and served on thinly sliced potatoes. The mushrooms were amazing. The scallops were cooked well and huge. I liked the shrimp, too.
Overall, the food was dynamite. I kept hoping for other diners to enter the restaurant. They didn't. We had our servers undivided attention. We bored him--I think, and I was disappointed in his service. They offer 1/2 off bottles of wine on Mondays. I chose a bottle that was off and I knew it, immediately, but I thought I could suffer through it. The bottle wasn't corked. It was, as I like to call it--Rainbow Brite. There is a chemical imbalance and I wish I could describe it better. The lack of character or why it is unappealing to me.
Midway through the appetizers, I mention that, yes, I am really not enjoying my wine choice. I asked the server to try it. He did. He wasn't a sommelier and did not claim to know wine. However, he didn't think anything was wrong with it.
The entrees arrived and I asked for a bottle of malbec. Much better and more suitable for our meal. I was happy and the other bottle remained on the table. I told him that we wouldn't drink it since it was off.
Anyways, we conclude the meal with coffee and dessert. I get the bill and he charged me, for everything. I felt that I had made it, abundantly clear, that the wine wasn't good. Granted, I told him that I would pay for it. I feel that in this situation, I would have adjusted the tab in a different way....maybe get the dessert. He didn't. I was surprised. Especially, since we were the only table in the entire restaurant, for the night.
I would return. I enjoyed the food. Sometimes, people do not wine or how to please. Yes, I am fine with paying for the wine. I ordered it and said it was okay. I know, from experience, that I should go with my gut instinct. Upon trying it, I knew that I didn't like it. I need to find a better way to explain Rainbow Brite to others....This isn't the first time with it, either. I had a bottle of Prisoner, with Tiffany, Ben and Alison that also displayed the Rainbow Brite Quality. Walking away from that dining experience, I asked a sommelier friend of mine how to get out of the situation. He advised me to be honest with not liking the selection and know that they establishment can always get a credit for the bottle. I don't know. There must a solution.
Day one ended with a small walk back to the hotel and the promise of an early morning run, followed by a massage. Road trip, so far, was a success....

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Horseman's Haven

Typically, when I travel, I enjoy dining where the locals eat. Yes, I do try some high end places, but I enjoy dining at mom and pop locations over chains, any day of the week.
I was determined to find green chile while in Santa Fe. New Mexico, in general, is a green chile mecca. I wanted to find the ultimate chile and/or breakfast burrito since I love burritos, too.
In the Santa Fe welcome guide, they had listed Tomasito's, Tia Sofia's, Horseman's Haven and The Shed. I had been to Tomasito's and was not that impressed. Jan and I dined there when we explored the city, back in 2005. Apparently, most tourists enjoy the fare there, and so the bed and breakfast hostess sent us there, based on other tourist's likes. Afterwards, she mentioned that she never ate there since it wasn't her thing. I told her that she should always be honest with food suggestions.
I have been to the Shed, several times, and it is okay. Again, it isn't what I would seek out. I have tried the guacamole and blue corn enchiladas. I don't remember seeing much chile offered. I am sure that they have it, though, since it is a food destination for most people while in Santa Fe.
Tia Sofia's was fine when I went on a different visit. Family owned/operated with a homey feel. It is located in the Plaza which is ideal for my walk factor. Ironically, the owner of Tia Sofia's and I use the same massage therapist. Somehow, I manage to snag the massage before his on each visit to Santa Fe. He is a nice man and he takes care of himself by getting regular massages.
Nevertheless, I received my body work on Tuesday and decided to scratch my chile itch. From Melody's house, she directed me to Horseman's Haven. I had a map of Santa Fe. I had the address. I figured I would be able to find it.
I drove north of Cerrillos Road and tried to find the establishment. I was post-massage and so I needed to urinate and replenish. Basically, I needed to release the toxins. I was in a hurry and impatient. Noting that, I had difficulty locating the restaurant. There are not many addresses marked along Cerrillos Road. And, I really had no idea what the building looked like. I only knew that it had amazing chile according to the guide, locals and yes, Melody also enjoyed the chile. She said to steer clear of the chicken since she thought she might have gotten sick from that on a previous visit.
Eventually, I am able to find the Horseman's Haven. I did a few drive-by's on Cerrillos before I was able to find it. It is right next to a gas station. Convenient since I was planning a road trip to Georgia O'Keefe country after lunch. Anyways, I parked and entered the building. Diner style and full of hungry people. I sit at the bar, peruse the menu, and have a hard time choosing what sounds right. Of course, there wasn't just a bowl of green chile. They had burritos, breakfast, posole, etc. I chose the breakfast burrito--eggs, bacon, tortilla, smothered with green chiles and cheese. The burrito was accompanied by breakfast potatoes and they were perfect! I lapped up the potatoes with the chile and was in heaven. The green chile, itself, was spicy, very spicy. I couldn't stay away from it, though. I inhaled water, trying to calm the heat. Service at the counter was fine. I could tell it was a local favorite since there didn't appear to be too many tourists.
Super cheap, filling lunch was provided by the Horseman's Haven. I believe that it will be a destination stop for future visits to Santa Fe. I know where to find it, now. It is a drive from the Plaza. I am sure that a bus goes by it. I had some time restrictions and I planned a trip to Abiquiui. My car was welcome and necessary.
That chile satisfied!

