Wednesday, June 29, 2011

sunset from last night--inspiring

sand, sand, everywhere....

I love Tuesday nights. Solely, for volleyball. Inspiring.
Last night was a little different. The turnout was smaller. I arrived and knew only one guy well enough to joke around with. Miles is the one that decided to name me Sara. It took, and last night, several people greeted me with--Hey, Sara. I think I prefer my Mexican nickname--Destiny. I acquired that nickname on a flight from Denver. Over the course of the flight, the guy next to me, told me his life story and inquired about my life. Short flight, but long enough to have a personal history laid out. When I walked away from the guy, he said--Destiny, it was a pleasure to meet you.
I couldn't believe it. How was it possible that this guy would forget my name after telling me all of these personal stories? I retold this to my friends in Mexico and from that point on, I was introduced as Harmony from the States and Destiny while she is visiting Mexico. Definitely a better nickname, for me, than Sara.
Anyways, I was on a team with two guys to start. One had a vicious serve and the other was a capable player. My serves were consistent and I managed to dig out serves and field that back court well. My net play struggled all night. Each time I had the opportunity to spike, suddenly, I would overthink my move and screw it up. It sucked. The one guy with the awesome jump serve was also a great setter. He consistenly tried to make a play work with me. Drats! It wasn't sticking. A few more people showed up and we recruited the lack of personality guy. Great serve but otherwise, no contribution. Seriously. This guy would not attempt a play unless the play was hit directly to him. Frustrating! And, he has no personality whatsoever. I think I have seen him smile once over the course of three Tuesdays. Talk about intense.
Throughout the night, Miles kept making comments to me. Light hearted and he made me laugh. We opted to redraw cards to change up the dynamics. Three people left which left us with eleven people and one volleyball. At this point, two more people decided to leave since playing with five, per side, is too cumbersome. Had we had anothe volleyball to play with, well, we could have split up more.
We played one more match and it was okay. Overall, the night was lame, really. I did manage to protect my knees and restrict excessive bleeding. That is something. A few people met for beers afterwards. I opted to return to the west valley. A porter sounded delightful and so I stopped at a market in route to the casa. Of course, they did not have any dark beers outside of Guinness which did not sound appealing. I settled for a belgian wit.
I woke up this morning and found sand in my bed which wasn't too surprising since I did play volleyball last night. I brushed my hair and surprise--more sand. I didn't think I dove that much, last night. Apparently, I did. My hair is full of sand. Just another friendly reminder of volleyball. The sand factor. I look forward to next week and hope that the turnout is greater. It was a mediocre outing at best.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

shout outs to---

Woke up this morning intending to go for a run. Lingering, in bed, I journaled for about ten minutes. I am trying to unleash creativity in my life. At some point, I read a book that suggested journaling, first thing, daily, three pages. Even if it was the same sentence, over and over and over, it was the effort of releasing it that was important. I realize that I self censor frequently. I need to let go of some of my limitations.
Journaling delayed the run. Possibly postponing it all together. Excited. Not lying. I can be lazy, unmotivated and negative about running. Today, definitely could have been postponed until I looked outside and realized that it was over cast. Perfection. I had to go. There was no way out. Rarely, are there days this ideal, in terms of the running conditions here. I stretched, grabbed my visor/sunglasses and headed out. Oh, and I have upgraded my visor. My beloved one is in a drawer, resting. I think I finally washed it after running numerous 1/2's and two marathons. I was afraid that I would jinx my performance if I washed the visor. I know, it sounds crazy. It made sense to me.
Currently, I am sporting a visor advertising my friend's bar in Mexico. I am still working out the kinks and adding salt to it to make it look overused. My old visor is ideal for running. I want this one to be my new go-to visor.
Anyways, I take off and it is fantastic. I feel wonderful and I am not overheating. I listen to the Rolling Stones and consider what day it is. Yesterday, I finally sent a card off to my friend, Jenny. I have known Jenny since she was ten years old. She was my neighbor and best friend for the remainder of grade school, the beginning of middle school and recently, we reconnnected in Denver. High school separated us. My parents divorced and we relocated to the north side of town. Still, we attended the same high school. We just had different interests. I had to work. She didn't. Our memories of high school differ greatly.
Regardless, she is my friend and will continue to be. We reconnected in Denver and had started to meet every two months for happy hour. Until, things changed for both of us. I miss those happy hours. I sent her a card to wish her happy birthday and catch up. I hope we are able to catch up over food and soon.
Back to the running aspect...I have another friend who, also, is celebrating a birthday today. Brett, one of my favorite Canadians. Brett and I participated in a running group in Denver and celebrated in Vegas. I ran the full and he tackled the 1/2. Awesome memory. I wish each of them a lovely day. I am sure that Brett will celebrate to the fullest. I don't know if he will go running, per se, but a few vodka sodas are in order. I know that they had a spontaneous celebratory dinner on Sunday.
I began celebrating by running and will conclude today by playing volleyball. Love the new routine on Tuesday. I considered taking a day off to heal the scab factor on my knees. Both knees are displaying lovely little strawberries of the last two Tuesdays. Someone suggested knee pads, but that doesn't look tough. That looks soft. I try not to dive, but that isn't truly playing in my book. I am finding that I really enjoy volleyball. My only regret is not finding teams to play the last 8 summers. I have missed out.
Happy Birthday to Brett and Jenny. Celebrate, enjoy and be happy!

