Monday, December 31, 2012

1.  Tricks
2. Enoteca Adriana
3. Parlor
4. Jan's house
5.  Hashouse
6. Charlie Trotter's
7. Agnese's parents' house
8. Elway's
9. B2
10.  Solera
11.  Jean's house
12. Dahl & Diluca
13. Gott's Roadside Cafe
14.  Elway's
15.  stir fry at my house
Some of the meals that stood out, for me, 2012.  I know there are more.  I went to yoga today and considered my trip to Chicago.  Somehow, I had overlooked my dining experience at Charlie Trotter's.  I was in downward dog and almost collapsed.  Seriously.  How had I forgotten that incredible meal?
Bubbly, prix fixe meal and then some.  It was amazing.  The luck of the draw.  I called on a random Saturday and prayed that I would be able to make reservations.  I knew they were closing six weeks after our visit.
That reminder inspired my top 12 of the 2012. One meal per month.  It started with appetizers at Tricks.  Jean visited me and I wanted to show her around Tempe.  Of course, a meal there, even just apps was necessary.  The wine list is spectacular.  Attention to detail obseved and the bar, well, is amazing.  We met her friends from MN.
I met Shari in San Diego.  Prior to that visit, I had been there earlier in February to take a break from AZ.  While there, that weekend, Whitney Houston died.  Tragedy.  Not as bad as when MJ died but still sad.  I dined at Hashhouse and loved it.  Found the best cocktail, ever, and was determined to return.
We arrived and dined at Enoteca Adriana.  The only downside was our table.  It sucked.  Right next to the hostess and we requested another table but was informed that the other tables were spoken for.  They weren't.  Regardless. the bread/olive oil combination was delightful.  We continued with ravioli.  It was delicious.
My dad visited in March.  A few spring training games, college basketball, visit to Tricks and then, we went to the Parlor.  We ate the Salsiccia pizza and entertained Tiffany and Dan.  By far, the go-to place in Phoenix for me.  The food is exquisite.  In fact, I had lunch, there, today, before heading into work to do inventory.
April offered a trip to Denver.  Only, I struggled to take care of myself.  i found myself dehydrated, lackluster and eventually collapsing on Easter.  I mangled my face (awesome) due to dehydration.  My trip to Denver lost and called my Phoenix friends to provide me shelter.  Thankfully, they came through and we shared easter dinner at their home.  I remember being offered pain killers.  I declined.  I drank red wine instead.
Post Easter, I did visit Denver briefly.  I saw my friends before heading to San Diego.  I convinced Brett that Hash House would be the ultimate post 1/2 marathon meal.  We shared an excellent meal and I drank the best cocktail ever.  I love Hashhouse.
Charlie Trotter's welcomed Sara and I.  Lovely.  We started with bubbly and shared a chef's tasting and vegetarian tasting.  My favorite course was the tofu.  Shocking, I know.   Still, honestly, the tofu shocked, inspired and delighted us.
July took me to Geneva, Paris, Italy.  I liked Geneva.  Tolerated Paris and loved Italy.  Delicious food everywhere.  The best fare was found at my host's parent's house.  Prosciutto, melon, burrata....just to name a few items.  I was spoiled and loved every minute of it.  Not to mention the coffee factor.  Nonstop coffee.
I returned to the States, worked and made my way back to Denver.  There was a baby shower to attend.  I went to Lindsay's shower, Jenn's bachelorette party and eventually made my way to Elway's.  Love the fare. I am sure we shared the crab cocktail, mac & cheese and brussel sprout hash.
Two weeks later, I flew to Oregon to attend my sister's wedding.  Family times can be stressful....I'm just saying.  I shared a hotel with my dad and rented a car.  Freedom.  Yes, it was nice to enjoy that aspect of it. I was able to come and go as I pleased.  I remember getting a pedicure the day of the wedding, buying caba for the toast and having lunch at a wine bar across the street from their house.  Excellent.  A few glasses of pinot gris later and I was ready for the wedding.
Jenn got married in September.  She had everything arranged for the ceremony, rehearsal dinner, brunch.  I was responsible for the bachelorette party.  She agreed to a wine dinner and I suggested Solera.  It never disappoints.  Six courses later.  I believe the other girls were impressed.  Not even remotely concerned about that.  It was an incredible meal.
I flew to Seattle to care take for my friend, Jean.  She asked me to help her recuperate.  I agreed.  I made eggplant, tomatoes and garlic.  I plied her with red wine.  She liked my food or maybe it was the wine.  I'll never ask or know as I did enjoy the food I prepared.
December.  Jenn's visit to AZ. I insisted on a trip to Sedona to offset my lodging situation.  I love my carriage house.  It makes sense to me as I am single.  Tiny, tiny, tiny place.  Not the best option for hosting others.  We wine tasted at Jerome and I drove to Sedona.  We were told to check out a mexican restaurant and warned that we would have to wait.  Instead of going there, we opted, for the italian option.  I had heard of Dahl & Diluca.  Just never been there.  We did enjoy the meat balls and radicchio appetizer.
A week later, I was in heaven.  Or Napa as it is known to mortals.  I had the opportunity to spend two days/ nights there and so I figured why  not go?  Food was amazing and my favorite meal, of all, was dining, picnic style alongside hwy 29 at Gott's Roadside.  Everyone in my party had burgers with the exception of my chicken sandwich and one other guy's ahi tacos.  I should have ventured that direction, too.  Yet, I opted for a sammie.  I knew we would share fries.
Christmas in Denver.  Sparkly.  Bubbly.  Soup, too.  Two days with Jenn & Rob.  Movies, wine and more wine.  I received a Justin Bieber stocking for my gift.  I felt blessed.  Eventually, I met the Goddess for lunch with the Wrangler and we went to Elways'.  Green Chile cole slaw, was, by far, my favorite side dish.  We split a fish sandwich too.  I loved it.
Tonight, I chose to make stirfry to conclude my 2012.  I love vegetables and this hit the spot.  I work, tomorrow, morning.  What a way to greet 2013.  Cannot wait.  It's going to be early and then done.  Til then, cheers, celebrate and taste life.
I see great things out of 2013~

more images of 2012

 Visit to Seattle.  Made some time to see Jean and Jack in November.  I was reminded of my squeamishness and how I do, in fact, admire anyone in the medical profession.  Jean had had a procedure done and I flew out to provide a little help.  My idea of help is opening wine, making dinner and yes, I can do laundry. I arrived to find an attachment that I was unwilling to change out for her.  She, knowing me, was not surprised.  I think she was happy for my arrival to open wine and cook dinner.
 Outside of a tasting room in Cornville.  Imagine it in full bloom.  I toured az wine country with my friend, Danny, and then a week later when Jenn visited me in Arizona.
 Radicchio appetizer...delicious.  Jenn and I chose to dine here as it was near the hotel, italian and open.  We arrived in Sedona after spending a few hours in Jerome.  Wine tasting demanded our attention is all I am saying.
 I do love Sedona.  I should make more of an effor to spend time there.  It is a quick drive from Phoenix and amazing.  I love the red rocks.  We hiked Doe Mountain before returning to the valley.
 My only night hike photo from Camelback.  I foolishly made a hiking date with my friend, Jeff, one Sunday night.  I think we had fifteen minutes of sunset before it was black.  The hike up wasn't so bad.  The descent, well, I thought we were going to get lost.  Jeff is not a boy scout if you get what I am saying.  His internal compass led us astray a few times that night.  Afterwards, we enjoyed a delicious ten fidy to celebrate.
 Outside of my hotel room in Napa.  I fell in love with Napa all over again.  It is a wonderful town.  Who wouldn't like it?  Wine, wine, everywhere and there are amazing eateries everywhere.  I think my favorite food of that trip was the roadside cafe.  We dined, picnic style, while sharing stories from our lives.  It was quite nice.
 Vines, sunshine (awesome) and the beauty of the valley.  I really enjoyed my two day trip to Napa.
 No, I did not try to drink this by myself.  Maybe another trip.
 Lunch with Steve and Lindsay.  What a way to conclude my Denver Christmas adventure.  Wine with friends and incredible food.
Lindsay and Wrangler also attended lunch with us.  He is a charming little guy.  He slept in the car, cooed in the restaurants and accompanied us around Denver.
Yes, 2012 was truly a good year for me.  I did break another camera that is why I am unable to find my Chicago photos.  I used my old school camera to capture moments from that trip.  I guess I will just have to post them later.
My only regret of 2012 is that I neglected blogging.  It is more of a creative outlet for me and there are times when I either don't feel creative, candid or funny.  I know that I censor myself on this too.  I want to let go of some that for 2013 and I believe it is time to take a leap of faith in myself.  I see many great things happening in 2013 and am looking forward to experiencing them.
However you choose to conclude 2012, be safe, smile and share this moment with someone you care about.  Even if it is only yourself.  Cheers!
I might post more later.  I need to run off to yoga, do a liquor inventory (not looking forward to this) and find some bubbly~