Monday, May 17, 2010


The race went well. Thankfully.
I woke up at 7. Not much sleep, at all, but really, who can sleep prior to a race? I showered, checked the bus route for the thousandth time to make sure that I had the correct time, grabbed my i.d. for post drink cocktails, water bottle (to hold said i.d., keys, $$) and headed to the Denver Aquarium.
My bus stopped shorter than I had thought and so I walked the final distance to the relay start. I walked against the runners and felt somewhat foolish since most of them were marathoners who were entering their final stretch. I remember the last few miles and how it seems like they are never ending.
Anyways, I arrived and waited, and waited and waited. I got their early since I was afraid that I would miss the hand-off.
Sara came flying in, looking for me, and I shouted her name. We high-fived and I was off. I ran up 17th, past the Thin Man---considered stopping there for a drink or a cookie, but continued to the entrance of City Park. At this point, I had little over a mile left, but I was ready for it to be over. I kept thinking--when does this park end? Where is the finish? The mind can play tricks.
Everything said and done, our team finished in 4:28:17...not too bad, considering Luz had run 22 miles the previous day. And, Sara is a novice runner.
She loved it and I think I have convinced her to sign up for the Idaho Springs-Georgetown 1/2 too.
I am preoccupied with dinner plans. I will reflect more on this later. I am so thankful that I signed up for it and did it. It was my first 5 mile run in a race atmosphere. Prior to this race, I was more 1/2-Full marathon oriented. Now, I see the need for speed....

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Pre-Colfax Relay...

Good Morning!
I am off to run the final leg of the Colfax Marathon. I am excited, nervous, and a little sleep deprived. I think this is normal. The idea of sleeping late, missing my bus stop--yes, trying to be green and taking public transport to the Aquarium instead of driving, or timing it poorly, have made me wide awake and unable to relax.
I am excited to be part of this. I am concerned about one of my teammates. She ran 22 miles, yesterday, which is amazing. She has a marathon in 3 weeks and so this is her taper.
However, she is running, again, today, and of course, is the longest leg of our relay. I hope she feels good and is able to make it through this challenge. I don't know how she is doing it.
Well, I need to get to my bus and work out some nerves.
Good luck to my teammates and a special shout out to Sara Jo....she is competing in her first, ever, running event. I am very proud of her......

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Trying to pay it forward....

