Saturday, January 29, 2011

Images from canvas and cocktails class

I finally uploaded my photos from the last 30 days.

Here is what I found from the wonderful Canvas & Cocktails class. Plus, I was trying to keep my canvas hidden until Shari received it in Wisconsin. I wanted it to be a surprise. I knew that she would understand why it had to be hers after seeing it.

Painting/drinking mimosas with friends was a blast and I would love to attend another class. I believe I would prefer a different subject, though. Maybe martini glasses or something a little more bold than trees. Thankfully, they offer many classes dealing with a range of subject matter.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Celebration Sunday

Still celebrating inspite of the crappy weather.
I woke up today intending to hike Matthew Winters Park with my aunt. We decided this would be our Sunday activity. Yet, when I woke up and noticed the ground was covered, I called my aunt and asked for a rain check. I am 100% anti-snow. I despise driving in this unless I absolutely must. Today, I got a pass on driving in the bad weather. Thankfully.
Supposedly, tomorrow will be worse. I will go out of my way to avoid driving tomorrow, too.
I walked up to Herbs & Arts to peruse their shop. I love their anoited candles and felt that today would be the ideal day to have one made for me. I am celebrating 2011, travel, life, red wine, and possibility. I am on a new journey and I wanted a candle made it that honor. My favorite person at that shop was available, too. Maeve is amazing.
Afterwards, I headed back home.
This weather is depressing. I really do not enjoy the snow. I know. Why am I complaining? I live in Denver. It snows here, a lot. I just prefer the sunshine that occurs 300+ days of the year.
KU was triumphant--awesome. And it was on cbs which I have on my tv. The reception was clear as long as I didn't try to watch the Eagles game during the commerical breaks. I prefer college basketball to NFL any day of the week.
Moving forward, in an attempt to fully embrace celebrating, I decided to open a bottle of 2000 Silver Oak. I used one of my many wine openers and managed to break the cork. Stubborn little thing. It shattered.
I used to own a decanter. Have no idea where that is now. Instead, I poured a little to make sure that the wine was still presentable. Delicious! It is good to enjoy the present moment. I cannot tell you how many times I have waited too long to open a bottle of wine and it has went south. This bottle is amazing and perfect for this evening. I am glad that I decided to check it out!
Happy Sunday! Stay warm, cozy and thankful.

Friday funday

Celebrations are continuing. I am thankful for my life, my friends, and the restaurants in Denver.
I cleansed for one day. There were mitigating circumstances--celebration ensued. I tried, really. I have stuck to the less pork, chicken and red meat. It isn't a complete loss.
I met Jenn at Ototo for lunch on Friday. She seems to suggest restaurants on South Pearl St and since it is new to me, I am all for it. I tend to stick around the metro area that I can walk to. Trying to be green in 2011, remember?
Anyways, we met there and shared edamame and egg in a jar. The bartender suggested this dish to us. Basically, it is a poached egg in a mason jar with serrano ham and potatoes. Served with ciabatta and chopped onions and cilantro. Delightful, really. Ototo was a nice change, for me, and somewhere that I plan on returning to.
My decision to boycott Elway's was a bust, too. I spent most of Friday, drinking wine, and watching their regulars' entertain the staff and me. I recognized a few people from previous visits, said hello, and continued to enjoy the scenery.
Eventually, this red head approaches my friend, Jenn, with--see that guy across the bar....he thinks you are great and was wondering if you had a boyfriend.
Seriously. This guy had no game or balls. Send a female over to pick up someone for you. And, my friend has a boyfriend so that was a moot point. Yet, the guy continued to try to pick up every available woman in the bar. Unbelievable.
This situation spurred a conversation that I struck up with the guy next to me. He sat down and ordered a dirty absolute martini. About martini #2, we started talking about the guy without a game. It was fairly entertaining and he kept going on from woman to woman. This guy wouldn't stop.
The martini guy was a runner. Interested in his training plan, I stopped watching the regulars nonsense. Denny told me that he had run the Denver Marathon this past year and that he enjoyed the experience. I told him that I ran it in 2009 after training with Team in Training. He told me that he had trained with TNT for five seasons. Intrigued, I asked him why? I mean, my experience had been unfulfilling. I found it too oriented with fundraising and that I suffered as a runner as a result. I was trained to be lazy.
He told me that he enjoyed the group, the fundraising, cameraderie, etc. and then two years ago was diagnosed with lymphoma. He said that TNT had driven him to his appointments, gave him some financial assistance and completely changed my opinion of the group. I believed that they did utilize their funds for research and helping people, but I had not seen any results of what they said. His experience made me truly respect that organization.
I suppose that, sometimes, I need to know--be shown the facts that organizations do what they promote. TNT was fantastic, in a sense, for me. I met the Goddess and Jamie and Jenny. I now have a group of social runners to run with. I just know that I prefer being trained with a group more dedicated to pushing my athletic limits. When I ran the Vegas Marathon, I was ready. I wasn't willing to walk because I was tired. It was a complete change to the Denver Marathon. However, I now give props to that society. They are what they say.
Friday was a long day. Food friendly, people watching, red wine drinking and excellent. I love celebrating!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Appropriate quote

