Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Day off

Happy Tuesday!  It's beer week in AZ and lots of activities are happening around the Valley.  Saturday was busy for us and today we are tapping only beers from Arizona on tap.  Should be fun and I am looking forward to it.  I know that I should postpone the mandatory Tuesday wine tasting but am for the challenge of it.  We'll see how it all shakes out.  On Saturday there is a beer and bike activity that I wish I could attend.  However, work precedes fun that morning.  Shari arrives that night.  Must work before she arrives.
In other news....I had the opportunity to either go running or yoga and skipped both activities.  My running partner did not contact me til this morning which made that a moot point and the yoga instructor at the seven o'clock class is the one that I see the most frequently.  I like her but think some of her transitions could be smoother.  Yesterday I completely checked out of the class with ten minutes left.  I looked around and noted that 75% of the class was not following her series of flow.  Instead they were either in child's pose or standing up doing their own thing.  She doesn't always lead the transitions well.  I found that I had lost focus and needed to leave.  I showered and headed out to greet the rest of the day.
I considered meeting Jan for happy hour somewhere.  Had every intention of doing just that but our schedules did not correlate.  I returned home and fell asleep.  Sleeping only four hours the previous night had taken its toll.  Throw in some yoga and it concluded with me waking up to slobber on my pillow.  Nice, right? 
Today, work demands attention.  Maybe a wine tasting or two...undecided.  Either way, this morning is considered a fail since I postponed working out (gladly).  I think Jeff and I will try to meet up later in the week to tackle an a.m. run.  Or, I have found someone to hike Camelback with and I am looking forward to that.  I cannot believe that I have lived in this state, twice, and not once hiked Camelback.  I think I am always put off by the parking situation.  Squaw Peak is more inviting or South Mountain seems to welcome me. 
I am doing it this week--with or without my new hiking/running partner.  Anyways, enjoy today with or without a beverage in hand.  I foresee an AZ beer at the end of my day~

Monday, February 20, 2012

Monday Memory

Playa del Carmen, September 27th, 2005.  Post scuba trip in Cozumel with Brian.

Sunday, February 19, 2012


Laundry done...check...it is Sunday.  I think this is my preferred day to do it.  However, I don't understand why people wait to do 8+ loads at a time. It sucks carting it into the laundromat, unloading it, assembling machines (hopefully in a row), drying (same wish for similar area), folding, and taking home.  I think these people are nuts.  It annoys me since they monopolize machines, carts and areas. No, I am more of a two, maybe, three load build up.  I despise the laundromat and the least amount of time spent there the better.
Typically, I wait around for the washer to finish and then head to Safeway to stock up on supplies.  Today, the task was wine restock.  Shari is visiting next weekend and I want to be prepared.  More likely, I am embaressed by how few bottles I have in stock.  I have been reading a wine book and am inspired to increase my stock and add variety to my selection.  That is the reason I went wine shopping today.  Plus, Safeway has a 30% off wine sale thru the 29th--I think.  Yes, this motivates me to stock up on wine, too.
Made quick lunch--scrambled eggs with peppers, onions, tomatoes and cheese.  I tried to make it into a burrito (of sorts) but my wheat tortillas are terrible.  They suck.  Noted and will not make that mistake again. 
After lunch, I went for a run and thought about the month and what February represents to me.  Life, love, loss, celebration. I thought of Shari's trip and I am excited for it.  Always, excited to see Shari.  But, the reason for her visit is because Brian died on February 28th and each year, we celebrate his life in a different city.  We honor who he was and how he continues to touch our lives, respectively.  Acknowledging that fact makes me sad.  I remember Shari e-mailing me and saying she is having a hard time focusing right now and I do know why.  It's February and this sucks.  Also, this year, would have marked ten years together for Brian and me. 
Yes, February is difficult in a different way each year.  I think, for me, I find yoga this time of year to help inspire reflection and releasing some of the buildup of feelings.  I don't know. I am just rambling now.  I can acknowledge that the running and yoga have definitely helped me stay centered and not drown in the grief of February.
Plus, I know, that we will have an incredible meal and memory to reflect back on in later years.  And, I know there will be a walkabout where I get us lost and we end up detouring for 8-10 miles.  Always an adventure and I am glad that Shari puts up with me and my lack of direction. 
I am well, just melancholy, i suppose.  Still, enjoy your Sunday, however you choose to spend the rest of it.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