Recently, one of my bar regulars told me that his daughter was going to Australia for three weeks. I was excited for her since I believe in travel. I believe there is education in seeing another land, culture, language. In this case, they speak English, but with a definite accent. And say things like---How you going? or Let's give it a go! Both phrases annoy me to no end. It is screechy and how does "how you going?" make any sort of sense?
Anyways, Mike had asked me if I would talk to his daughter. He knew that I had traveled and wanted someone to ease her fears--I think--or at least have a better handle on what to expect. The trip, itself, was paid for. He was curious about debit cards, exchange rates, how much money to take, etc...basically, the financial end.
His daughter had other questions. Namely, baggage. Unfortunately, I don't know her name. I only know her as Mike's daughter. She is a teenager and is a brunette. She babysits. Outside of that, I don't know anything about her.
Regardless, I was happy to meet with her. I told him that I would meet them Wednesday at 3:15. I knew that if they came into the Bull while I was scheduled to work, I would be distracted. So, I arranged to arrive early and talk to her. I wanted to help.
I unpacked my backpack. I had stuffed it with items that I traveled with and some other random crap that I needed to find a place for. Touching my pack reminded me of the months I spent abroad. I found that I was excited to talk about traveling with someone that was new to it.
I kept my pack towel, money belt, lock and a small journal in it. I located my day pack and was set to go. I bought a coffee and headed into the work at the arranged time.
I waited. And waited. And waited.
They never came. I don't know if the weather was an issue. It snowed yesterday, in May. It wasn't awful, though. It was cold, rainy and dreary.
Then, I thought, maybe, he forgot about our meeting. Either way, they never showed. I wasn't able to explain the beauty of travel, of packing light or keeping a journal. I think having a journal is fantastic and necessary. I had mine, amongst all of my books when I began my journey. Soon, I realized that carrying all of the travel guides was heavy and foolish. The journal remained with me.
I really wanted to help her out. I wanted to point out that it is better to travel light since she will be responsible for carrying her stuff around. Or, that technology requires more chargers, technological inserts and crap to carry. You don't need it. Focus on what you see, imagine, taste, smell, feel. Technology cannot replace your senses. Hence the beauty of having the journal. A way to record the senses of a particular trip or time period in your life.
Paying it forward....hmmm....another opportunity will arise....I suppose.....

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

couch like weather

Snow in Denver. In May. Mind boggling.
It isn't that much snow in the metro area; however, it snowed, today, and inspires on the couch weather.
I had lunch plans with a friend. We had talked about it for a few weeks, but our schedules did not mesh. I ran into him, last week, and we chose Wednesday to meet for lunch.
Last night, I felt the need to back out of the lunch and instead go a different day. I wasn't feeling charming. I don't know how else to explain it. I felt like being alone and was trying to come up with a reason as to why I needed to back out.
The weather sounded lame. My aunt needing me created a situation where she might really need me. Headache...well, you get the picture. Any white lie that I used as an excuse could potentially come back and bite me in the ass. You know, while I am at work, I could develop a ridiculous headache. Car issues are never fun or invited in my life and so I knew that I wouldn't go that route with my back-out plan.
I asked Sara how she would back out of the prearranged lunch, without telling the truth....that I didn't feel charming or like going to lunch. She said--just go. Have fun. When I explained my lack of interest in going to lunch, she understood. There are times when I prefer being alone.
While I pondered the way to do it, I realized that I should mix a half-truth. I wanted to go on a different day, where I felt better, and have the time to enjoy lunch. I didn't want to feel rushed. And, that was the truth. Lunch today would be rushed. I work at 4 and have an appointment at 3. I am offering advice to a young girl traveling to Australia.
We finish our workout, enjoy the sauna and shower. I check my phone and my lunch date had called. I knew that he had canceled and I was relieved. I wouldn't have to do it, myself. I had also been considering which would be less lame--a text or a call. I thought about texting since I didn't want to interrupt his meetings. But, a text feels so an afterthought. That was not my intention. When we agreed to lunch, I was excited. Today, just wasn't that day.
Instead, I made lunch. For once, I felt domestic and wanted to use some of the tomatoes I had purchased. I made a spinach, onion and tomato omelette. I hope to keep on track with this new side of domesticity.
Of course, we will go to lunch on a more inviting day, for me. Something about this weather makes me feel blah......