"The greatest waste in the world is the difference between what we are and what we could become"--Ben Herbster

That felt like an appropriate saying to find in my e-mail, today. I subscribe to the Positivity Blog which I found on Reduce Footprint's blog some months ago. I receive random positive messages and lately, they have been fitting to my state of mind.
Instead of focusing on the negativity, embrace the opportunity for change. Ultimately, what I have been wanting for some time. Fear can be limiting. Not having a back up plan or means to sustain an income, for example, is daunting especially in our current economic state. However, there are ample resources out there for everyone. Sometimes, you have to step back and think outside of your comfort zone.

For me, sometimes, I think I have to identify what it is that I really want out of life. What is my fit and contribution to better not only myself, but, society in general.

I will be okay. I know this. I feel this and cannot wait to embark on the next part of this journey.

I look back at some of my postings, e-mail correspondence, facebook (too) and see that I consider work as a means to travel. It is time to take the leap of faith, believe in myself and whatever lies ahead on the road, for me.

I am ready. Ready to make this a travel only blog.....

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Tomorrow begins the first day of the rest of my life.
Liberated and open to anything the universe has to offer.
Ironically, my passport is being renewed so I am definitely traveling, stateside, for the time being.
I feel FREE and fine inspite of the news I received earlier this evening. My immediate response was--where can I go?
I thought about flying to Portland, but on such short notice, the rates are a little extreme and I do want to have my car. I don't want to rely on my sisters to take care of me.
Or, Phoenix, but we are in the beginning of tax season and I know that this is difficult time for Jan to play. I think a road trip is the way to go.
As soon as I know, you will, too.
I really feel free and like something amazing is around the corner.
Enjoy your night~

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


I am taking a break from wine, red meat/pork/chicken, and Elway's. Of those three, my break from Elway's will probably kill me. Seriously, I am way too comfortable there. I can dine, solo, Sunday nights for instance or drink with friends or by myself. Any occasion and I feel fine going there. It is like my second home.
It's easier than trying to drink at the Bull & Bush. I can talk to staff or management but most of the other regulars leave me be. It isn't that way at the Bull. For one thing, our wine by the glass sucks and the other, well, I figure you get the picture of how much I want to hang out with regulars.
Enough said.
Returning to Elway's....Last night, I dined with Maghan. We drank wine (ample amount) and tried a few items on the menu that I have not discovered myself.
Typically, I am appetizer or side oriented. Maghan took the lead last night which expanded my horizons and limited my side options. We began with the 7 onion soup--awesome. Followed by the truffled beat salad--solid choice. I have tried this on other occasions and I know that it is a fantastic salad.
Our main course was the grouper etoufee. Between courses, we decided to add the crab cocktail. Delightful. My favorite course of the evening. The grouper lacked and I was bummed that we chose that fish of the options available. We could have tried the japanese seabass, tuna, or salmon. No. I wanted the grouper with etoufee. Mistake, for sure.
I want to cleanse for me. I watched Dr. Oz, today, who I prefer over Oprah or Dr. Phil. I think it is because he overs solutions to health related issues and doesn't appear to be judgmental.
Anyways, today's topic was how healthy are you? He asked a series of questions and based on your own yes or no answer you were supposed to add up the points accrued. Intrigued, I played along.
I was doing fabulously until they question about dental health. I got 3 points for that. After a few more answers, I realized that I am healthy and have control over my unhealthy habits. And, I am going to the dentist next month for a cleaning. So excited.
This prompted the cleanse, void of alcohol and refusing to visit Elway's for a month. I told Lindsay she could punch me if I mentioned that place in the next month. We went running, tonight (excellent), and I told her my intention to cleanse. It is completely my decision to seek out this path. I know that I will feel better.
Elway's remains on hold til February....