Sunday, June 26, 2011


Shari and her niece, Hannah, are in New York City. Color me green with envy. What a place. Vibrant city, foodie friendly and more. I am so jealous of their adventure. I love the Big Apple. My one and only visit was a year ago. I must return. That trip focused on the food factor. I adored that but recognize that there is so much more to explore. The theatre, more of Central Park, food, bars, people watching. I saw a glimpse of its greatness and I found someone to accompany me. Ironically, my initial thought was to explore on my own and then I ran into Manraj who happened to be living there during the week. He resided between Denver and New York. Since he was relatively new to the city, he was up for my suggestions of food. We checked out Motorino and L'Occanda Verde. Both were excellent. We had wine at a kosher wine bar near Time Square, too. I had a blast. It was nice to have someone to explore with, too. I tried many fantastic items as a result of running into Muni.
Shari's niece, Hannah, is fourteen. I am, also, jealous of her. I wish one of my aunt's had offered to take me on a vacation when I was fourteen. Seriously--what an opportunity. There are so many things to see and to view them as a teenager is amazing. They arrived today amongst a huge parade celebrating the recent marriage change. A parade of grandness that closed down parts of the city. Shari mentioned that they were unable to cross 5th Avenue. I can only imagine some of what they saw. The attire or lack of attire must have been amusing and eye opening for Hannah.
I contacted my friend, Mark, that is extremely user friendly not only as a guide, but also as a restaurant resource. He knows some incredible places. I told Shari that she must try to see him and meet him in person. Mark is great people. He is extremely busy but found time to follow up with both me and Shari. Impressive. Inspired to find time to return to New York myself. A show would in order this time around. Or possibly a 1/2 Marathon would be appealing. Then there is the food factor. Don't even get me started. I could spend a week, solid, just finding places to dine. I would have to return to some of the places I checked out last time--Motorino, Daniel and Colicchio & Sons. Superb dining all of them. And, recently, I borrowed a recipe from a blog that was inspired after dining at Motorino. I would definitely have to return there. I think I would want to check out some of the food stands, too. I am hungry just considering a trip to NYC.
I know that whatever Shari and Hannah decide to do that it will be a great adventure. A once in a lifetime trip. New York has that awe factor. Magical, it seems.
They did sample Motorino tonight. They both enjoyed the meal according to my voicemail. I will have to find out what they tried. Afterwards, they walked back to their hotel and stopped to enjoy ice cream. Gotta love summer and the ice cream factor.
Instead of ice cream, I chose mint tea and dark chocolate. Delightful way to conclude a productive day. Happy Sunday!

Sunday dinner

I had forgotten that I had been posting about my creations on Sunday night's. Sunday night seemed to be the one night where my friends and I would enjoy a relaxing, chill day, and conclude with a home-cooked meal. Easter was the first attempt and since then, we have invited others to join us. I enjoy the practice of it. Although, sometimes, I have been lazy and relied on Tom to grill so that I can enjoy one more glass of wine at my favorite wine bar. I am finding that to be counterproductive. I should cook. Grilling is great but we tend to eat the same fare. I like to challenge my skills.
Anyways, last week, I skipped since I had a friend in town and we were on the other side of town. His friends were interested in entertaining us which was an excellent change of pace for me. His friend, Mark, was a little heavy handed on the mai-tai's. Yes, he actually made stronger drinks that I do. It was crazy. We had carne asada tacos and guacamole. Yummy!
Today, a friend of mine texted me and asked what I was making for dinner tonight. My initial response was stirfry. I have been on a vegetable kick and trying to find ways to spice up the routine. Stirfry seemed like a nice change.
However, tonight, I stopped by the local farmer's market and purchased spaghetti. I had onions, garlic and grape tomatoes. Inspired to carmelize onions and create a different dish. Carmelizing onions still sort of eludes me. My first attempt was years ago in the house I shared with Sara. I invited some of my co-workers over. I cannot remember the occasion. Only, that it took forever and without much success. I remember Brie commenting on my attempt. Funny.
This time I cooked the onions over a medium heat and added balsamic after they were translucent. I didn't want to overcook the onions. I watched closely and it was better. It improved and next time will be even more successful. I added garlic. When I put the pasta in the water, I tossed the tomatoes into the mix.
Flavorful and delicious. Plus, I have leftovers for tomorrow. Life is grand. I enjoy cooking and showcasing my skills even if it is a work in progress. Grateful for the reminder text. Next week, well, it is a holiday. I have friends in town or am considering a return to the beach. If that occurs, it is likely, that I will not be making dinner. Enjoy your night~

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Different approach to practice

New yoga concept--direct two different practices in one classroom. Success.

Here is how it happened. I had told Vanessa that it was highly likely that I would be missing the next class as I believed a mexico trip was in the works. I e-mail Vanessa about things I like/dislike and how I would like to see my practice evolve. This works for me. I enjoy having an open line of communication with my instructor. It gives me a sense of trust that in other studios I have not been able to build.

Anyways, since she thought I would be absent from the practice she altered her plans for the class. My trip to Mexico fell thru and I decided to head to yoga. I didn't e-mail Vanessa. I was on the fence with whether or not I wanted to go. In many ways, I knew that I would benefit from attending due to the super tight hamstrings. On the other hand, the studio is far and I was uninterested in the nidra class. If I was going to attend the class, I wanted it to be worth my time. I prefer the flow series. Since I had told Vanessa that I would be unable to attend (maybe) I was uncertan if she would be teaching nidra or flow.

I arrived, late. Tuesday night I had difficulty sleeping. Anxiety, stiffness, constant thinking. I took a siesta, woke up frantic and considered my options. Did I have enough time to make it to yoga? Should I try to do my own flow practice at home?

Then, I thought, just go. See how long it takes.

I arrived three minutes late. I walked in and there was the one lady that likes restorative yoga and the instructor. I unrolled my mat and joined the practice. Do a few breathing exercises and Vanessa stops, looks at me and says, "Harmony, I know you prefer the asana flow. I will direct you thru a flow series and Sheryl, I will have you focus on restorative yoga."