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


I woke up, Monday morning, a touch hungover and determined to not drink Monday--at all.
The previous day, Sara Jo and I celebrated in our own way on Mother's Day. We chose to go to Solera, eat calamari, drink wine and talk to Maghan, Charlie and Bob--the newest addition to their bartending staff.
I have been a supporter of Solera, for years. Meaning, they know me well and know that my one glass of wine really equates to several. My intention of having one glass of wine and then returning to the hood was good; but, of course, didn't happen the way I planned. Instead, Sara Jo and I closed the place down and returned to Capitol Hill.
So, I wake up Monday with the intention of spending Monday night in. I wanted to recuperate and have a lazy night on the couch watching 24. Yes, I am a fan of that series. I like Kiefer Sutherland--always have.
Anyways, I went into work and at one o'clock, the Solera guys show up to sample some of our other beers. Recently, they decided to put our beer on tap and wanted to see what other options we could provide.
I walk over, hug Charlie and Maghan, and hope to sneak out of there without breaking my plans of night on the couch.
Well, Maghan asked me to go to the Rockies game and I agreed. I know. Not very difficult to break my resolve. It's just that I enjoy going to the games and I knew that Tiffany and Erik were going, too. It would be a fun outing and so I agreed to go to the game with Maghan.
We meet Tiffany, Anne, Mark and Erik at the Falling Rock. We had a quick chimay and then headed to Coors Field. Our tickets were in the Pavillions. Initially, I believed we would be closer to the Bull & Bush seats. Walking through the stadium, I realized I had made an error. The seats were still good and not in the Rockpile. We make our way to the seats and I see that we are sitting in front of a family of four. The couple had two boys--one probably 10 and other was 3 or 4. The younger boy, was adorable and had beautiful blue eyes. Maghan tried to talk to the kid, but he clammed up. The dad laughed it off and we turned our attention back to the game. Every now and then, we would turn to see what the kid was doing and if he had loosened up yet. He hadn't. Maghan asked what the kid liked to eat and the dad said--dipping dots.
Maghan goes up to the main area of vendors and returns with cotton candy. The dipping dots vendor was far away, according to Maghan. And really, what kid doesn't like cotton candy?
The parents accept graciously, hand it to the kid and they say thank you.
That was all.
The kid never had to say anything.
He ate the candy and they continued to laugh at how shy the boy was.
I thought Maghan's gesture was very nice. I was surprised that they accepted the cotton candy seeing that we were complete strangers and then disappointed that they didn't make their kid say thank you. What is this world coming to? What happened to manners?
Oh, and while we are sitting/watching the game, two people interrupt us to get to their place on the bench. I kick my beer since it was on the ground and they don't even acknowledge that it had happened. Also frustrating to me. I would have at least said, sorry.
We left the game since it was cold. True to form, I was underdressed. I did have a vest, but it wasn't enough. Plus, with the family of no manners and the couple that also displayed similar lack of class, we chose to return to the Falling Rock and enjoy a beverage there.
Overall, the night was a success and fun. I was in bed, early too, so it wasn't a complete fail of accomplishing time on the couch.
I wish the Rockies had won. I was able to watch Jason Giambi play first base which I enjoyed. Rockies games always provide entertainment...