Images from 2012

 It all started with a visit from Jean.  We headed south to Rocky Point to check out how it had changed in twelve years.  In 2012, she is gluten free.  Her idea of a fish taco became a cole slaw taco.  No, they did not offer a grilled fish option.  Only breaded which I enjoyed.
Yes, we had ventured down there in 2000 with Vegas.  Whirlwind drinking venture and we repeated that aspect in 2012.  Jean also checked out other aspects of Phoenix, too.  It was wonderful.  Too quick of a trip.
 February took Shari and myself to San Diego.  I began my love affair with that gem of a city last christmas.  We stayed in Mission Beach, checked out the fare in Ocean Beach, downtown and Temecula.  Excellent way to celebrate the anniversary of Brian.  The food was first rate and the ocean is always inspiring.  In Little Italy, we found this eatery.  Amazing fare but the music selection was terrible.  We requested a change and the manager told us--sorry, girls, this is sort of my thing.....can you say, check please?
 My dad visited me for Spring Training.  I took him to one of my favorite spots in the city and we enjoyed a salsiccia pizza with Tiffany and Dan O who also happened to be in town for spring training.  My dad and I attended a few games and watched college basketball, too.  Gotta love March for that factor alone.  I was happy to show my dad around my current location.
 April, May, June, I did travel some--Denver, San Diego, Chicago.  I had a glorious time in all of the cities.  Chicago always entices.  I will find some images to share of that city.  I must.  I really had a stellar time with Sara Jo in Chicago.
Anyways, I flew to Geneva in July to visit my friend, Agnese.  Spent one night in Paris and the remainder of my european adventure in Italy.  Although, I didn't love, love, love Venice, I did enjoy the canals.  Venice reminded me of disneyworld for adults.  I was surrounded by the most english speakers in that city.
 Lindsay's baby shower.  Gotta have a photo of the glowing Lindsay.  Pregnancy agreed with her even if I was bummed that I no longer had a running partner for my visits.  Her shower was lovely.  I spent the rest of that trip with Jenn K and Sara Jo.  I was reminded of how much I missed Denver.
 August also brought about reconnections.  I spent a night with my favorite winemaker, Jarred.  We met in 2006 during my first Napa adventure with Mickey, Sara Jo, Sarah from college and Pocketsize.  I've followed Jarred while he has moved around the west coast but have not had a meal with him since 2006.  It was excellent to catch up in person.
I flew to Eugene to attend my sister's wedding which was a glorious occasion.  I met my gorgeous niece, Emma, and discovered that she is a true Wageman.  I fed her ice cream and she loved it.
 The little beauty, Emma.  We wanted to match with yellow.
 September showcased more of Denver and the foothills.  My friend, Jenn K, exchanged vows at Boettcher and had a reception at the Brown.  I spent an additional day in the city so that I could hang out with Sara and Lindsay.  We had prosecco and breakfast before Lindsay drove me back to DIA.

I drove to San Diego and spent my birthday there.  I wanted to enjoy the ocean and my birthday.  As Napa was out due to the Denver adventure, I did the next best thing and road tripped it  my oasis of Santa Fe.  If I were closer to Santa Fe, I think I would have driven there.  While in Denver, Santa Fe was always my safe haven.  Regardless, I spent my birthday walking on Pacific Beach and enjoying the incredible weather.  A nice break from the brutal heat of Phoenix for sure.
I must add some more visuals of my trips.  I managed to showcase some of the faves....

Saturday, December 29, 2012

trips of 2012

It all started in San Diego.  Last Christmas.  That five hour drive enticed, inspired, flirted.
Afterwards, my friend, Jean, visited.  We chose to drive to Rocky Point to visit Vegas, drink rum and eat cole slaw tacos.  Jean is gluten free.  We did manage a few days in Phoenix, too.  Parlor, Ohso, Peaks...we hit all of the hot spots.
Post Jean's visit, I spent a weekend in San Diego.  Whitney Houston died.  It was my dad's birthday and I was sad.  Part of my childhood vanished.  I ate at a tapas place and stayed in Ocean Beach.  Visited Alpine, too.  Tommy mentioned it during my xmas visit.  Two weeks later, Shari came to stay.  We spent a night in Tempe and then headed west.  Stayed in Mission, got lost on the way to Hash House and wine tased in Temecula.  Success #6 annivesary.  Yes, the almond sparkling was nice.  Not my favorite wine to taste while in Temecula.
March brought my dad to visit. We went to a few spring training games.  Saw the Royals lose to the Dodgers and caught a glimpse of Pujols.  Tiffany and her guy were in town and so we restaurant hopped.  I can always put on a show of what I like when food is involved.  Vegas offered to meet up with my dad, too. I declined.  He seemed preoccupied.
Post March, I made plans to visit Denver.  I worked, a lot, and focused on my trip.  Easter Sunday, well, my plans changed.  Quick visit to the E.R. and my plans were delayed.  Dehydration is not fun or advised.  I recovered and made another trip to Denver at the end of April.  May brought work.  I continued to run and consider my trip to Italy.  I needed to book the ticket but I was hesitant.
In June, I drove to San Diego to cheer my friends on through the marathon there.  I experienced June Gloom and reconsidered my thought that San Diego had the best weather of anywhere else.
I flew to Chicago to meet Sara Jo.  We ran a 10 k, ate tapas and had dinner at Charlie Trotter's before it closed.  All, i can say, is amazing.  Stunning meal.
July, I flew to Genevea.  I visited my friend, Agnese and inhaled prosciutto and prosecco.  Came to the conclusion that I adore Italy.  Who wouldn't?  Excellent food.
August brought a trip to Denver to attend Lindsay's baby shower and Michaela's wedding in Oregon.  I managed a brief stayover with my favorite winemaker before returning to the desert.  I celebrated my birthday in San Diego with Tommy and headed east to stand up in Jenn K's wedding.  I wanted to celebrate in Napa, but, got over it. There was still time left in 2012 to visit there.
I flew to Seattle to be a caretaker.  I wanted to help out my friend, Jean.  It rained and was gloomy.
Post Seattle, Jenn K visited me.  We spent one night in Sedona.  Love, love, love...Sedona.  A week later, i flew (finally) to Napa.  That is my ideal place.  Afterwards, I flew to Denver for xmas.
Yes, I have had a grand year.  For sure, I am one lucky lady.  I can honestly say that each year has improved my demeanor and love of life.  I cannot wait for 2013.  I am excited for its prospects.  Who wouldn't be after experiencing this past year?
I must reflect on the food factor, wine and fave trips of last year.  Yea, I traveled, a lot.  Loved every single minute of it.  Yet, there were standout trips to further elaborate on.  Til then, drink some wine

Productive Friday

Yes, productive day.  Hike, mailed packages to siblings/parents, made reservations for the 28th and tried to order glasses.  I found some designer glasses on line that I thought I would like.  I was between the berry colored and brown.  The brown might make me look mousy and so I had firmly chosen the berry frames.  The only thing I needed was my prescription.  I called my optometrist and left a message with their receptionist.  Apparently, yesterday was a busy day for optometrists.  Three hours later the guy calls me back.  I make my request for the chosen glasses only to be told that they no longer carry that designer.  WTH?
I ask for my prescription, thinking, I can either order the glasses on-line where I originally discovered them or head to Costco with Jan and see what they have available.  My prescription doesn't expire until February 15th and so there is the possibility of returning to Denver to try on glasses, too.  I am not anti-that option either.  It could be fun.
I am bummed that the glasses will have to wait.  I know there are options and that I will obtain new ones, I just want them now.
It felt great to be productive and finally be able to cross some stuff off of my to-do list.  Yes, I still make those and carry them around in my purse.  To me, if I write it down, I will do it.  I won't just talk about it or dream about it, I'll do it.  Maybe I should start a 2013 list.  Travel, classes, half marathon.  I would like some springtime visitors, too.  Why not?  Arizona is delightful til about April.  After that, it becomes warm, hot, brutal.  Yes, in that order.  I would dream of a reprieve and when it arrived (end of October) the time flies til the summer.  If only the summer months would pass as quickly.
I struggled with the hike yesterday.  Some of it is due to a lingering cold and the other is due to lack of exercise for the past three weeks.  Yes, I have went to yoga, infrequently, but that is it.  No hiking and I don't even know the last time running has been part of my vocabulary. Although, I did contact my running partner about setting up a running date soon.  It is time to enjoy that activity again.  Like I mentioned in an earlier post, I have been lazy.  Lazy due to travel and hosting visitors.  Entertaining is exhausting.  I need to incorporate exercise in the hosting/travel part of my life.  Otherwise, I will end up struggling up Camelback.  Not a fan of that move.
Off to work.....will update this more later.  I want to reflect on the 2012 trips, food and wine.