She told me to begin the sun series and turned her attention to Sheryl. While they focused on multiple hip openers, I went through four sun cycles and waited for more direction. She led me through a warrior two flow with the side angle, triangle and 1/2 moon being incorporated into the flow. All, in all, I think she was able to balance her duties through the different tasks. Eventually, we recombined the practices and I ended up finishing with restorative series. I think if we do this in the future, I would suggest continuing with balance instead of rejoining the restorative. It reminds me too much of hot yoga. Staying in a pose for too long. I prefer the movement and breathing that continues due to the flow series.

The other woman, Sheryl, is friendly. She misses the point of yoga, though. She focuses entirely too much on why she is uncomfortable in the poses. If she focused on her breathing, she would find enjoyment in the practice. Vanessa tries to be accomodating to this woman and aid her in the practice. It isn't taking yet. Sheryl is uncomfortable with yoga. I wish she would trust in the practice so that we could try more flow series.

Until then, I hope that Vanessa will conduct the class in this way. I thoroughly enjoyed the class.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Sleep eluded me last night. I couldn't get out of my head about expectations and being sore from volleyball. That didn't go away when I woke up either. I believe yoga will help ease some of the stiffness associated with playing volleyball last night. Wow, am I sore! Must remember to stretch in the future, pre-match, and afterwards, too. Or, invest in a massage. Wouldn't that be nice?
I found some revive gel and applied it to my knees and feet. After showering the sand away, I found a few abrasions on my feet, too. The sand is not my friend. The revive gel was part of a goodie bag from one of the events I did last year. Thankful that I kept it for a rainy day. The gel worked like lavendar would I think.
My quads are both tight. I am trying to figure out where I developed this stiffness in both of my legs. Last week I ran which is normal and attended yoga class. I did some strength training, at home, which I suppose is where it happened. I stretched before and after the activity, but apparently not enough. For sure, I have soreness in quads. There is a tendon that feels super tight. I almost skipped volleyball, last night, due to this. I had spoken to my sister who is on a kickball league. At her first game, she didn't stretch and sustained an injury. The sprint to first base screwed with her hamstring. Hamstring injuries are no picnic. It seems like they can hang around for awhile from what I remember. In high school, I did the splits without adequate stretching. Next thing I know, I am couch surfing with ice praying for relief. I favored my right leg for awhile after injury.
After talking to my sister and remembering how uncomfortable I was when I strained my hamstring, I made sure to stretch long and hard. The last thing I wanted to do was sustain a tendon issue 7 weeks before my next half marathon. Especially when this is all in my control. I can stretch and I understand how important this activity is.
Yoga could be challenging tonight. I am not, at all, looking forward to the camel pose or any of the sitting on the knees stretches. Two weeks ago we focused on the controlled breathing exercises. Perhaps that will be the focus of tonight. There are two women in the class that I think would prefer that as opposed to the flow type of class. They are both new to yoga and out of stretching shape. The one lady feels the need to comment on her difficulty at most poses which is semi-annoying to me. I tend to block it out and work on my own practice. I find myself biting my tongue, sometimes, to stop myself from saying anything negative to her. I think it is excellent that she is trying to be healthy. I support that. I do not want to suggest otherwise. Plus, the instructor goes out of her way to keep me interested even if it is apparent that our levels of comfort greatly differ.
The best way to combat this stiffness is to get moving. Definitely time to greet the day and stop bellyaching about a good hurt. Volleyball is fantastic! I am glad that I decided to try it out again. A little discomfort is worth all of the joy associated with the activity. It is fun and connect friendly.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

volleyball and being called.....

I arrive for volleyball and there is a game in process. Thankfully, there is another guy that arrived late and so I had someone to talk to. Sal is from New York and friendly. Immediately calm and at ease.
The game breaks up and a few more people arrive. We draw cards and split off into teams. The first game I played on a team with four guys. Moderately balanced I thought. Two guys definitely were quite capable players. The other two had some strengths, but more weaknesses. The set up was the two strong guys next to each other, then me, and the other two. I suggested after a loss that we change up our rotation. I wanted to maximize our strengths and minimize our weaknesses. This guy, Ben, agreed with me. I think he could see what I was thinking. The second game with this group was better, but still our chemistry was off. One of the guys had absolutely no personality. Way too intense and he wasn't that great. I think he trains for tri-athlons. Obviously fit and had a decent serve, but nothing to contribute in terms of team work or help. He wouldn't dig the ball out of the back court.
As we are playing, I dive and reopen my wounds. Lovely. Gushing blood. Looked a lot worse than it was and drew many comments of concern. I said it was all for show.
We redraw cards and again, I am on Ben's team. I liked this since I knew he was a great player. I look at the third person and it is a girl. Crap. Estrogen team second week in a row. Still, we battled and eventually, picked up another player. Some guy that normally plays soccer offered to join us. It was nice to have an extra player and he helped a little. But he hurt us too. He would jump in front of me which would screw up the play. And, he didn't just do this to me. He was a ball hog in general.
We improved somewhat. Finally, I found my overhand serve. Yea! Grateful for that. Muscle memory rejoice.
At one point during the matches, one of the guys looks at me and says--you need a nickname. I think Harmony is your nickname and we should call you something else....hey, I got it....Sara.
I am like, what?
How ironic. I know many Sara's too. Several of my close girl friends are named Sara. I thought it was hilarious.
We ended when the lights went out. We were at match point. Perfect. I liked playing and remembered that I had some skills and a solid foundation to build on. Well, and more scars to contend with.
I look forward to playing again and hopefully finding a good fit on a team. Chemistry/trust is important. As the night progressed, definitely my teammates were more comfortable with me. Success and fun, too, even if they tried to give me a new name. At least it was a pleasant name and not something negative. Like I said, I have many Sara's in my life...Sara Jo, Pocketsize, etc....