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


Yesterday was the day of me defending my parent's choice for naming me, Harmony. My name is unusual, not crazy atypical, but unusual.
For example, last night, I was serving and these two men sit on the patio. They complained of the sticky table which was annoying since I had just wiped it down. The outdoor tables always seem to be sticky. It is the finishing agent an so I hear this complaint frequently.
They are in the process of addressing this problem---one table at a time. However, from the start of my interaction with these two men, I was annoyed. They seemed nitpicky.
And, they were only drinking water. I prefer drinkers when I am serving. It is less refill action for me.
Regardless, I return to the table to take their order. The older gentleman asked me my name.
My response, "Harmony".
He looks at me and says, "Alright, Harmony, we are not quite ready."
I make another round of my station and eventually return to the sticky table men. Instead of ordering, the guy says, "Is Harmony really your name? Or is it your made up server name?"
I look at him, in disbelief, and go, "Yea, it's my made up server name....actually, my parents were hippies..."
This begged the question--how old are your parents?
I tell him. He was surprised and his companion said--oh, you are the same age. At this point, I am praying that I will be able to walk away from the table soon. I mean, come on, really--made up server name? I have been asked if it is my stripper/stage name and given the same look of irritation to the person asking. My name is not that odd. Unusual, not Daiqueri, yes, that's right, Daiqueri. One of my co-workers works with a girl, named, Daiqueri. That would be difficult. All of the stupid comments about how this girl received her name. You know...your name was inspired after your mom was drinking that drink. Lovely and annoying.
The water men left, finally, after asking if I wanted to talk more with them. Honestly, after they made my fun of my name, I had no interest in any conversation with them outside of basic server speak--dessert? coffee? How is your meal?
Afterwards, this couple came in that I have waited on a few times. They have two daughters that also frequent the Bull. Eventually, the guy asks--what is your name again? I tell him.
They are eating, drinking wine and enjoying themselves. I clear their plates and the guy says--Isn't Harmony what you can eat?
I go, "No, that is hominy. My name is Harmony. You know, like music?"
Idiot! I wasn't named after corn.
I don't know why I was so annoyed or why it happened twice, last night. Normally, it is a rare occasion where someone questions my name or my parent's decision to name me as such. They had insight, I guess, or so I would like to believe. I do not meet many other Harmony's in my travels.
I recounted the story to Sara Jo, this morning, while in the dry sauna. Her question to me was--do you think Melody's have this issue with their name? I don't. I think it is more normal to meet a girl named Melody. I could be wrong though.
It was a random night.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Heading southwest to my other home

When I think of home, I see Santa Fe.
Always have. Even as a teenager, I felt, at home, in Santa Fe. I went on a class trip in middle school and a month later, my dad took us on our annual vacation. I was the tour guide, that time, and showed my sisters Bandelier National Monument Park, river rafting and Santa Fe.
Although, I haven't rafted, since, I have been to Bandelier a few times and somehow manage a trip to Santa Fe, twice, annually. This year, it seems that I will be fortunate, enough, to visit more often. I went in January and February. I hope to run the Chips and Salsa 1/2 in Albuquerque in September, too. I will find a way to stay in Santa Fe, that trip, too. I am not a fan of Albuquerque, but the Goddess and I, both, love Chips and Salsa. What a great sponsor for a 1/2 Marathon!
So, Santa Fe is my destination for May.
I had considered a trip to Portland. I really did. But, it isn't a good time for Jade or Michaela. I know it would be stressful for them. I could have flown to Portland and spent 3 days there, independent of them, but it seemed like a waste of a trip. If I am that close to them, I should at least make an effort to see them and my niece and nephews. Another time.
Seattle was out. I went there in February.
San Francisco, well, I will be there in August and October. I wanted to go elsewhere. But, dreams of San Francisco kept occurring. I do love wine country and tht city. No car is necessary. People are everywhere and the food factor; well, I would be overwhelmed with options.
Las Vegas has many, food, food and theatre. But, it didn't feel right, to me.
I thought about Boise, Idaho. I could rent a car and drive to Stanley, Idaho, which was recommended by a friend of mine. I respect Cotten's opinion and travel sense. He supported my trip to Europe in 2001 and was the only one that could talk me out of going. Foolishly, I thought I would be fine in Greece, a week after 9/11. He told me to wait and all of my other friends and family were relieved that someone, somehow, managed to talk me into staying stateside.
Customers suggested Vancouver or San Diego. I had three days to fill and preferred a road trip. I could have flown to San Diego and headed north. And, I enjoy California. But, for whatever reason, I kept seeing Santa Fe. I had visions of it and finally, last night, knew that I needed to go to my other "home".
I booked my hotel today and hope to meet up with Melody for supper. I think I might drive through Taos on the way down and stop at Old Blinking Light for lunch or there is a cute, local bar, in the plaza that has great margaritas. I cannot remember the name of that particular establishment, but I remember enjoying how comfortable it was. There were several regulars/townies at the place. They must know something, right?
Either way, if I drive through Taos or head straight to Santa Fe, I am looking forward to my upcoming road trip. I want to go to Madrid, New Mexico, too. It is an artist commune, south of Santa Fe. Road trips are liberating and I need one.
Enjoy today, however you choose. I chose to plan travel and another adventure. It continues to keep me centered....