late Monday Memory

Three years ago, these lovely ladies from high school met up with me in Phoenix.  I had some wild hair of an idea to have a mini-reunion and they obliged.  I did tell them that Phoenix was too comfortable for me.  I still had friends that lived in the city and that that would be tempting, too.
Still, we spent three days touring the city--botannic gardens, Taliesen West, Piestywa Peak and dining.  I wanted to accomodate all of their needs and some of my own.  The foodie factor was my priority and there was some shopping.  This photo was taken at the outdoor lounge bar at the Phoenician.  I love this bar and it reminds me that I should visit and soon.  Maybe when Shari is here in a few weeks.  It's funny.  I remember someone saying we should try to do it three years from then.  It seems like yesterday when we were posing for this photo. 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Recently in my life

It's been a week since my last posting.  What has kept me from posting?  Work, some yoga, a mini-trip to San Diego. 
Yep, I ventured west to the beautiful city of San Diego.  Glorious!  Last Friday, work concluded early which enabled ample amounts of sleep and an early morning road trip.  I grabbed a coffee, put gas in my car and got on the road. Seemed so natural to just keep going.  I texted my friend that lives out there, hoping, that he would be able to restaurant hop with me. 
I didn't hear anything back from him til 7 pm that night.  Right about the time I went on-line to find how far some of the restaurants that I wanted to check out.  He was sick and had slept about 24 hours.  I was disappointed but determined to check out some of the eateries. 
Prior to texting him, I had lunch at Hash House A Go Go.  Huge amounts of food and delightful cocktails.  I walked up to the establishment fearful that the wait would be long.  I asked the girl if there was available bar dining and she said there was but that they had a list for that, too.  She checked the inside and seated me immediately.  I would love to return to check out some of their other offerings.  I had a three egg omelette with sausage, onion and avocado.  It was gigantic.  I tried to eat as much as I possibly could and drank a few cocktails in the process.  Loved the cocktail offerings, too.
After lunch, I walked to the Ocean Beach pier and took in my surroundings.  Tourists and locals, alike, were enjoying the pier.  I saw a few kids fishing with their fathers/grandfathers and people flying kites.  It was a lovely afternoon.
Walking back I stopped in a wine shop which I found out later was one of the top spots to drink wine.  Somehow, everything always falls into place when I travel.
Anyways, I showered and waited for my friend to respond to one of my texts regarding dinner.  I had researched a few spots that looked interesting--a tapas place, Italian place and a place known for divine California cuisine.  I wanted to check out the spot in La Jolla but the cab ride factored in if I was solo dining.  After hearing from Tommy, I decided to stay in the Beach Cities.  I checked out the tapas place and one of the Italian eateries.  I think I was in the mood for italian after the wine tasting I attended recently.  Still, the place I truly wanted to check out did not offer bar dining.  The prospect of sitting at a table alone was not even remotely appealing.  I checked that place off my list and focused on other available options. 
The tapas place was lively.  Loads of people, great energy and exuded fun.  There was one seat at the bar when I walked in.  The spanish bartender approached me and handed me a menu.  It reminded me of Za Zu in Napa but that place was incredible.  This place was so-so.  I tried octopus and spicy potatoes while drinking a tempranillo that was corked.  When I mentioned it to the bartender, he told me that that was how it was supposed to taste.
That is probably what soured my opinion of the place and meal.  Plus there was a foursome that was loud and overbearing.  I wanted to tell them to shut up.  I restrained myself, though.  Paid the check and headed to a different italian place a block away.  They had bar seating and I was in the mood for another glass of wine and something to eat.  Better vibe and attentive service.  The bartender tasted me on a few wines before I selected a zinfandel.  Beautiful wine.
I tried zucchini with housemade burrata.  They probably could have had more zucchini to complement the massive amount of cheese on the plate.  Not complaining, I did enjoy the burrata.  I followed with a side of bowtie pasta with a bolognese sauce.  It was okay.  The portion was huge for a side.
I paid the check and headed back to my hotel.  Early night to ensure a pleasant morning drive back to Phoenix.  I woke up, early, showered, grabbed a coffee and was on the road by 8.  Skipped the breakfast burrito (foolishly) and headed east.  Crazy foggy weather for about the first hour of the drive.  Eventually, it burned off and I greeted the sun when I crossed the border.
I was preoccupied with the trip, yoga and work.  I am back, now, and inspired to reflect on life and travel.  The best part of my venture to San Diego was realizing that it is an easy drive and that I will be doing it more often.  In fact, in two weeks, I will be returning to celebrate an anniversary.  I always celebrate this date and each year, it's been in a different place. I am excited to see what San Diego and Temecula have to offer.
Tommy offered to drive Shari and me around while we are in town.  Thankfully, that area is settled.  I did enjoy the hired car my last visit.  Think a cab is just as convenient.  I did tell Shari that I had an idea for our typical 8 mile walkabout that we will be doing. 
I still need to arrange some lodging and figure out more restaurants to check out.  I see a fish taco in my future as well as a breakfast burrito while walking along the beach.  I cannot wait!
Til then, I will continue my regimen of yoga, running and focusing on my health.  Life is grand~