Thinking about the training process

Running. Must increase this activity. I have a 1/2 Marathon in seven weeks. De ja vu. It is something about 2011 where my training is lacking. The first 1/2--I think I referred to it as the worst showing ever--also, had similar training issues. Uninspired to run and unmotivated to push the performance. Instead I relied on muscle memory and hoped the Goddess would run at my pace. Thankfully, we had similar ideas about how to approach the Horsetooth Half. Neither of us were perky in that race. Somehow we managed to entertain each other with lack of training stories while running the race. Post race, we were tired, but not too sore. That bloody mary was divine.
In August, we have the Georgetown 1/2 that I am truly looking forward to. This will be my 3rd consecutive year of running it, too. It is a beautiful course and nostalgic as it was my first 1/2 Marathon. I remember the last 500 yds and being able to sprint. Afterwards, I wondered where that came from. It came out of nowhere and I loved sprinting towards the finish. Momentum and the crowd inspired this--I believe.
Last year, I ran the race, solo, and committed to improving my time. Determined to run the race without stopping. At mile 8, I had to tie my shoe and took a brief walk break. When I crossed the line I was surprised that I finished a minute after my first race. How could this happen? I ran the course and hills. There was only one stop break and it was brief.
The first year, I struggled. I hated it. I was new to running and I convinced myself that I should stop. Lindsay stayed with me and encouraged me to keep going. I have no idea how I did not improve my time the second go around. Some days are better than others is what I chalk it up too. After the second race, I felt more confident as a runner. I let go of my expectations and focused on improving my overall performance.
This year, I want to have fun inspite of my lack of training. I intend to have a better showing than the first 1/2 of 2011. And, I want to sign up for one or two more. I haven't completely opted out of a full marathon this year either. I still have time to decide. I feel that joining a running group would assist me in this process. I must do it. It will motivate me to actually train. Last year while training for the marathon in Las Vegas, I ran the Healdsburg 1/2 in October. Not my best time, but I felt fantastic after the event. In great condition and healthy. I suppose that is what I am striving for. I know that I am capable of the training, and that, I benefit from the experience. Half marathons can be fun and a bonding experience. I will find a group to run with and I will be motivated to improve the time.

Friday, June 17, 2011


I overslept. Not really. I woke up at 7:30. For me, that is oversleeping.
Lately, it seems that I wake up at 6 am sharp. Every day. With or without wine involved, it seems. The sun shines and I am up. Startled, sometimes, sure. I wake up and contemplate my daily run.
Today, it was out of the question. I missed the window of opportunity.
I wanted to be active and so I did a strength training routine--push ups, sit ups, squats, lunges--intermixed with jump rope and jumping jacks. I considered doing sprints, too, but decided against it. Instead, I incorporated yoga and finished with meditation. Brilliant move. I felt at ease, peaceful, calm, centered and alive. Present, 100%, and available to whatever happens today. I am grateful that I opted to meditate instead of beating myself up for missing the run.
I reflected on my thoughts as I walked to the mailbox. I had read a post about communication and feeling more adept to communicate via text, e-mail or blogging, and unable to make sense in the speaking medium. I don't know if I struggle with that realm, the personal conversations department, as I have ample opportunities to strike up conversations with people. Yes, I do get caught up with texting, e-mailing, blogging, at times, but know that these mediums do not take place of an honest to goodness heartfelt face to face conversation.
This past week I have networked with old friends and put myself in situations to meet new people. I love it. I am so thankful for the people that I am meeting. I feel renewed/rejuvenated almost.
Or, I feel it is imperative to send cards, notes, letters to friends as a way to keep in touch, too. Last week, for instance, I had two opportunities to express sympathy. Not that I relish that occasion--I don't. Grief is horrible. I wouldn't wish this emotion on my worst enemy. It robs you of time, of life, of love and moving forward.
I found their individual addresses and expressed my condolensces. Each circumstance was unique and I know that my voice was different due to that and how I knew the person I sent the card too. I texted my one friend to tell her I was sorry and followed through with something I feel is more appropriate and meaningful.
I am surprised at the amount of people that post on facebook about grief. For me, it is entirely too personal to have out there. I do believe a phone call, card or visit, is the way to express sympathy. Yes, it takes effort and requires time. Posting on a wall seems impersonal. This is how I feel about it. But, I have experience with it and I remember how difficult it was to talk to people as time went on. This is one area that we do not discuss in our society it seems. I remember being given multiple casseroles to ease the pain. I wasn't hungry. Thankfully, my guests enjoyed the nourishment. Regardless, it felt that I was supposed to move on, immediately, from the grief the next day. I couldn't. I was overwhelmed with emotion and grief.
I am scattered today. Probably due to the meditation and everything that appears possible now. I am inspired and feel peace.
Who knew how powerful meditation could be? I should do it daily.....

