Ahhhh, Mexico. I have always had a soft spot for it. I lived in Guadalajara for a few months to learn spanish, eat fish tacos and figure out how to say cafe con leche para llevar (coffee with cream to go). My friend owns a bar in Rocky Point and he was kind enough to let me crash at his house for an indefinite amount of time. I show up with no itinerary outside of that I want to rejuvenate/reflect. Jonny, as always, enables me to explore and be. He showed me around town and foisted me on his roommate, Derek. Derek, at first, was hesitant to have me descend on their livelihood. Eventually, he came around and also became a tour guide. He was more aware of the local food factor while Jon showed me to the tourist places and drinking. Well, and golf. That was awesome. Derek knew of taco stands and listened when I said, I want a homemade tortilla. Between the two, I always had someone to hang out with.
My sisters, Michaela and Jade, also welcomed a few visits from me this year. One time was business. I dogsat for Michaela and brought Jan along. I though it was time for her to meet her "twin" Jean in Washington. That trip was fantastic. We flew out in July, went to the Oregon coast, took care of Michaela's whippet, Pete, and explored the Willamette Valley and spent some time with Jean in Washington. Absolutely delightful. We found bacon flavored vodka and drank ample amounts of wine. Jean always is prepared for visitors. We made steak and scallops. Afterwards, Jan responds, well, no offense, but we could have just went directly to her house and spent a week there. I know she enjoyed seeing my sisters but I think she had talked herself out of wanting to go to Jean's lake house since she didn't know Jean.
Outside of that trip, I did spend time with Michaela and Jade on a few different occasions. I have decided that 2012, they can visit me. It's been awhile since either girl has come to my hospitality and i maxed out my trips this year. Three times. This is probably the most time I have spent with Michaela and Jade in years. I must say that it was such a treat to see Jade's kids. Baseball games, bbqing, and taking Emery to find the moona. He is so sweet.
Food wise--the year started with a trip to Belize. Shari and I thoroughly enjoyed Habanero's in Ambergris Caye. I loved that we wanted a chocolate dessert (demanded it as it was on the menu) and so our second visit the chef brought us a cut up snicker's bar with chocolate syrup. That is love.
After Belize, I had a few home cooked meals in an RV. Aron was an accomodating host and made sure that I had my dose of daily coffee. Phoenix offered mexican food and daily wine specials. That is all I am saying. I could live off of salsa, guacamole and chips. Can you say los dos and bravo? I swear, that place has the best tortillas. In fact, I met Jan and Tom today for lunch to seek out the best bean burrito in Phoenix.
I did find time to return to Denver on several occasions. I made an effort to visit my favorite calamari spot, Rapture bar and of course, the Falling Rock. I adore Denver and it will always be home to me. I ran a few half marathons in Colorado, too. I wanted to try to be productive. I saw Sara Jo, the Goddess, Jenn K, Steve and Pocketsize and others. It reminded me of how great my life was there and how it will always welcome me. I must plan a trip and soon.
For my anniversary weekend (end of August), I went to Sedona. One of my other favorite spots. I found a suitable spot and shared a meal with one of my favorite friends. Lovely times, indeed. Next year, I will return to Sedona as I am that close. It is a mystical mecca and foodie hang out too. I would love to explore more.
I forgot to mention my brief stint in Santa Fe. Melody and her partner, Clayton, were amazing. I couch surfed while passing through between Denver and Phoenix. They took me to see a few spectacular sunsets and introduced me to a new spot in Santa Fe. I hope to treat Melody and Clayton to a meal in Phoenix or Santa Fe soon.
I did cook a lot and find that I am quite capable in the kitchen. I love making enchiladas and anything with avocado is always welcome in my kitchen. I almost destroyed my laptop making margaritas for Jan and Tom one night. Damn the avocado factor.
Like I previously mentioned, 2011 was different for me. It humbled, challenged and forced me to be compassionate and sympathetic, even. I know that I needed it and learned a lot while finding my path again. I feel that I have come full circle. I feel healthy and cannot wait for what 2012 brings. I know that I am ready.
Tomorrow, I work and toast the new year. Also, plan on going for a run. I lost sight of some of the things I hold hear. Running is definitely one of them. I must go manana.
2011 showed me that I can do anything. What did it show you? Or, better yet, what did you learn, improve, share? Congrats and enjoy the end of 2011....