Friday, December 28, 2012

reflecting on December

Happy Holidays!  This year has flown by.  I'm still slacking on getting gifts out to my family/friends.  Part of that issue was taking time to host friends, travel to Napa and spend christmas in Denver.  Yes, December was a busy month.  It seemed like I was constantly trying to recover from my mini-trips and work at the same time.  There would be opportunity to wine taste which I would pass on to catch up on sleep, detox and  attend yoga.
Yes, December flew by.  Onward to January.  New year, possibility and travel.  Isn't travel always my primary concern?  I would like to manage one international trip for 2013 as well as a few half marathon destination weekends.  2012 was a complete failure in terms of running.  I signed up for the Phoenix 1/2 and made a voluntary contribution to the charity.  The Vegas Marathon became the exact same thing--voluntary contribution.  I had higher hopes of completing that race.  Then, the summer hit in Phoenix and my training went out the window.  I did attempt to arrange run dates with Jeff.  He suggested meeting at 6:30, at night, when it was still 108-110.  Yuck!  I do not relish running when it is 100+.  So, I avoided most of our meetups and focused on yoga.  My downward dog/chataranga combination has vastly improved as a result.  My arms look sculpted (I guess that is something).  Still, my running became nonexistent.
Then, there was an offer to visit Napa.  That was what crushed the vision of the Vegas 1/2.  Who would pass up a trip to Napa to run a half marathon?  Not me.  I can still taste the cabernet franc from Peju.  Delicious.  I regretted not extending my trip one more day to explore the best city in the world.  I do see a trip to San Fran in my near future.  Possibly early spring.
I had a friend visit from Denver and we checked out wine country in northern Arizona.  I believe Jenn enjoyed her mini-vacation.  The weather was pleasant and we did get a divine pedicure in Arcadia.  There is this little salon that I love.  Every visitor with the exception of my dad has accompanied me to this place.  It is worthy.
Denver for xmas was excellent.  White Christmas, cheese soup and ample wine.  I managed to check out two of my favorite spots and meet up with Steve, Lindsay, Jenn K, Tiffany, Jimmy and eventually, Sara Jo.  I woke up to -2 degrees outside.  Frigid.  Yes, I packed jeans and warm clothing.  All of my friends inquired about my attire.  They do know me well and I think, I surprised them by wearing jeans.  In my youth, I would have worn shorts no matter how cold it was outside.  Foolish youth.
This is just the beginning of my reflecting on 2012.  It has been an interesting year, for me, personally.  My blogging was scarce and it was mostly due to computer issues.  Regardless, I am off to hike Squaw Peak.  Part of my I must get active and detox routine.  Yoga enticed yesterday.  Today, it's hiking.  Anyways, happy Friday!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Visit from a friend

Successful visit in spite of lingering cold.  I fought through the phlegm and hosted a three day fantastic visit or so I would like to think.  It began with mimosa brunch, coffee and off to Jerome.  We arrived at sunset and found a wonderful winery to check out.  Jerome is a charming town.  I wish I had opted to stay there instead of heading to Sedona.  Only because I have visited Sedona several times.  It would have been nice to check out a new town.
After Jerome, I drove to Sedona and found our hotel.  West side of town.  Checked in and considered dining options.  There was a pizzeria, mexican foodie place, italian and bar food options.  We chose the Italian restaurant.  Grilled radicchio, meatballs and pasta enticed us.  A bottle of verdicchio to drink.  I know that Jenn wanted a pinot noir but I wanted to try something new and different.  Rarely have we ever drank a bottle of white wine together.  Typically, it's red, red, red.  Yes, she and I both love red wine.  That evening I wanted to drink something different.
Dinner was good, not great.  Still, it was close to the hotel.  The next morning we took advantage of the beautiful surroundings and hiked.  Stunning views of the city.  I love being surrounded by red rocks, blue skies and trees.  It has a mystical quality about it, too.  Thankfully, we had chosen a trail that had switchbacks and an incredible view but that was not too strenuous.  My chest did ache while we were climbing.  The cold kicked in and was testing me.  I wanted to climb to the top though.
Gorgeous views and worth the slight hacking/phlegm discomfort.  I took a few photos and we headed back to the car.  The hotel did offer a functioning hot tub which we used twice.  Definitely worth it.
I had wanted to eat mexican food while Jenn was visiting.  There is a place in Sedona, noteworthy, to check out.  For some reason, I felt they were only open for dinner.  The clerk at the hotel assured me that that was not the case.  I should have stuck with my gut instinct.
Mexican food out and we chose another well-known eatery in Sedona.  Again, a little lackluster.  Now, I know which places to skip on my next venture into Sedona.
Her visit continued with more wine tasting, a xmas party and concluded with pedicures.  I had a blast.  Too much fun really.  As a result, I took an additional day off to rest and hopefully recover from the cold.  I believe part of the cold is due to change of weather and the other part is due to me being a complete cerebral freak.  I am way too internal as of late.  I analyze, re-analyze, over-analyze.  It's a nonstop circuit playing in my head.  I think I have lingering cold as a result of this.
Yesterday, I decided to stop making myself crazy with my thoughts.  I guess I wonder what I am doing in my life, which direction I am heading, etc...normal things that everyone goes through at one point or another in their lives.  It's been an odd year for sure.  I just need to make peace with that I chose to be on this road and recognize the positives that have occurred as a result.
Alright, I am off to yoga to continue the namaste of the day.  I am happy to be here, safe, secure and healthy.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Visit from a dear friend

Happy Sunday!  Today, my girl, Jenn, is visiting me in AZ.  I am super excited!  I love entertaining and showing people around the Valley.  I find it difficult to narrow down where and what to do.  I mean, if we follow the food route, well, the possibilities are endless.  There are hot spots in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe that I frequent.  We only have three days.  Not nearly enough time to check out all of the amazing spots in the Valley.
Plus, we are heading to Jerome and Sedona today to enjoy the beauty of the red rocks.  I adore Sedona.  What a beautiful, soothing place.  There are fantastic restaurants there, too.  I scouted Cornville with Danny last Monday.  We wine tasted and then relaxed with an additional glass of wine.  I considered asking Danny to continue the discovery phase of Cornville/Cottonwood.  They are both lovely communities with wine.  Who wouldn't be thrilled to be enjoying a glass of wine on a Monday?  Anyways, I am excited to return to find additonal places to eat.  And, I have never been to Jerome.  I have heard many things about that thriving town.  It reminds me of the beauty of Santa Fe.  A welcoming vibe with artists, food and wine.  Sounds like my kind of place.
I know that we will hike Camelback and possibly, somewhere, in Sedona, too.  I have hiked there occasionally.  I went once with my friend, Robert, from college days.  I forced my little sister to engage in the hiking activity which she found enjoyable.  (I think Jade was shocked that she liked it.)  I hiked up Chapel Rock on a solo visit only to be scolded by a minister.  I was in the process of releasing ashes.  It was a spiritual journey on that visit to Sedona.  I climbed up, somehow missing the visible signs telling people to not climb on the rocks.  In that moment, my mind was set on the task of the journey not on my surroundings.  I remember the guy telling me to come down.  In a small voice, I explained why I was there and that I would be finishing my quest and would prefer to do it alone.  Thankfully, for both of us, he had kindness in his heart and walked away.  That is the last time I have hiked in Sedona.  Feels like a good day to return to hiking in Sedona.
Or, we could go the resort route.  Phoenix has several worthy examples of a spa day.  I believe we will be getting a pedicure at some point.  If we had more time, I think, I would push the idea of staying at the Phoenician or Royal Palms.  We still have the opportunity to spend sunset at one of these gorgeous resorts.
Whle I was planning her vacay (my staycation), I envisioned a foodie trip with some hiking.  I tried to narrow down which restaurants we must go to and then I woke up, yesterday, with a slight scratching on my throat.  I inhaled garlic trying to combat the oncoming assault of sneezing and mucus.  I looked at what supplies I had available--zinc, fish oil tabs, grapeseed oil.  Somehow, I had forgotten to resupply my oil of oregano, vitamin C and lemons.  Awesome!
Still, I am confident that her trip will be a wonderful adventure.  I might not inhale wine (like our normal get together visits).  There is food, hiking and exploration of the city.  We will be entertained!
This is a photo of our wine and painting class.  A group of us--Sara and her Jenn, the Goddess and her sister and Jenn and I--that attempted this class.  Lindsay's sister had the best painting.  Jenn's was the most creative and I think I drank the most bubbly.  It was a lovely Sunday Funday in early 2011.  Today will be the kick off to a wonderful venture in Phoenix.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

trying to be healthy

Yoga round two....I think today was worse than Monday.  Seriously.  I couldn't stop sweating.  I think I needed to detox from the weekend.  I did wine taste yesterday but it was brief and I hydrated with water. I swear.
Today, however, it didn't feel like it.  It felt like I was sweating out wine and other impurities.  Non stop sweat fest.  Thankfully the class was small and I did sustain the 60 minutes.  I feel amazing now.
Tomorrow, I am uncertain if I will be hiking or yoga.  I could hike, solo, as all of my hiking partners are either out of town (Mike), injured (Kristina) or have class (Brandon).  If only there was one more person in my rotation of hiking buddies.  Jan did begin hiking recently.  I don't think she feels up to Camelback yet.  Maybe one day soon.
Hiking is an option. Or, I could hit another yoga class.  Detox some additional toxins and stretch.  I semi-pulled my back on Sunday.  Foolishly attempting to lift a keg back into the cooler.  The first time I accomplished the task.  The second time, I got lazy.  Lifted with my back, not my legs.  I did put it down immediately once I sensed discomfort.  Then, I went hiking that evening and managed to land funny on my ankle a couple of times.
I suppose I recognize that yoga would be more beneficial, for me, at this point.  My body could use the rest and the stretching.  I need to listen when there are kinks, aches, discomfort.  That way, I can address whatever the issue is.  Such as being lazy and trying to lift heavy items with my back instead of the proper lift method.  Hiking in the dark was a touch naive, too.  The incline was manageable but the downward hike was challenging.  Especially without a light.  Next time if I attempt this, I am taking a head lamp or going with someone that has one and a good sense of direction.  Let's just say my hiking buddy the other night was not a boy scout.  I envisioned being rescued via helicopter or snacking on his arm if we were unable to get out of the park.  Yes, sometimes, my mind hones in on the worst possible scenario and won't let it go.
Anyways, tomorrow, I will either hike or attend a vinyasa flow class.  It is extremely beneficial to my lifestyle right now.  I will do something healthy.
Shari and I are booking tickets for the anniversary, too.  We chose to return to Denver to celebrate the February event.  Initially, I pushed the spiritual journey/go to Bali type of trip.  There was always something wrong with it, though.  It just didn't feel that spiritual to me.  It seemed force and I know that Shari recognized it, too.  We tossed the idea of going to Chile around.  Or, Argentina.  Then, she e-mailed me an alternative.  Maybe we should focus on food as our spiritual journey.  That made complete sense as Brian was a chef and food has always united us.  After she mentioned it, everything else fell into place.  We still need to book the tickets, and arrange accommodations, but we have a destination and I know the restaurant we will dine at.  I am stoked!  It's going to be an excellent way to celebrate this year.
Til then,I plan on attending yoga, hiking or I suppose I could return to running.  It's been too long.  I cannot even remember the last time I put on my kicks to run.  Sad, true story.  Must change that soon~