Thursday, June 16, 2011


The other day I got my hair cut. I had been to this girl, before, and knew that she was skilled. I had confidence in her abilities. I contacted her about arranging an appointment, got directions to her house and proceeded to enjoy the service.
All, in all, it took about forty minutes for the wash, cut, dry. She asked if I wanted to leave my hair curly. Never. I hate accentuating the natural curl factor. I prefer my hair straightened.
I couldn't remember exactly what she charged and when she said, $50, I was a little taken aback. Mostly, since she was working out of her house. I drove there and everything went directly to her. Plus, I tipped, too. Of course, I did. It is a service and I enjoyed it.
I called Jan and mentioned that I was uncertain about if I felt she was worth her rate. As I was trying to explain it, my phone broke up and the conversation ended. When we reconnected, I had already reconsidered my thoughts on the matter. This woman knew her worth and should charge $50. I am happy with the cut and in the future if I do not want to pay that amount, I have the option of finding a new stylist. That opens an entirely different set of problems and possibilities. I am finicky when it comes to my hair. I will stick with Jill and her rate. I trust her and that is what is important to me. And, again, she knows her worth.
Ironically, I was given the opportunity to assess my worth two days later. There was a wedding in Mexico and they needed a bartender. They contacted my friends who thought of me and gave me the woman's contact information. I e-mailed her after trying to figure out what I should charge for my services. I didn't know how long the event was which was an issue for me. Working five hours for x amount of dollars is different than working ten hours. I figured the reception would be around six hours. I factored in the set up/take down of event and the reception itself. I am confident that I would be able to provide an excellent experience with little assistance from the wedding party.
My friends said, just charge $100. That would barely cover the cost of gas. Of course the beach is enticing, but for once, logic prevailed. I am not going to put myself in a position to sell myself for free. Especially for people that I do not know or have any association with.
I sought out the opinions of others in the service industry that I value. They all suggested that my time was money and so that I should consider that before deciding on a rate.
I composed an e-mail detailing my experience with caterings and the service industry. I told her what my rate would be and that if it was agreeable to please let me know so that I could make arrangements to drive down. I mentioned attire and closed with looking forward to meeting her and being part of the celebration.
I waited to hear back. Eventually, I had errands to run and a yoga class. Later, my friend called me and said, yea, I don't think she is going to hire you. She called Derek and asked about someone that would be more affordable.
Keep in mind...the wedding is Saturday. She waited until Tuesday to figure out a bartender for the reception. She e-mailed my friends hoping they would lend her one of their employees for cheap. I don't know anyone that would sacrifice guaranteed money to work a wedding party or any event for that matter for less than what they typically earn on a Saturday night. She was hoping to not have to value this service in the financial sense.
Ultimately, you get what you pay for. I am disappointed that it didn't happen, but, realistically, this woman does not sound like someone that I would want to work for. She re-involved my friends after I had contacted her directly. They didn't want to be the go-between which is why they gave me her information. That, alone, is lame and unprofessional.
I value myself and my abilities. The lesson of the hair cut came back to slap me in the face, really. Of course, Jill has worth which is what I grasped onto myself. Unwilling to settle for the $100 to make someone get off easy. Yes, you do get what you pay for.....

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


I meant to update this last night but got preoccupied with other things. I have some friends in town, others out of town and opportunities to network.
I accomplished the networking aspect by going to play volleyball. I always loved volleyball and at one point, was better than decent. I could set, overhand serve (with power) and spike. Because I am tall, naturally, people assumed that I would excel at volleyball. I did, for a while in high school. Then, I sustained an injury and became concerned with saving money for college. Sports would have to remain hobbies.
As I have aged, I have lost some of my natural abilities.
Serving. Definitely underhand it. Although, I feel I could work on that and eventually find a power serve. I want to. I think I could deliver a mean serve.
Setting. Still got it and enjoy setting people up.
Spike. Somehow I am now flat footed. I don't know. That is my excuse for my lack of vertical ability.
Last night, I went with a friend and met several new people. Initially it was her and ,I and ten guys. We warmed up, and immediately, I dove to dig a ball out and scraped both of my knees. Nice. Right away, I draw attention to myself with the blood.
We drew cards and she and I found ourselves on the same team. I thought it was interesting and felt bad for our third player, as did he. He had watched us as we warmed up. Like I had been doing. Of course, I was sizing up the abilities of other people. I could tell that this guy wished he had not come or had drawn a different suit.
Then a few more came and each girl that arrived drew a heart and was placed on our team. What are the odds of that?
Still, it was fun and I wasn't worst player out there. I remember thinking, well, just play and have fun. You are capable of returning serves and so that is something, right?
I look forward to attending more Tuesday night volleyball sessions. A lot of the people are involved in the food and beverage industry. I recognized two of the guys from one of my favorite wine bars and know that one of them was trying to place how he knew me or why I was familiar.
Afterwards, I drove home and got a call about heading back to Rocky Point. Who says no to this? I could enjoy more beach time and work on my tan. Plus, they needed some help with a wedding, thought of me and wanted to know if I would be available. Why not?
Well, I have friends in town. I could stay and entertain them. Or, reflect on my current path. Or, let's be honest, head south to Mexico. The minute that presented itself, I knew, I was heading there.
My friend, Jon, called me today and said--Come on, Harm, just drive down now. I have a few days off and we can hang out.
However, I have commitments and I will remain true to them. Mexico will be there. My friends are heading back to Colorado on Sunday. I want to see them.
I am finding that I need to leave my comfort zone and that is where I am truly meeting people and creating connections that will benefit me. Volleyball is an excellent way to meet people and work out. I missed it.
Next week, 8 pm will beckon.
Tonight, I am preparing enchiladas from a delightful red chile sauce that I made on Sunday. I think it will be delicious and the perfect way to celebrate a Wednesday. My friend brought home this gigantic bag of chiles and purposely put them in my line of sight, tempting me, to not cook on Sunday. He knew that I would be unable to resist the urge to make a red chile sauce. So right.
Anyways, we shall see how the sauce is in a few hours. Yoga first. Dinner later.
I am finally embracing ways to create space for me in the present.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Making progress while dealing with a cold. Sounds great, right? I had a whole post about this and then my account malfunctioned. When I logged back in, I had two sentences to work with. Nice.
I am inspired to attempt to recreate my thoughts regarding the post, though.