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Tuesday dinner

Detoxing for a few days.  My liver needs a break.  Well, that sounds more extreme than it really is.  I am taking a few days off for reflection and a true return to yoga.  I purchased a 50 pack and believe that that was my best option instead of signing up for a month to month membership.  I start off with a good intention of going to class 5 times a week.  By the third month, typically, I find a way to decrease the 3-4 times a week (not five, see) to maybe once a week.  That $8 class due to frequenting studio turns into a $40 class.  It always happens this way for me.  I do enjoy yoga but I find myself in a rut when the routine class stays the same.  I feel obligated to go since my unlimited pass is in effect.  Vicious cycle. I think the package will help me get through the ruts and motivate me to go when I want to go instead of feeling like I have to go if that makes sense.
I went to a portfolio tasting on Monday and fell in love with a few of the Barolo's.  Divine.  Afterwards, I arranged to go running with my running partner on Tuesday.  I had a feeling that I would be backing out of the running date and I did.  Only after Jonny texted me to tell me that he was on his way to Phoenix.  I wanted to treat him to dinner, finally, for his birthday.  We have tried to make this happen and somehow it always derails.  I was determined to make it happen.  Plus, I bought new shoes that wreaked havoc on my feet.  I forgot how challenging it can be to break in a new pair of shoes.  Ouch!
Jonny and I walked up to the light rail to head into Phoenix.  Honestly, best way to get around the city.  I love the addition of the light rail.  I wanted a glass of wine before getting on the train.  We walked up to a wine bar and of course, it was closed for a private function.  Denied.  Bummed but I had a back up in place.   There is a lovely mexican restaurant with chambord margaritas.  We had one and then made our way to the train. 
Forty-five minutes later, we reached our destination.  Sat at the outdoor bar and began the foodie venture with parmesean risotto.  Delightful.  With brussel sprouts, cippilino onions, parmesean and pancetta.  I loved it.  Didn't want to share it, honestly.  I knew Jonny wanted a steak and so we followed the risotto with hangar steak and a quinoa romaine salad.  I enjoyed the steak but wanted him to enjoy his birthday dinner.  I devoured the quinoa salad.
We drank wine and chitchatted with the bartender.  Eventually, he mentioned that he had just moved from Denver.  Immensely nostaglic we all talked about the neighborhoods in the city.  I miss walking around the mile high city and stopping into random eateries and finding new neighborhood gems.  A trip to Denver in the spring seems likely.
I am so glad that I chose to check out the restaurant again.  I had went there for lunch and had a lovely meal but this time, I had opportunity to explore more of the menu and truly take in the space.  Loved it.
The only downside was the ride back to Tempe.  Long, monotonous and boring.  Really long.  Still, it is the best way to tour the city.  It gave us lots of time to discuss the meal and try to go to another bar in Phoenix.  Unfortunately, that one closed at ten during the week.  Another time.
I am taking a break from wine.  Increasing the yoga factor and running, too.  Too bad there isn't another yoga class that I can attend before heading into work today.  There is always tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Monday Memory