Monday, November 26, 2012

thankful for today

Gorgeous day off.  No hike involved.  I did that last night.  Instead I went to yoga and sweat thru 60 minutes of postures and breath.  It kicked my butt~
Seriously.  It had been too long since my last class.  I finished.  Showered and texted my lunch date.  I let her know that I would be available sooner than originally anticipated.  I opted to go to the post office.  Confident that it would be a quick in and out.
Little did I know that it would be a 20 minute overture.  I walked in.  Saw the line and three clerks working. I remained hopeful.
Hopeful for about two minutes.  I saw one lady working while the other two disappeared.  They would reappear for brief moments.  They were present, but didn't work.  They just talked at each other.  I felt like I was at the DMV and it was frustrating.  Keep in phone was in my car.  I had nothing to listen to or distract me from waiting. I considered leaving and trying another time or a different post office.  I was that frustrated.
Then, people would appear from the outer area and drop off packages.  The clerks would address them, wait on them and help them.  I wasn't the only person confused by these actions or noticing them.  Several people in line watched the interactions while patiently waiting for their turn at the counter.  Yes, the post office sucked.
I made it to the counter eventually.  Paid my dues and left.  I was still seething when I arrived at my designated lunch spot.  All I could think was...if I made people wait to acknowledge or help them, I would hear about it immediately.  From my boss, from yelp, from co-workers.  Service industry people do not have the luxury of making people wait like the post office or dmv do.  They provide services that people need.  If I make someone wait for a beverage; well, they have options across the street, up the street or within two blocks.  The only power I wield is how strong of a drink I make or don't make.
Sorry, I am still frustrated by the whole endeavor.  I understand that their job is challenging, but, what the eff?  How hard is it to help out when there is a line of people out the door?  I just don't get it.
More importantly....lunch was spectacular.  Cocktails, wine, pizza....what more could a girl ask for?  My lunch date was lovely, too.  I used to work with her and I always enjoy our time together.  I look at her and see all of the possibility of being 22.  Endless opportunity, right?  Then, I think of my own life and feel similar thoughts.  I have possibility out the ying yang.  I just sometimes need to embrace it.
Anyways, life is grand and I am thankful for my Monday.  Tomorrow, I get to hike Camelback, again, with a supplier from Oregon.  I cannot wait!  I love hiking and sharing that experience with someone from out of state.  I told her to bring water and enthusiasm.  We'll see.

Friday, November 23, 2012

my thanksgiving

Thanksgiving, 2012, was most excellent.  I started the day with a much needed hike with my friend, Mike.  Initially, I thought he might call it off.  I ran into him before I left work.  I poured him a bourbon on the rocks and made my home.  I felt that I deserved a night of rest.  Meaning, I wanted a pure night of sleep.  Ironically, I feel that way tonight, too.
I made coffee and headed to Arcadia.  I got somewhat turned around since I tried out a new route and didn't pay attention to what freeway I was getting on.  Blonde moment.
Anyways, I arrived at his house and noticed that his car wasn't in the driveway.  I knocked on his door and waited.  I was about to text him when the door opened and he greeted me.  I could tell that he just woke up as he was still wearing his glasses.  That was a new look for him.
He told me that he left his car at my job and could I drive to go hiking?  Of course.  I wanted to hike and so I would absolutely drive.  I drove up to the small lot and crossed my fingers.  There were cars in line, waiting/hoping/praying to find a parking spot near the trailhead.  No such luck.  I made my way out to the road and let Mike direct me to a spot that he knew of.  It was about a half mile from the parking lot but well worth the walk up.  It was spot that did not threaten towing.
Camelback was full of fellow hikers.  Many families with small children and dogs.  I am all for being active but some of the kids were unable to climb or hike.  They were all over the place and it was annoying.  Definitely glad I went but thankful to be finished with it, too.  Afterwards, we celebrated the day of gratitude with a bloody mary.  Gorgeous day and I was so glad to not have to work.
I had tried to make my sister's side dish of creamed corn.  I know it is fabulous.  That was supposed to be my addition to thanksgiving day meal.  I turned the oven on, combined the ingredients and left to go hiking.  I didn't think anything of not having been able to cover the casserole dish. I was more interested hiking with my friend.  So, when I returned home and it was inedible, well; that was all on me.  All on my lack of attention to detail.  Instead of the corn side dish, I brought cheese cake and flowers.  I did the majority of the clean up, too.  Part of my genetics and reminded me of thanksgivings past.  Really.  Every year, my task was the clean up aspect.  Rarely, did I ever have the chore of cooking.
All, in all, a fantastic day.  I finished it with a glass of wine at my co-worker, Justin's house.  He had the orphan dinner at his house and I wanted to make an appearance.  I brought a bottle of wine and ended my night.  I could have stayed for a few additional glasses of wine.  My morning shift dictated otherwise.  I cannot imagine how terrible I would have felt had I chosen that path.
Regardless, lovely thanksgiving with friends.  I hope you had a lovely holiday, too.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Friday Funday

Beautiful day.  Absolutely gorgeous.  I opted to begin the day with a hike at Camelback Mountain.  Thankfully, the parking gods favored us.  No wait for a parking spot.  We had a plan B, in place, if we were unable to find a spot at the designated parking spot.  Squaw Peak.  However, I went hiking there, yesterday, and so I wanted to hike camelback.
We arrive.  A friend calls me for help.  As it was early, I answered the phone to find out that he needed a ride somewhere.  I was in the parking lot and without my car.  It was not an emergency and so I told him I would call him after I finished and help out if he still needed it.  I did attempt to help him, later, but he didn't respond.
Walk up to the trail head, stretch and begin the ascent.  Good pace and I was feeling fantastic.  Suddenly, I am hot and thinking--why did I insist on going today?  Brandon already admitted that he had hoped I would have backed out.  Maybe I should have....then, I worked through it and felt amazing when we reached the summit.  Brandon tried to check us in via facebook but he couldn't find a signal.  He walked around the top trying to find a signal while I inhaled water.  I wanted to hydrate.
We watched a couple of strangers exchange numbers.  Very romantic and cute.  On the descent we talked about that.  The opportunity of meeting someone while hiking.  I suppose it is the same thing as my running partner.  I met him at a running group meet up and we chose to meet outside of the group.  I think he hopes that I will consider him as a romantic interest while I prefer the aspect of running only.  He is a great guy.  I just don't find myself interested in him in that way.
Anyways, we continue the descent and I bring up my trip to Napa.  Suddenly, we are interrupted with--if you are looking for a flight, why don't you call me?  I can guarantee a better price over kayak, expedia or other search engines.  It was the guy from the summit who had been exchanging digits with the girl.  He, did, in fact, have beautiful eyes.  (That was her lead in to exchanging numbers).
Regardless, I am curious about his travel planning.  I think I will at least consider it.  I cannot even remember the last time I used a travel agent.  I almost always book my own flights, hotels, cars on line.
I love this weather.  I think, if I can, that I will hike every other day during the season.  Why wouldn't I?  It's a great workout.  I am able to reflect on life and enjoy nature.  I love it.
Alright, enough self-love, involvement, whatnot...enjoy your Friday.  I know that I will~

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Napa trip over Vegas running adventure

I think I am skipping the Vegas Half Marathon.  I just don't have any motivation.  I've tried.  Really.  I just have little interest in running 13.1 miles next month.  
And, I was offered a trip to Napa.  Hands down that takes precedence over a weekend in Las Vegas.  I haven't been to Napa in a couple of years.  In my mind a trip there is way overdue.  I cannot wait.
Yesterday, everything sort of happened.  It started innocently enough.  I had arranged a few wine tastings as it was Tuesday.  I met with my friend, Brian, and right before he left he mentioned a trip to Napa.  I was a little off balance since I didn't know if this would come to fruition or not.  
About an hour later he returned and discussed the trip with me.  Immediately, I thought of my upcoming trip to Vegas and how unnecessary it was.  Running has been nonexistent.  I have filled my days with hiking and yoga to have some sort of cardio rush.  I have just not been interested in running outside.
So, it's settled.  I choose Napa over Vegas.  This year will be voluntary contributions to organizations.  That is my gift to the community.  2013 is a new year.  I will return to running then.
In other news, Shari and I are still deciding how to celebrate the 7 year anniversary. I think we are getting closer to making a decision.  Food will be involved.  Wine, too.  And, possibly a meal in Denver.  Isn't that where it all began?  It makes sense to celebrate in Denver.  Maybe hike Matthew Winters and dine in Boulder.  We are working out the details.  But, I believe, we will spend this anniversary with a zest for food.  Food will direct this trip and I am uber excited.
I must go to yoga.....