Progress in terms of things that I want to accomplish. Body maintenance. I attended a work shop last Saturday about life balance and one of the components regarded body maintenance. I sat there and watched as people absorbed the information. Most of them seemed intrigued by this thought of body maintenance.
This is an area that I do not neglect in my life. No, I have always been an avid supporter of massage, yoga, pilates, acupuncture, etc. Possibly, I should pursue pilates again. Core strength, is essential, I am finding to be preventitive in health purposes. Yoga occupies my time, somewhat. I have found a studio and instructor that I enjoy. Last week, we practiced yoga nidra which was unique. Controlled relaxation, semi-meditative state, and little physical effort involved. I liked it, but prefer the physicality of yoga. I e-mailed the instructor that I would be interested in trying the nidra again if half the class would be devoted to the physical practice.
Yes, I feel it is imperative to tune up your body like you do your car. Maintenance is required for your car and most people, begrudgingly, will pay for oil changes. I follow the requirements for my car. Veronica is a great vehicle. I take care of her because I love my car. As such, I have always taken care of myself, too. I was introduced to massage in 98. One of my friends had a girl that he went to every two weeks while he lived in Tempe. When I moved into his rental, I found Laura's business card and decided to check out massage. Since then I have had many massages and always benefitted greatly from them. Stress release, healing injuries, feeling good about the present moment even. It is a wonderful service, I think.
Last week, I located a studio and scheduled a massage. I had arranged a beach massage in Rocky Point, but flaked on the appointment. I thought about the location and how exposed I would be receiving body work. The guy is honest and I am not concerned about his integrity. It's everyone else's integrity, or lack of, that would be sitting on the beach watching the massage.
I had massage on my brain and I finally scheduled one. The girl I saw was kind and had good pressure. I told her that I wanted to relax and if she found areas of concern to work them out. Her technique was more based in deep tissue. That day, I wanted more fluid movements and not so much emphasis on deep tissue. I will return to the studio and ask for Jen, again. She seemed genuinely interested in my well-being.
In other areas of maintenance, I finally, got a hair cut. It's only been a year. Yikes! Hello, split ends. I love braiding my hair but even that was becoming chore-like as I attempted to conceal my unruly hair. Now, I feel free and liberated. Why does this service (hair cut) enable such a fantastic feeling? Seriously. How many times have you heard someone say--I wanted change and so I cut my hair. Or I colored my hair and now I feel like a new person.
I don't know about new person, but I do feel pretty darn great. Lots of possibility, positivity and more progress in my life.
Yes, maintenance is essential and desireable in my life. I should seek out pilates and/or more yoga. It would be ideal.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

saturday night's meal

Roasted peppers=delicious!
I used red and green peppers. In the future, I think I would use an array of colors--orange and yellows, too. And, possibly, allow them to marinate overnight. The hour was lovely, but an entire day would be delightful. I can imagine how tasty they would be if able to marinate an entire 24 hours.
I roasted the peppers for an hour. Afterwards, they chilled with garlic, salt and red wine vinegar. While they were marinating, I made a salad and toasted bread. We were going to enjoy a simple summer meal without much effort on my part. I called it my idea of antipasta. We had fresh mozzarella, roasted peppers with capers, crostini and salad. Lovely.
Successful, too. I always have some anxiety when preparing food for these friends. They enjoy what they like and what they know. Some of my ideas--adding blueberries to salads--seem foreign to them and unlikely. Thankfully, they do try my creations even if there is a degree of hesitation.
Last night, they were, both, pleasantly surprised at how wonderful the roasted peppers were. I believe this will be a keeper. Perhaps even trying again next month. They were that good.
Although instead of drinking pinot noir, I will find a suitable sauvignon blanc or pinot gris. I was trying to avoid partaking in wine last night but opted to celebrate Shari's birthday in spirit. Wine became part of the meal. I used what was available. We seem to have ample pinot noir in stock. I am a fan of some but prefer bolder reds. I need to stock up so that I am happy with the selection.
Tonight, I think we are grilling. Sundays seem to inspire this activity. There is something about enjoying the outdoor patio and enjoying a few beverages while grilling. Well, I am out for that activity since my cold seems to linger. I am having difficulty kicking it. I inhaled olive of oregano, garlic cloves and tablets and orange juice. During the day I feel better. I had some idea that drinking wine would not be helpful to ridding myself of the cold. But, it was celebration. Wine seemed appropriate.
This morning illustrated my lack of judgment. Crusted eyes, itchy throat and phlegm. Yuck! Today I am going to hold firm with my desire to kick the cold and not enjoy a glass of wine with the meal.
I am thinking eggplant. I saw some yesterday while shopping for peppers. They were beautiful and I should have purchased them yesterday. Stunning color and healthy looking. Yes, eggplant is in the future.
I do enjoy incorporating more items into my cooking repetoire. Thankful for today and grateful for friends.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