Monday, January 3, 2011

Canvas & Cocktails Class

First bond forming memory of 2011 occurred at Canvas and Cocktails. Sara Jo and her friend, Jennifer, the Goddess and her sister, Katie, and my friend Jenn all attended this great little concept class. I was intimidated since my artistic ability is limited to writing cards. Somehow, I enjoy, even look forward to being creative in that realm. Painting seemed like the perfect way to bond with my friend's friends. We would all be on a level playing field or so I thought.
And, they provide one free mimosa which also loosens you up. Jennifer picked Sara Jo and I up and we headed to Cherry Creek. Driving with her reminded me of being driven around by Sam or my aunt Bryn. I love my aunt but she has no sense of the metro area. I remind her how to get to my house regularly.
Sam was a friend of Brian's that drove like an old woman. He would drive Sara and me to Solera, frequently, and we always laughed at how slow he drove. Yes, Sara's friend drove like a combination of the two.
We entered the space and it was busy. Super full of all women. I found out later that there were two men, in attendance, and a few babies. My Jenn arrived first and she secured us our own table which was thoughtful and worked out great. We each grabbed a mimosa and waited to be given instructions. The instructor was super hyper. Translation--annoyingly hyper. She kept saying--Here's the Deal.....this class isn't about STRESS....Type A's--calm down....Here is the Deal. Talk about annoying and creating stress instead of decreasing it.
I tuned her out, finally.
I enjoyed the class notwithstanding the instructor and my canvas isn interesting. I chose to veer off the main course to make it more me. I like it. I do. The finished product was supposed to look like snow covered trees. Mine is more autumn like. I wanted more color.
Katie, Lindsay's sister, seemed to take to the course naturally. Everyone else painted but not with her ease. I think it was a good mix of girls and I would love to do it, again, and with different people. I think it is a wonderful way to create a memory.
Afterwards, we dined at Earl's since the Cricket was on a half hour wait. I have been to the Earl's in Phoenix and remembered it being decent.
We split a few appetizers and sandwiches. It was okay. I would have preferred going to my favorite place in the world (Elway's) but I was in the minority on that call. Our server was mediocre, at best. I did like the bloody mary bar, though. And, having a Sunday off was awesome!!! I don't know if I would put Earl's on my list of restaurants to frequent.
I will eventually post a photo of my canvas. I need to update a few other things before I unveil it. If you have the opportunity to attend a class in your area--Do. You will be happy and surprised at how enjoyable it is.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Ringing in the New Year

New Year's Day is always slow, nighttime, at restaurants. But, you figure, most people have spent the night before, out, drinking too much, and wake up to nurse the hangover and watch bowl games. By the evening, they are done. Too much excessiveness to be able to continue New Year's Day night.

I walked into work and it was S-L-O-W.

Thankfully, I was not scheduled to close and so I knew that as painful as it was, I would have a way out. Next stop, Elway's. Why not? I rang in the new year by babysittting drunks and did not partake in the celebration. Our champagne toast was the worst possible champagne, available, without orange juice and so I opted out of the offerings. Plus, I knew that I would have to drive home amongst bad drivers, drunks and cabbies whom I think are a combination of the two, at times. Yes, champagne toast was skipped.

I decided to toast 2011 with red wine. I prefer that to champagne any day of the week. I ordered my standby--Hess Cabernet, but it tasted off. I mentioned it to the bartender and she suggested that I return to my past wine love--Rapture, and so I did. She was right. Delightful!
Elway's was slow, too, but I was able to watch the Nuggets and eventually a guy sat down to my right and began a conversation with me. We talked sports, tv shows, restaurants and other random things. He asked me what I did for a living and I said travel (I work to travel, right?). He was in sales, but had worked in the service industry for years. He offered to buy me a glass of wine and I declined. My wine is expensive and I wasn't interested in having a weird moment later when I would refuse to walk out with him. He paid his tab and made a grand show of how he always tipped 50% since he worked in this industry for so long. On and on and on he went about how great of a tipper he was.