Monday, October 29, 2012


Yes, it's been challenging logging into my account.  I have been frustrated, too.  I wanted to update my last week of adventures.
First off, I have been dehydrated.  It's crazy.  I drink tons of water and still, I am experiencing some dehydration.  For example, Saturday morning, I had a bloody nose while working.  Talk about unfortunate timing.  I excused myself from the bar and waited for it to stop.
Today, I have ultra chapped lips.  It is crazy.  I know it is dry here, but, really?  This bad?  Yesterday, I met a friend out for a beer and while I am sitting there my left contact rolled back into my eye.  I am sure I looked like a mess since I could only see with my right eye.  I tried to manipulate the contact out without inflicting pain to my eye.  Nothing worked and so I went to bed.  At 4 a.m., I woke up.  Awesome.  I watched Felicity (my latest go-to when I am unable to sleep) and blinked a few times.  I was finally able to get my contact out.  It was folded in half.  No wonder I couldn't get it out.
So, yes, I am dehydrated.
I have been considering my 7 year anniversary trip with Shari.  Initially, we spoke of Bali.  This is our spiritual journey and Bali seemed like the ideal place.  Perhaps part of that was due to the success of Eat, Pray, Love.  I honestly don't know.  Regardless, we get closer to the departure date, I am considering other countries.  Chile, Venezuela or somewhere in central America.  I believe most of this stems from the travel time it will take to get to Bali.  46 hours.  That demands at least a 3 week trip.  Not only that, but, once we are there, most of the available activity is resort oriented.
I feel that wherever we decide it will be spiritual and meaningful to us.  I like the idea of Chile since when I went in 2008, I did not wine taste.  I was in a funk and so I abstained from drinking for the two weeks I was there.  Plus, there are mountains, the lake district and I loved Valporaiso.  I think it would be a great trip.
Of course, the lure of Bali is enticing.  It is a spiritual country and I know that we would have a wonderful time.  I just don't know if it is enough for the time travel to get there.  Shari and I are going to talk later this week to make a decision.
I have been hiking more.  The weather is finally awesome and inspiring.  I have went a few times with Brandon and I have a hiking date with Kristina tomorrow morning.  I think it is helping me recenter/refocus.  It's been an interesting year.  Hiking, yoga, meditation is helping me immensely.  Last night, I met with a new friend and started talking about Brian.  Next thing you know, I am crying.  I am emotional, more so, and I think it because I know that it is time to let him go.  To move forward and make a conscious effort to be vulnerable again.  It's terrifying.  Both of those things--letting him go and  being vulnerable.  I suppose that is what living in the moment is.  Instead of remaining comfortable with known things, places, people--moving into uncomfortable, foreign, unknown places and situations.  I think that is what growth represents and is.
I know that we will choose a place and that it will be excellent.  It isn't about a specifically spiritual country, it's about how we choose to celebrate and honor Brian.
I am off to hike, to enjoy and to taste life~

Monday Memory

Greetings from the Mission.  Last time I went to San Francisco, I was with these two ladies.  Our gal pal, Megan, had to leave early to fly back to D.C.  Sara, Lindsay and I managed to stay an additional day to tour the city.
Ironically, this was the night that the Giants won the World Series in 2010.  Seemed appropriate to reflect/appreciate that memory, today, since the Giants were victorious last night.
This photo was taken after beginning the day with Irish Coffees at the Buena Vista.  We took the cable car back to Union Station.  That was my first ride, ever, on that particular tourist attraction.  From there, we walked to the Mission.  I had spent some time in that area in 01'.  Sara wanted to check out a bike shop and so we ended up spending the majority of our day there.  It was awesome.  We bar hopped from place to place.  Eventually, Lindsay pointed out that she wanted to watch the world series game and so we stopped into a burger/beer joint and ate steak fries.  Delish!
We finished the night at Range. I have a friend from college who knows the pastry chef there.  As such, I have dined there in the past and knew it was a legitimate gem of a restaurant.  My girlfriends know that I love food and so they weren't at all surprised that we dined there.  While talking to other bar customers they were asked how we found this spot and they remarked, our friend, Harmony, loves to find local eateries.
What an amazing day, experience, memory!  Next summer, I hope to have another adventure with these two ladies and a few other friends that I have met along the way.  We will run the half in Santa Barbara and tour wine country afterwards.  Something to definitely look forward to.
On a side note, I have experienced some difficulty with logging into this account.  I have wanted to blog the last few days but couldn't.  It's been odd to say the least.
Well, enjoy your Monday.  I know that I will~

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Monday Memory (late)....

Ahhh...sweet photo of a wonderful memory.  I spent three days with these amazing ladies a few years ago.  I had convinced them to join me in Sonoma to run a half marathon.  I think I wore them down from my insistence.  I can be like that.  I get an idea in my head and make it happen.  So worth it, too.  We finished the race and celebrated with wine and pretzels.
I have been thinking of these girls, too.  Megan's son is a year old and she and her husband recently bought a house in Maryland.  Lindsay had a baby 9 days ago.  He is adorable from the photos I've seen.  And, Sara, well, Sara is thriving in Denver.  No babies to report from her.
I signed up for a half next year in Santa Barbara.  Lindsay is interested.  Sara is signed up and Megan is unable to join us, this time.  I have other friends from Italy meeting us, too.  I cannot wait.
I should start running again, though.  I have been super lazy and without reason.  It is no longer hot in Phoenix.  I could go outside at any point in the day.  The weather is stunning.  Still, I cannot seem to make myself do it.
I have substituted yoga for the cardio factor.  However,  yesterday, I mentally checked out of the class ten minutes in.  I barely made it through the class.  It was torture.  I skipped the class today.  I am lame.
So, I am remembering a trip with three of my best friends.  I was in great running shape since I was training for the Vegas Marathon.  Lovely memory.  Of course, wine was involved...lots of it.  I discovered that Lindsay loves pickles.
I suppose I am trying to motivate myself to go running.  Tomorrow is the day that I begin running again.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Tuesdays Travels

Ahhhh....Tuesday, I love you.  Woke up, watched Felicity, drank coffee and chose to attend a yoga class.  Super excited to go to yoga but once I got there, I was mentally checked out.  I think ten minutes into the class, I had no desire to be there.
Somehow, I managed to sustain for 50 minutes and then crash out.  The instructor was beyond gracious.  I just had no desire to finish her class.  I left.  I showered and ran off to wine taste.  How can I explain how much I love Tuesdays~
There is a market that I wanted to have lunch out.  However, there is a valet factor, elitist factor and trendy factor.  I drove up, wanting food, but unwilling to deal with the ramifications of my decision.  I did not want to deal with any of those factors.  Instead, I continued on.  I chose a coffee shop that offered food.  I figured the coffee would be delicious and I could deal with said food.  How wrong I was.
Coffee, yes, delicioso.  Food, well, lackluster.  I regretted my decision to avoid trendy people.  I picked at the sandwich and recognized that that would be the last time I dined there.  See, in the past, I tried a chocolate croissant too.  No bueno.
I went to work and tasted wine.  I love Tuesdays for that factor alone.  However, today, some of the reps were needy and displayed bad energy.  They were overwhelming.  I wanted to taste wine and enjoy life.  Some of them, well, they didn't have that same idea.
Afterwards, I went to a restaurant and sampled a feta inspired dish.  I convinced a nail salon to remain open to give me and my girlfriend, Danny, a pedicure.  Best decision of the day.  The salon closed at 7.   We arrived at 7:15 and left at 9.  Hello, amazing pedicure.
A little conversation, dinner, wine.  I considered having one more glass.  My friend said, we should go.  I did and now, I am inspired by a chilean merlot.  Yummy!  Figure, tomorrow, is a new day and I should always enjoy wine.  Til then, cheers~