June 11

Couple of things. First, I cannot believe that 2011 is half over. Where did the time go? Seriously, it's June. What happened to spring? I will roll with it and embrace the summer. Still, this year has flown by.
Happy birthday to two special ladies--Joan and Shari. Each have impacted my life in different ways. Joan for welcoming me into her family in such a loving way. I look forward to Thanksgiving just to spend time with her and Dr. Bryn's family. The oyster stuffing is awesome, too. I have been fortunate to spend several holidays with their family and enjoy the food, conversation and love.
Shari is Brian's mom. She will forever be part of my life and a travel companion, I am finding. We have explored Costa Rica, San Francisco, Seattle, Santa Fe and Belize. In 2013, we hope to go to Bali to have a spiritual journey to celebrate Brian's life. Plus, today, Shari is treating her friends and family to pots du creme and beer. Stellar way to celebrate and enjoy life. I considered heading to the midwest, was enticed by a beach adventure and opted to stat put and attend a workshop regarding balance. I have been trying to embrace a more spiritual type of life as of late. I suppose I could use some balance or reinvention even. Who doesn't have room to improve their lives?
I believe in like attracting like and feel this is a natural part of my current path. I met a lovely group of people and the main woman reminded me of my friend, Melody. Similar positive outlook on life and super enthusiastic about sharing her zest for life. Yes, this woman reminds me of Melody. Which inspires me to consider a trip to one of my favorites cities. Surely there are more restaurants to check out or I could surround myself with what is comfort to me. Someday, soon, I feel.
Tonight, I will make dinner, drink a glass of wine and toast these two wonderful women. Happy Birthday, Joan and Shari.
Dinner tonight is borrowed from Motorino via Smitten Kitchen. I enjoy this blog and have yet to be disappointed by any of their recipes. And, I went to Motorino with Manraj last April which was excellent in its own right. When I go back to the Big Apple, I am definitely returning to sample the fare.
Happy Saturday and Enjoy!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Continuing with the domesticity in my life, I chose to make dinner tonight. I knew we had ground turkey as my friend is trying the vegetarian lifestyle for now. I support her decision and it isn't typically that difficult, for me, to omit meat from meals.
As such, tonight, would be penne pasta tossed with a ground turkey based sauce. Last week while I was taking a break from domestic bliss, they made turkey burgers. My friend mentioned that the turkey was awful. She hated it.
I thought, maybe it wasn't seasoned properly. I could work with it.
However, I didn't know this until I had already prepared the mirepoix and added garlic, spices, tomatoes. The turkey was overpowering. It smelled bad. Yet, I thought, add more chili pepper or cayenne--anything to kill the stench.
Eventually, I gave up. Began again. I had plenty of onions, carrots and celery. I could make another base and add pasta sauce that they had stocked in the pantry. I think there were five options. I found one from 2004 and knew that I needed to make sure that I located the date on the label. Thankfully, the rest were fine.
Take two--create mirepoix and wait. Hope that this will suffice. This is the first meal that I have been disappointed in. Damn that ground turkey! I should have listened to my friend. She wasn't kidding. It really was terrible.
I almost don't want to tell her that I didn't believe her. However, I will be honest and admit that I thought I would be able to work with it. It was inferior for sure.
So, penne pasta with store bought sauce, doctored up to make more homemade appearing. Bread, wine and conversation!
Also, today is a lovely day. Some of my other dear friends are celebrating their bar being open for 14 years. Kudos to Steve, Chris and Alan on your continued success!


Everyday, I wake up and know that I should be journaling. First thing. However, I end up, brushing my teeth and already my mind is racing. My mind is screaming coffee and so I make my way to the kitchen, hoping, that my friend has already began that process. Sometimes, she has. Other times, not. Either way, the mandatory morning coffee takes precendence over everything else.
Again, I remember that I should be journaling. It helps tap into creativity which I can always utilize. Or, taking the censorship off of my blogging. I should free write but this rarely occurs. The unaccustomed initial thing in the morning would help me let go of some of my inhibitions. Tomorrow, maybe, I will get around to it. I will sleep with the journal next to my pillow, refuse the coffee and attempt three pages of nonsense. I wonder if I could actually accomplish this for a week.
I have a slight cold from my brief stint in Mexico. Typically, my immune system is in good shape. I am healthy, I drink tons of water and sleep a lot. When I returned to the States, I took a brief departure from my normal health regime. Less sleep, more wine and was unable to kick the cold. A massage helped bring everything to the surface and now I am waiting for it to leave. More olive of oregano, garlic and water. No wine for the time being. Sad. Very sad, but necessary.
Last night we had a smorgasborg of leftovers and salad. I feel so domestic and it reminds me of my childhood. My mom or dad would prepare a meal and we would gnaw on the leftovers until they were no more. I remember hating some of their creations and unhappy with this practice. They were relentless and unwilling to change their beliefs. Goulash would be our dinner for up to three nights and no, it didn't get better with age. I think my mom still does this. My sister, Jade, mentioned that her kids found this practice unfair, too. Last summer they spent five weeks with grandma and realized they were not fans of her meal plans.
Still, I have utilized some of this in my domestic bliss. Preparing a meal takes time. I am not interested in throwing out the leftovers after one sit down. Especially if it is awesome. My friends are on the fence with it. For instance, tonight, I am trying to incorporate ground turkey into a pasta dish. Last week, they grilled turkey burgers and my friend said the turkey was awful. In her mind, that is it. She didn't like it, she won't like it, why make something with it? I told her I would doctor it up and see. Her response, I will bring home take-out.
I do not doubt this. However, I am determined to give it a go. Why not? What is there to lose? One meal, perhaps, but I might as well try it out.
Tomorrow, I will begin, again, and hopefully, incorporate the first thing journaling into my routing. Also, hoping that my cold is kicked and that I can seek out wine again. I miss it~

Monday, June 6, 2011


Today is a new beginning. Mondays inspire me. To be productive, be active, reflect on my current situation.
I am blessed and am reminded of it daily. I just read a blog about gratitude and it made me remember to be thankful for my present moment. This morning, I called my friend that has an appointment where she will either be relieved or unhappy. The not knowing is troublesome. I called her to offer my support and remind her that she is loved. I told her to smile, take a deep breath and laugh. Find something to be positive about. I mentioned that I would treat her to dip duo in the near future. I want her to know that I am here to listen.
Another friend is beginning a new job today with her dad. He will groom her to be part of the company business and I am thrilled for her. She is such an asset and a ray of positivity. For years, she worked with a coffee production facility where I benefitted from free coffee. Yes, I miss that factor, but know that it is time for her to bloom in a different area of life. She was becoming stagnant in her previous position. She deserves upward mobility.
I walked to the library, called my sister, and spoke to a few other friends. Something about Monday motivates me to reach out to my people. I suppose making it a priority feels natural at the beginning of the week.
I thought about my friend who lost her daughter. All of the newness of what it means for her. Trying to be present for her other daughter but so stuck with what happened. Being unable to truly function. It reminded me to be thankful for all of the moments in my life. I have so much gratitude for where I am right now. How far I have come and where I am going. I am fortunate, for sure.
Next month, I have the opportunity to spend some time in Oregon, dogsitting, my running buddy, Pete. I am still coordinating the trip and hoping to spend an adequate amount of time with Jade and her family, too. Plus, the weather should finally be lovely. No jeans necessary.
Each day is a gift. Make use of it and enjoy!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