I wanted to look at his tab to see if he were true or not. The bartender showed me since she too heard him brag about how great of a tipper he was. He lied. What a joke! If you are an adequate tipper, fine, but don't act like you are superior just to say it. I felt validated that I declined his offer of wine.

She topped off my wine and I paid my tab. 2011 was off to a splendid start. I hope yours was lovely, too!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year thoughts

Happy 2011.
The promise.
I love new beginnings.
Mostly, I love the idea of inspiration. The last few days, everyone's energy has increased and been positive. They contemplate their changes to better themselves and the world around them.
I read a few blogs that have suggested being more green. I am on board with that. I have decreased the amount of plastic bags I use based on the reuseable bags that I have. I put them in my car to make it as convenient as possible to use that bag instead of the plastic ones. I like that Whole Foods doesn't even have plastic bags available anymore. I wonder why Safeway doesn't practice this. Is it cost effective to have plastic bags for them? They try to say they are green and in tune with the environment but having plastic bags is counterproductive, right? I wish they would do away with plastic bags and only offer paper bags.
Driving less. I am pretty good with this one. My friends scoffed at me when I told them I dined at La Cueva the other night. Their response--did someone drive you there or did you walk? You didn't drive, right?
Yes, I am walking friendly and have recently begun using the public transportation available in Denver. I think it is imperative to time it right or walking will be alternative. Sara and I went day drinking inspite of the frigid weather Thursday. We took the bus, both directions, but the ride home was miserable. We had to wait for the bus and we were FREEZING. I was minutes away from calling a taxi. She insisted that the bus was on its way and I believed her. She was right and we did make it home safe. Honestly, it took me thirty minutes to defrost my toes. Still, I wouldn't have wanted it any other way. I didn't want to drive in that crap weather, try to find a parking space, drink, be irresponsible, yada, yada, yada....yes, public transport was definitely the way to go.
Having gratitude for life. The people in it, health, job, you name it--be thankful for it. We take things for granted. We shouldn't. In the blink of the eye, everything can change.
On Tuesday, Michaela called me, frantic, to tell me that my dad was in the hospital. Immediately, my thoughts jumped to how quickly I could get to Missouri. Should I book a flight or drive? I was listening to what she was saying, but I couldn't process what my action should be. It was awful and as hard as it was to hear that my dad was in the hospital, it was almost worse to hear the fear in my sister's voice. He is okay, recovering from a bleeding ulcer. I am concerned about him and his wife. There is too much stress in their lives and I would do anything to be able to alleviate some of it. I have a feeling that my first trip of 2011 will be to the midwest. Not out of obligation but because I want to.
I ran the Park to Park 10-miler Labor Day. Afterwards while walking through the expo, I picked up a bag/note card from Lululemon Athletica. It has a series of phrases/quotes/inspirational sayings. One sticks out in my mind--Stress is related to 99% of all illness. Find a way to channel stress--faith, yoga, running. Do something to be happy and present in the moment.
Travel. Travel. Travel.
I am taking steps to continue this quest. I sent my old passport in and cannot wait to get it back. The only hope I have with the new one once I get it is that I fill it up with stamps. I must fill it up and even request new pages. Traveling is a priority in my life and I want to be true to it. There are many countries that I intend to explore, discover and learn.

Friends. Seeking them out and enjoying moments with them. Tomorrow will be my first bond forming memory of this year. 3 of my good friends are bringing a few of theirs to join us in a canvas and cocktail class. We are painting trees while drinking mimosas. Talk about excellent idea and a great way to begin the year.

Health--work in progress. All, I can hope for, is that I find 3-4 ideal destination 1/2 marathons. I know of 3 with my name on it. Thankfully, there are many options of wine races. Drinking water, yoga, smiling....all things that I intend to do more of this year.

I hope you enjoy yours, too. Happy New Year. Be kind to yourself and others.....