Monday ventures

Finally took the light rail to downtown Phoenix for an adventure.  Yesterday, I considered having a low key type of day off.  I went to yoga, cleaned my house and then thought better of my night.  I called Jan to see if she was interested in meeting me for a beer or two.  She had a tax deadline and so she told me she wanted a rain check. I sort of saw that coming.  I knew that 10/15 was a significant day for her.  Still, I thought there is no harm in asking.
I moved onto Plan B.  There is a girl that I work with that I wanted to meet out for drinks.  In the past, we have met for wine around Tempe and I always leave with a sense of happiness from our conversations.  Kristina is young, responsible and she travels.  In some ways, she reminds me of a younger version of myself.  In all honesty, I am envious of all of the possibility in her life.  I remember being 21 and thinking the world is my oyster.  (I still do, too)
Anyways, we met in Tempe at a new bar.  I arrived first and I walked into the establishment and was greeted immediately.  As nice as that was, it also was overwhelming.  I could barely look at the menu as I was bombarded with--do you know what you would like to drink?  Maybe I can help....what beer do you normally drink?
I texted Kristina to get here now as I was getting annoyed due to the overzealous staff.  She breezed in and the focus was no longer on my choice of beverage.  I do understand being welcoming and available to customers.  However, there is a balance to it, too.  Had Kristina not arrived when she did, I would have probably left to find a more low key spot.
The beer was fine and afterwards, we walked up to the light rail.  We waited for the next train about ten minutes.  Next stop, a restaurant along the rail.  I chose the place and it was convenient.  Right along the rail and a wine bar.  That was the attraction for me.  I wasn't superstoked with their wine selection but most of the bottles were available for $40 or less.
Kristina chose a sauvignon blanc from New Zealand.  I was in the mood for red wine (always, as it seems) but wanted her to be more involved with wine.  We shared crab cakes, au gratin potatoes and sriracha shrimp.  Of the three, the crab cakes had the most flavor and complexity.  The au gratin potatoes were lackluster.  They resembled a quiche without crust.  Plus, they could have used salt.  And, the shrimp was not at all what I thought I ordered.  I believed they would be the 21-25 lb shrimp k instead of the baby shrimp smothered in sauce.
I should have pushed for the prosciutto wrapped asparagus.  I think that would have been preferable over the shrimp.  We concluded the meal with a decadent chocolate cake.  Delish!  Paid the tab and made our way back to the rail stop.  Within two minutes, it arrived.  Perfection, for sure.  I don't know how we timed it so well.  The return trip was much quicker.  Although, we spoke of next time bringing a flask for the ride.  There are so many restaurants to check out downtown and I hope to take the light rail to do it.  It's safe, efficient and a stellar way of getting around the valley.
I was thankful for texting Kristina instead of wallowing in my monday day blues.  Of course, Jan eventually texted me to see if I wanted to meet for a beer.  I had already made plans and invited her along.  She declined.  However, had I met her, I definitely wouldn't have taken the light rail.  We would have met somewhere that was typical of our friendship.  Rarely do we venture into new spots and I suppose that is what I am seeking right now.  I want to thoroughly enjoy this city.  I intend to do that.
Monday was a success.  Looking forward to exploring more of downtown.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

happy today~

Happy Thursday!  I have much to be thankful for today. In about 20 minutes, I will have a reading with a medium.  Lately, I seem to notice tarot readers, psychics and advertisements for either of the following.  I am attracting this for some reason.  To me, it meant, making an appointment and having a reading.
Initially, I considered consulting my tarot lady, Catherine.  I know she has had some health issues over the last year and so I didn't want to ask her to do a reading.  She has a friend, Audra, that I have used in the past and liked.  However, it felt weird seeking her out if I was unwilling to ask Catherine.  So, I reflected on my options.  Jan has a lady in Denver that she likes.  My friend, Brie, has spoken highly of her medium.  I texted Brie and asked for her information.  I looked at the website and made an inquiry.  That was Sunday and today, I have my reading.
I am stoked.  Sometimes, it can take months to arrange an appointment.  The first reading I had took two months to set up.  I remember being anxious before the phone call.  The man asked me a series of questions that did not apply to me.  After 8 minutes, he told me that he felt I should wait a year and consult someone else if I felt uncomfortable with approaching him again.  He tore up my check and I waited a year.  I respected that he was honest with me.  I mean, he could have sold me a pack of lies and I would have believed him.  My frame of mind at that point was fragile.  It was right after Brian died and I wanted to know that he was okay.  I was desperate to know that he was okay.
Eventually, I did have a reading with that man and it was positive and beneficial.  That experience will always remind me how much I enjoy a reading.
It feels right, too.  I can always use a little guidance.  It's my gypsy like lifestyle that demands it.  Til later.  Enjoy your day.  Be thankful for what makes you happy, healthy & thriving~

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Thinking of Fiji

Welcome to Fiji.  Four years ago this is where I began my adventure.  Actually, this was a few days after arriving in Nadi.  Voli Voli, Fiji.  We spent a few nights here and I was able to scuba dive.  I remember listening to Anne Murray and Dr. Hook.  Super nostalgic of family road trips and Brian.  My parents owned a van with an 8 track tape player.  I remember listening to the Stones, the Beatles and of course, Anne Murray.  Shadows in the Moonlight reminds me of the return road trip home from summers spent in Iowa.  Typically, we would spend two to three weeks in Iowa with my grandmothers.  My mom or dad would drive us up to Iowa and we would spend summer vacation with our cousins.  My great grandmother in Audubon fed us nonstop.  She made the best fried chicken and cinnamon rolls.  I remember one summer my mom telling grandma Emma that we would no longer be able to visit if she kept feeding us.
I miss the freedom of traveling.  Taking time to reflect on what is important in life and not so caught up in stress.  Making time to stop and smell the roses.  Yes, I miss traveling. It is always a new adventure and I am always inspired by new things.  For example, while on a train to Paris in July, I dreamed of learning Italian, traveling to Bordeaux to inhale wine or learning to sew.  Made me think--I need a hobby and asap.  
I am thankful for where I am at, today, too.  The weather is amazing in Arizona and there is endless possibility here.  I could take a pottery class, jewelry making class or take a yoga teacher training class.  I should do something.  I cannot just dream of traveling.
Fiji was the first stop of my amazing adventure.  Yes, I miss that trip.  I would love to return to Voli Voli for another scuba diving trip.  Til then, I have my photos to reminisce.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Dinner tonight with a rep and a supplier.  Delish!
It had been awhile in the making.  I think the original plan was to go to dinner early September.  How time flies.  We kept saying, this Tuesday.  No, next Tuesday.  What about the following Tuesday?  Finally, I was told, get ready.  We are meeting this week at 4:30.  I tried to explain that that wouldn't work.  I know that Justin is unable to get to work before 5.  I have worked with him for the past year.  He is a routine guy and so I pushed for a meet up of 5:30.  When that wasn't well-received, I opted to just agree to be late to the dinner.
I am the first to arrive.  I walk into the establishment and it reminds me of my days at Fifi's.  Old school charm, bad lighting and an obvious established joint.  I trust my friends to order.  In a way, I knew that I was being treated and so I wanted to see what they would order. In hindsight, I should have suggested a few items.  Like the prosciutto and melon dish instead of the artichoke.  Whole artichoke is difficult to ingest.  It's messy and time consuming.  I should have pushed for the melon and prosciutto.  Plus it reminded me of my time in Codroipo with Agnese and her family.  It was definitely nostalgic.
Instead, I settled for the artichoke.  Knowing, it was not a smart choice.  We started with artichoke, calamari (another bad decision....I am a student of solera and so any other calamari seems inferior), risotto balls and stuffed mushrooms.  Of the four, the risotto balls were the favorite.  The stuffed mushrooms were great.
We tried some bubbly and a sicilian wine.  Somewhat raisiny, chocolate and velvet.  Lisa chose chicken vesuvio and Brian insisted on a veal dish.  I could have passed on both.  I am not a huge fan of dark meat chicken.  Veal, well, not exactly a choice for me.  I ate tomatoes off of the veal dish and focused on the side of the pasta dish.  The appetizers were considerably better than the entrees.  In my defense, I would have chosen differently.  Still, wine was plentiful and the bread was excellent.
It did remind me of working in college at Fifi's.  Family restaurant, old-school, rich, soulful food.  Dinner was nostalgic.  Happy to have went and met my friends.  Next time, I push for what I want, though.

Insomnia and other thoughts...

Insomnia, again.  This time, I powered through it.  Drank some water and forced my mind to stop racing.  Lately, I think of work.  I obsess about how I can contribute more positive energy to it.  The last few nights have been never ending thoughts of work.  What is wrong with me?
I consider my present and my future.  I suppose that is why I obsess about work.  It is very present in my life.  I love many aspects of it.  There are some that are challenging, too.  I know if there weren't challenges, I would not be learning if that makes sense.  I just wish I could shut my mind off sometimes.    We'll see how it goes tonight.
This evening, I am meeting two of my favorite wine reps/suppliers for a meal.  I don't know how or why I got involved in this meal but from the start they included me.  We have been trying to dine at this established italian restaurant for about six weeks.  Each Tuesday something would come up delaying our meal.  Tonight it is sticking.  We will meet for drinks and appetizers.  Finally.
My intention was to get up, early, and go for a run.  However, when insomnia hit me at 3 am, I knew that running was out of the question.  That will have to wait for tomorrow.
I did manage to write a few thank you cards last night.  I have been thinking about it and got around to it.  I was semi-productive yesterday.  I made stirfry, read, arranged an appointment for a reading and wrote a few thank you cards.  This year for my birthday, I was surprised by a few of my co-workers.  They brought me wine and cupcakes.  Delicious!  Unexpected surprise.  I took the wine and cupcakes to San Diego and shared them with friends there.  Excellent surprise for sure.
The stirfry was tasty and it inspired me to cook at home more often.  I have been thinking pumpkin soup.  I ate incredible pumpkin, bean, corn stew in Chile.  I want to make my own version of the stew and soon.  Feels like fall, right?
It is time to greet the day.  I have errands to run, pre-work and then there is the lovely dinner tonight.  Life is grand~