no judgments, please

Yesterday, I was catching up on my correspondence via e-mail, blog and facebook. I needed to organize my thoughts since I had a brief departure from the internet.
Something caught my eye about a former childhood friend experiencing a loss. I read through some of the well wishes trying to figure out how her daughter died. There were many people that commented on facebook about how sorry they were and how they could only imagine what she was going through. Based on my own experience with loss, I continued to read her wall, hoping to discover what happened. I knew that I would reach out to her, but not by posting something on her wall. That isn't me or my way. I feel that loss is very personal and I don't know how she is feeling. My loss was traumatic, awful, extreme, but it was mine. I cannot explain to anyone how it felt to lose the love of my life. Why should I try to suggest to her that I understand her loss?
I will reach out to her the old-fashioned way with a card. I messaged her and requested having her address. She complied. When I have gathered my thoughts, I will send her a card.
Nevertheless, as I was considering these things, I finally figured out what happened. Her daughter was in a horrific car accident. There were four girls in the car when it flipped and she was the only casualty. I saw the photos of the car and am amazed that anyone survived. It was awful. I read the article online and noticed that people had commented about what happened. I was disgusted by some of the comments--why were these girls out at 4 am? Where were the parents? How was excessive speed not a factor?
On and on it went. All I could think was--someone died and it is awful! Why are people judging the situation that really they have no part of? Plus, I am sure that these thoughts are rampant in this mother's head. She doesn't need to explain or justify to anyone why or why not her daughter was out at 4 am.
I remember people trying to console me when Brian died and saying stupid things about what happened. Believe me, I was consumed by what happened and angry and in no way did I feel it necessary to discuss what happened with people. I was sad and missed Brian.
In that regard, I do understand loss. Loss, any loss, is awful. It robs you of time, love, life. Commenting on the situation is mean and unnecessary. Time stops for you while everyone else's life continues. I think I lived in a parallel reality for two years.
I feel very strongly about this. There are some things that you will never know your reaction until you go through it yourself. Judgments should not be made.

Saturday night dinner

Domestic bliss. I returned and it was established that we would continue with the normal routine. I create meals based on their likes and my whims. Sometimes I wish I could be more creative, but it will happen.
Last night, I made salad and used some items that were about to expire. I had bell peppers, onions, celery, feta cheese, tomatoes, avocados and three different types of lettuce--bib, spinach and mixed greens. I pulled all of it out of the refrigerator and sorted through what would work. The mixed greens were done. I didn't even attempt to sort through that mess of green. The spinach would suffice.
The peppers, onions and celery were all in good shape. I found a different salad recipe and opted to make that specific dressing with some additions. It was balsamic, feta and orange. Sounded interesting. I decided to give it a go and not focus on whether or not my friends would like it. The avocados were unuseable as components of the salad. I looked for chips and opted to make guacamole with the ripe avocados and tomatoes. Perfect. We had limes and garlic which would add to the flavor of the guacamole. I figured if they didn't like the salad, at least, we would have guacamole. I knew that they enjoyed my guacamole.
I set the table, drank a glass of pinot grigio and told them that dinner was ready. I think we all had our reservations about the dressing. Thankfully, it was great. In the future, I believe a mix of oranges/tangerines would be preferable.
It was nice to be back and have a conversation around a table. While in Mexico, I offered to make dinner for my friends and they had little interest. I would have made enchiladas or something that could showcase my strengths. Next time. Maybe, I guess?
Yes, it is great to be back and be productive. I am ready to expand my culinary knowledge, too. I am ready to be inspired.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

back finally.......

I took a few days off. For whatever reason, I was experiencing difficulty logging into this account. Due to that fact, I stopped trying until last night.
A few people were concerned about my lack of updating, too. In all honesty, I didn't have my lap top with me and my friend's computer access was limited. I could use their computer but only if it didn't conflict with their needs. As such, I checked my e-mail and avoided the blog.
Regardless, I am back and need to update. Where to start? The run factor, beach, productivity, food or absence of wine? Yes, I was in a place without accessible wine. Rum beckoned. Actually, I opted to not drink for the majority of my stay. My friends were busy and that left me ample time to reflect, contemplate life and enjoy the beach. Wine could be revisited when I returned to a place that had a selection.
The food factor. I discovered a new eatery that was notable. I think it was combo taco or something. I tried a yellow pepper and enjoyed it. I think it could have been temperature warmer, but the selection of salsas, limes and onions were excellent. And, the tacos were gigantic. My dining companion convinced me to take the additional tortilla for all of the stuff. It was huge.
I tried to go to Padilla, on my own, found it and discovered it was closed. Seriously, disappointed. Thankfully, I had one more day and suggested going there with my friend, Jonny. He complied and I got my burrito fix. Love that place.
I dined at their restaurant or became domestic. I cooked for myself, a few times, as well. Sometimes it is necessary.
The beach. Well, it is amazing and I wish that I had had more time to wander. Tranquil, beautiful, and the water was perfect. For once, the temperature was ideal. I managed to completely use a tube of sunblock. I needed it. My one friend said, "Just get one bad burn and you will be fine."
That isn't really my thing. I burn enough as is. I prefer to protect my skin. I did spend three hours reading, swimming and hoping to not burn under the overcast sky. Of course, that didn't go as planned. I missed some spots on my back. Excellent.
I did go running a few times. Must work on the solo run factor. Next time, I will make more of an effort to do it. Commit to the goal. There is a 1/2 marathon upcoming and so, yes, I need to begin running again. The Goddess e-mailed me and mentioned that she hadn't been running as frequently as we normally go. That is something, but I want to improve on my overall performance. I want to do it for myself. I will go begin a training cycle tomorrow.
Truly, I had a wonderful opportunity to run. No drinking, great sleep and I should have went. Should have, could have, but didn't. Lame.
I reflected on life and have more to contemplate. Later. Need to return to being productive....