Monday, October 8, 2012

Happy Monday

Happy Monday!  I had the day off yesterday and spent it with one of my co-workers.  We met to discuss some of the issues regarding work (of course).  I like Justin and so it was an easy day.  I took the bus to Old Town as I knew it would be a long day.  I didn't want to convince myself that I  would be okay after a few drinks.  Holiday weekend and all.
Plus, I like the idea of public transport.  It's easier in other cities but I still like the challenge of it.  I walked to the bus stop and waited for about twenty minutes.  That was trying.  While on the bus, one of the other riders entered the bus and sat next to me.  He reeked of cigarettes/booze.  I tried to not breathe.  Didn't work out too well.  Thankfully, he was only on the bus for a brief amount of time.
I arrived a few minutes before Justin and found that our designated spot was not open til 3.  I texted him to let him know and thought of a plan B.  Wine bar worked out well.  We talked about a few work things and then continued the bar hopping.  All the while, I was texting Lindsay to see how her delivery was going.  Her son was finally ready to make his debut.  She seemed so calm via text.  Although, Lindsay is always calm, practical, kind.  Finally, after 16 hours of labor, he arrived via c-section.  He's beautiful and healthy.  I can only wait to visit and meet him.
I returned home compliments of one of my co-workers.  She saved me $30 in cab fare or waiting to take the bus home.  As much as I do enjoy public transport the idea of riding home on the bus was not something to look forward to.  I was so grateful that Hillary offered to give me a ride home.
I made dinner.  Of course, Justin and I enjoyed a few snacks.  We tried mac and cheese, tuna and bruschetta.  I really wanted these truffle fries at the wine bar but somehow we never managed to order them.
I made pasta and then went to bed.  At 2:20, I woke up.  Damn insomnia!  I was up til 6 unable to fall back asleep.  As such, my day off is lazy now.  I skipped yoga, tried to arrange a massage and see a siesta in my near future.  I am fairly certain that I told some of my co-workers that I would meet them for drinks later.  I am considering turning my phone off to avoid correspondence.
I have been watching this show on hulu--totally, my lazy type of day.  It's fascinating.  What would happen if we no longer had electricity?  How would you sustain your livelihood?  What hard copies of memories would you have available to you?  That is what completely stuck out to me.  I have photos of Brian and my life together.  I have few available on line since I didn't have a digital camera at that point in my life.
I think of how little water I have on hand.  Or the supply factor or lack thereof.  Yes, what would life be like without electricity?  How would we stay in constant contact with our lives?  I wake up and check my e-mail and facebook.  I haven't written a letter or thank you card in a few months.  I have forgotten how much I enjoy written correspondence.  After watching a few episodes, I am inspired to write a note, learn to sew or a new skill.
And, I will.  Time to greet the day~

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Here's to you Jean~

Toasting my friend, Jean.  We met in 2000 in a spanish class while attending college together.  It was an 8:30 am, daily class, that I rarely missed.  Hungover, or not, I always managed to show up for class.
She approached me one day after class to see if I would be interested in meeting her for a beer.  I think my exact words were--I am underage and have no fake i.d.  This didn't stop her.  She said, that's okay, you can come over to my house.  This led to the beginning of a beautiful friendship and mutual love of bloody mary's.
Every time we meet we always find time to seek out a delicious cocktail.  I think one of my favorites was at a local bar near her lake house in southern Washington.  My friend, Jan, and I met her for a few days while we dogsat for my sister, Michaela.  Jean graciously invited us up to her lake house and we spent one of the days hiking and barhopping.  We stopped in this town and ordered bloody mary's.  The bartender asked us if we were interested in the bacon flavored vodka option.  We declined a full one but did try the bacon vodka with a little bit of tomato mix.  Delish~
The regular bloody mary was fantastic.  Spicy, full of horse radish and chock full of veggies.  Also, a nice memory to think about when I think of my friends.  The trip to Oregon/Washington was excellent.  Finally, Jean met Jan, two important ladies in my life that I have wanted to meet for some time.
Last week, I was walking around PB and made a stop to seek out a superb concoction.  I thought of Jean and ordered a bloody mary.  Could have been spicier.  Otherwise, it hit the spot.
I hope to meet up with her in November.  I do love Seattle and it's been a few years since my last visit.
Happy Thursday.  What are you celebrating today?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

day off

Insomnia.  No bueno.  I woke up at 3:30 and was unable to fall back asleep til 6.  I think I woke up at ten to compensate for my lack of sleep.  It truly messes with my day when I do not get a full night of sleep.  Instead of going to yoga, I opted to do laundry and chores around my house.  Yes, it's necessary but I feel more productive after the hour flow class at my yoga studio.  I am unmotivated to do much of anything today.  Damn insomnia.
Yesterday, I went to yoga, followed by lunch and then wine tasting.  I think I will alternate Tuesdays with one of co-workers so that I can work 5 shifts every other week.  I like to work and it feels weird to have three days off.  If I have three days off, I want to go somewhere.  I recognize this pattern from the amount of trips I have taken this year.  Anytime I have three days off, I think it is right to fly to Denver, drive to San Diego or visit Jonny in Mexico.  It is my way of enjoying life.
As such, yoga was essential.  I like the instructor and her selection of music.  She has a soothing demeanor and always changes up her flow.  Afterwards, I decided to stop by a nearby restaurant and eat a sandwich.  I knew I would be wine tasting later but that didn't stop me from ordering a glass of wine with lunch.  Actually, I did order a glass of wine in a roundabout way.  I told the bartender that water would be fine until my lunch arrived.  At which point, I would order a glass of wine, I implied.
He brought my sandwich and walked away.  I didn't want to beg for a glass of wine and so I waited.  And waited.  And waited.  All the while picking at the cubano sandwich.  The bread was delicious, I love mustard, pickles and bacon.  The ham I could do without.  There was a fair amount of it on the sandwich, too.  Anyways, when I have, maybe, three bites left, the bartender asks--oh, did you want a glass of wine?
I decline, pay the tab and head into work.  I had to put together the liquor order, figure out the schedule and wine taste.  Best part of the entire day.  Well, not really.  Yoga was excellent as well. The wine tasting was the cherry on top of my day.  I found a few wines that were delish and finished my day by cooking supper.
Great day off til insomnia hit at 3 a.m.  My mind races with odd visions, dreams, situations.  I watch a show on-line to try to settle myself down.  Finally, I was able to sleep at 6.
Yes, i am lazy today.  I suppose it is needed after my mini-trip to San Diego.  I might start journaling my dreams.  Last night was odd.  Dreams of work, trees, spilling beer....odd, to say the least.  Having a journal might help me figure out why I am anxious about these things.
Til then, have a lovely Wednesday.  I have been thinking, a lot, about travel~

Monday, October 1, 2012

Monday Memory

This is me...last Friday at Pacific Beach. I sent a text to a few of my close friends with the caption--this is me at my office.  I know, I am a brat.  I don't care.  It felt amazing to be walking on the beach on Friday afternoon.  Sure, water was a tad bit cold.  I saw several people kite surfing, wind sailing and surfing.  The cold did not seem to bother them.
I kept thinking, I should learn to surf.  Maybe next time at the coast.  Friday, I lingered on the beach and walked around Pacific Beach. Amazing.  Concluded my day with a bloody mary and bar-hopped later with Tommy, Michael and Robert.  Birthday success story for sure.
This week, I hope to return to running, go to yoga and be a little healthier in the food department.  Lately, I have been careless with what I am eating.  I would prefer dining on veggies, whole grains and no fried foods.  My love of chips and salsa sort of derails that insight; however, I have been munching on fries at work as they are accessible.  I wish we had better munchie food at work.  Last night, I discovered the beauty of creating my own sandwich and pairing it with a salad.  I see many variations of chicken sandwiches in my work future.
Til then....enjoy your day!  Yoga, lunch and possibly a brief visit to work are on my Monday's agenda.  I can still dream of the beach,,,,

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Mini trip to San Diego

I love San Diego.  I spent a few days there and in spite of the return drive back straight to work, it was worth it.  Every minute spent on the beach and in that city.  It's soothing, relaxing and the weather is well basically amazing.
I drove from work Thursday afternoon.  I was determined to arrive by 9 pm.  Of course, traffic, sort of intervened with my plans.  I made it by 9:30.  Once there, I drove to my friend's house only to find that no one was there.  Crap!  My phone was on the verge of dying, I was hungry and I couldn't get in to his house. Thankfully, he texted that his roommate was, in fact, at home.  I made it inside and drank some wine.  I relaxed and waited for Tommy to appear.  I sort of figured that that night would be low key.  We caught up over chips and salsa and wine.
Friday, he went to work and I walked around to find food.  There was this lovely breakfast place that Shari and I found in February.  Of course, I couldn't remember the name of the place of even where it was.  Only that it was near PB.  I walked up to the Starbuck's and asked the kid if he knew what I was talking about.  He knew of the street not the name of the restaurant.  I thought I paid attention to his directions til I ended up about a mile and a half in the wrong direction.  Classic blonde move.
Regardless, I made my way back towards Garnet and found several eateries.  I wanted the one that I went to with Shari.  I found it.  Isabel's.  I did consider checking out a cafe next to it.  Still, the allure of the initial breakfast remained with me.  I entered the restaurant and selected a breakfast burrito.  Super clean food.  Healthier than I wanted.  A tad bit hungover and I would have preferred a greasier, decadent burrito.  Next time.
After coffee and breakfast, I made my way to the beach.  Glorious!  If I lived in San Diego I would go to the beach daily.  Those were my thoughts as I walked on the beach.  However, quickly, I realized that the majority of the other people on the beach were tourists.
I considered walking up to La Jolla but nixed it.  Instead, I bought a few postcards and another magnet.  The one I bought at christmas broke a few weeks ago.  Eventually, I found my way to a fantastic bloody mary.  My friend, Jean, and I always have a bloody mary.  I was thinking of her and so I found a place to enjoy one.  I called Tommy to see how his car was and made my way back to his house. I wanted to shower off some of the sandy beach before heading out to dinner.
I had grand ideas of how to spend my last night in San Diego.  Tommy and his friends wanted to bar hop.  So, that is what we did.  I still was able to enjoy some tasty deliciousness.  Proscuitto wrapped asparagus, tuna, truffle fries---delish!
The end of the night, I played pool with Tommy's friend, Robert, aka, pool shark.  He totally hustled a few guys since I was his partner.  Not for money, but pride.  I was a little uncomfortable as I could see where the situation was heading and I didn't want any part of it.  I am all for friendly games, not being a competitive asshole to make a point.  I hadn't played pool in years and so it was fun.
The next morning, I woke up and not looking forward to the drive home or work.  Still, it was worth it.  I am so glad that I opted to drive to California and spend a day and a half in San Diego.  It was awesome!  Next time, though, I will find a new restaurant to frequent.  That was my goal of the trip.  Yet, it went sideways.....

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Happy Birthday, Brian~

Remembering the love of my life, today, as he would have been 30.  I can only imagine what his life would have been like today.  He was such an adrenaline junkie, I am sure, that he would have convinced me to go skiing with him by this point.  Or, rock climbing, kayaking, mountain biking.  Hopefully, I would have been able to convince him to accompany me to Santa Fe or Napa.  We had a give and take relationship filled with love and respect for each other.  I miss him, more and more, everyday.
I plan on eating chocolate.  I remember one of our first dates.  He carried my back pack, filled with a blanket, champagne, glasses and chocolate.  We hiked part of a trail at White Ranch and set up camp.  We talked about the future while drinking champagne.  Always the romantic.  So, in honor to celebrate today, I am finding the best chocolate to toast Brian, his essence and love of life.  Also, I will drink champagne tomorrow.
Celebrate & Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


I met Sara for a quick glass of wine after the rehearsal dinner.  I missed her and wanted to hang out with her in spite of the fact that I should have been smart and went to sleep.  I opted for fun.
The next morning, we stopped for coffee before she dropped me off for my ten a.m. hair appointment.  While at the coffee shop, again, I was presented with the choice of being good or bad.  I could do the smart thing and snack on yogurt or a bran muffin, even.  Instead, I saw a breakfast burrito and felt--yippie, exactly what I want.
I inhale the deliciousness and Sara dropped me off for my appointment.  I told the guy to do whatever he felt like.  I had not decided on whether or not my hair would look better up or down.  And, there was the tattoo on my neck that I love, but, didn't think that Rob's parents would appreciate.  The stylist opted for up and to the side.  In all fairness, it actually, looked quite nice.  Lovely, in fact.  He straightened it and then made ringlets.  Hair finished and so I checked into my room at the hotel.  I knew, according to the itinerary, that I would need to grab my shoes and be ready to head to the wedding by noon.
The limo was late due to traffic.  We had cava to drink which would help us relax.  The wedding ceremony went by quick.  They were sweet to each other.  As Rob choked up while reciting his vows, Jenn wiped away his tears. I almost cried.
The wedding party assembled into the limo to head back to Denver.  We had some bubbly.  The a/c did not work and the stereo had turrets.  It was a comedy of errors and we were the captive audience.  We all scrambled to exit the limo and breathe in fresh air.  A few tang shots later and we arrived at the reception.  There was an hour to relax before the rest of the guests were scheduled to arrive.  I found Jimmy in the tavern.  I wanted to make sure that he would be attending the festivities.  Sometimes, he can be a flake.  I wanted him to accompany me to the wedding since he knew my friends and I knew he would dance.
We were introduced to the guests before being seated at the head table.  They served us salad, sorbet and then the main course.  I had chosen chicken as opposed to the surf and turf option.  All through dinner, I was preoccupied knowing that my speech was around the corner. I wrote my MOH speech while sitting at a wine bar in Denver.  I felt okay about it but I had some anxiety.  I am not the most comfortable person in public speaking type of environments.
After my duties were completed, I felt relief.  I drank wine and danced.  I remember watching the cutting of the cake but I did not go near the cake after that point. Instead, I frequented the photo booth with the the bridesmaids, Jimmy and a few other characters.  I danced and enjoyed myself.  The wedding was hugely successful.  When it started to wind down, I convinced Jimmy that we should go see Steve at his bar.  We cab over and I don't know the door guy.  Typically, this wouldn't be an issue but I didn't have my i.d. with me.  I pull the whole--I know the owner bit and knew how foolish it sounded.  This door guy is doing his job and I was the idiot who forgot my i.d.
Still, I tried it.  I didn't have my phone either to rectify the situation.  Thankfully, one of the servers walked up and said, let her in, she's one of Steve's good friends....thank goodness for that.
One or two chimays later and the night concluded.  Jimmy was ready to go and I wanted to catch a ride in the cab.  He dropped me off and I considered having one last glass of wine.  Nothing was open.  I really did appreciate that the next morning.  I woke up feeling much better having made that decision.
I forgot to mention how wonderful the hotel room was.  Beautiful room, king sized bed and a keurig coffee maker.  That was amazing!  I was sad that I had to check out of my room and head to the brunch.  I definitely could have enjoyed a few more hours in the room.  The coffee maker, alone, was worth it.
I arrived at the brunch site and made my way to the open table.  It was open seating and several people had arrived.  As much as I had wanted to linger in the hotel room, I was glad to have arrived early.  I was able to say goodbye to David and his wife, Angela.  I tried to avoid drinking a mimosa or a shot and was able to delay it for about an hour.  There were many people moving in and out of the venue.  I could avoid the obligatory shot if I didn't stay in one place too long.
I ended up staying way longer than I had anticipated.  I like several of Jen and Rob's friends and had not been able to catch up with them.  Or, even, really talk to Jenn or Rob.  They had a lot of stuff to contend with as well.  Eventually, I disengaged and walked back to the hotel to collect my luggage.  I am glad that I made an effort to be part of their special day.  I was thankful to have planned on seeing some other friends while in Denver, too.  5 days in Denver inflicted some damage on my health.  As such, tonight is a low key evening.  Grateful for that~
Enjoy your night~

Recap of wedding weekend

Five days in liver barely survived.  I am exaggerating, a little, to create more drama than occurred.  I arrived on Wednesday and met up with a dear friend, Brie.  I had a bachelorette party to attend to later in the evening but some freedom before the itinerary kicked in.  My friend who was getting married had a wedding planner and an itinerary that he was determined to stick to.  I am all for schedules but wanted some free time too.
It was lovely to spend time with Brie and catch up on what is going on her life.  I have known her since 2003.  We used to work together and of course there is always that to reflect on in addition to all of the other times we met up for drinks and/or food.  I felt fortunate that she had time to see me before the wedding agenda kicked in.  We had a few glasses of wine and some appetizers before I headed to the wine dinner/bachelorette party.  The wine flowed and the other bridesmaids and I listened to Jenn discuss the next few days.  We sampled calamari, crab cakes, pork, fish and a few other courses.  Basically, we were lavished with food.  I had arranged the dinner by contacting a friend and telling him what we would need.  Essentially, I said--food and wine, and he took it from there.  It was delicious and I felt it was appreciated by all.
Thursday morning, I arrived at the hotel to have a manicure and pedicure.  Jenn took care of those services and drinks.  I chose a peach drink and shrimp cocktail.  I thought we would share the appetizers with everyone and so I didn't order another crab cake.  That seemed to be the chose of everyone that attended.  I was a little surprised when we didn't share.  Oh well, the shrimp was fantastic.  I felt healthier, too.
I considered choosing a deep shade of red for my nails but nixed it when I realized that I would look like a christmas tree.  Instead, I went with brown.  For some reason, it made sense to me and I was happy with the results.  Sticking to the itinerary, post spa session, we hurried off to Boettcher Mansion for the rehearsal.  There was some confusion as to how to get to the rehearsal space.  One guy had a mini cooper that he claimed would take four passengers.  We did try this, briefly.  I knew that being bunched up in the back seat would be uncomfortable for me quickly.  I returned to the car pick up area and asked Jenn who else was driving to the space.  She said there is a minivan or you can take the car that shuttles guests to and from destinations that the hotel has.  I was uninterested in that option and as I looked around I noticed one of the other groomsmen about to head west.  I rush up, knock on his window, and ask if I can drive with him.  He agreed and it was one of the best decisions I made of the weekend.  This guy, David, is from Omaha.  We began the awkward conversation of how do you know Jenn and Rob and discovered that we both had grandmothers in small towns in Iowa that were near each other.  David looked at me and said, I knew there was a reason that I liked you.  From that point on, we were friends.
At dinner that night, I met his wife and immediately liked her too.  She reminded me of one of my cousin's wives.  Gorgeous, gracious and kind.  I so enjoyed meeting David and Angela.
Dinner that night was coursed.  Salad, fish, dessert with wine choices.  I knew that bartender and so our food was served, first, from the start.  Plus, my glass was full the entire rehearsal dinner.  I so enjoy having connections from previous jobs.  I sat with two of the other bridesmaids and their spouses.  I enjoyed it.  I wanted to know more about them.  Each of the girls represented a different time of Jenn's life.  In some ways we were all similar--kind, gracious, somewhat quiet--it seemed.  We all were outspoken, fun and crazy, too.  Over the course of three days, I discovered it.  I must conclude this for now.  Working, finally.  Yesterday, I went to a trade show and poured wine for one of my suppliers.  It was great.  I met many people in the industry.  The only downside is that my liver could use a break from the wedding weekend.  I plan on relaxing and getting a great night of sleep tonight.  I need it.  My body requires it~