Lovely memory.  Belize.  A year ago.  View from the hotel.  Daily, Shari and I would retire to the rooftop hot tub and watch the sunset.  Beautiful.
This year, we are visiting San Diego and Temecula.  Maybe Carlsbad, too.  Still uncertain on that fact.  Originally, I thought I would only have a few days off to explore California.  I reconsidered.  Why shorten my trip with Shari to work one shift? 
I cannot wait to see a San Diego sunset.  Til then, I will enjoy this memory.

Friday, February 3, 2012

friday thoughts

Upcoming ventures.  It always goes back to that.  I envisioned a trip to San Diego, tomorrow, told myself it was going to happen and believed it.  Until, I remembered the super bowl is Sunday.  Meaning, I must go into work earlier than anticipated.  I would have to leave San Diego by 8ish to make it happen. 
Not much of a trip and so I am postponing it until next week--I think.  I really want to check out a few eateries and the ocean is always inviting.  I looked at spots in Temecula to stay and know that wherever Shari and I end up, it will be fun filled and an excellent way to celebrate the anniversary this year.  She flies out Saturday and will be here thru Thursday.  I hope to spend three days in California and two in Phoenix.  There might be a brief stopover in Havasu, too, to see the movie guy--aka--RV guy.  I am interested in seeing how he is doing and catching up, too.  Havasu is on the way back, kind of.
There are other trips that i see in my future and know will happen.  I enjoy travel, seeing friends, dining, wine and catching up as noted in this blog.  I love spending time with friends and find myself, this year, in a quandry.  I have some priority travel and that demands my attention and other travel that I would like to pursue.  I remain uncertain as to how much time I can take off is all.  I would love to do more but think I will be limited to a certain degree.  I suppose the solution is that people can visit me.  The summers really aren't that hot...it's a dry heat...or so they say.
Really, I recognize I can only make myself happy.  There will always be some level of disappointment of not having enough time to spend with others.  Also, my idea of travel does not always line up with others' idea of vacation.  Sure it would be great to go to Denver in June, but there is a trip to Chicago or a marathon in San Diego that take precedence for me.  It's all about balance. 
I know that it will all work out in the end.  Sure, I miss San Diego tomorrow, but there is always next week.  Enjoy your weekend.  Since I am delaying my trip to Cali, I see a yoga class/hike in my Saturday routine.  I just want to get out and enjoy the sunshine.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Reflecting on Jean's visit

It's been two weeks since Jean's visit, the mexican adventure and pedicure.  It seems like yesterday, really, that Jean and I were drinking bloody mary's in Rocky Point.  Fun times, indeed. 
I have been preoccupied with work and as a result, neglected blogging.  I realized, this morning, that I made some mention of recounting the mexican adventure in a recent post and then it hang there.  Til now. 
I have driven to Rocky Point, multiple times, in the last year.  Jean had not been there since 2000.  So the drive down was interesting as we encountered smaller and smaller towns along the route.  I stopped at the duty free store before crossing the border.  There was one car in front of us.  I pull up and wait for the questions.  I never know what I am going to be asked.  Questions range from--why are you going to Rocky Point?  Who are you visiting?  Why does your friend own a bar in Mexico?  How long are you staying?
This time, however, the agent bid us adieu and we were on our way.  I drove straight to Jonny's bar.  Sonoita is a small border town an hour from Rocky Point.  There are numerous shops, stands and gas stations as you drive through the town.  I have stopped a few times to check out the souvenir factor and eaten at a taco stand, too.  Yes, I do enjoy fare from stands.
Anyways, we drive to Jon's bar.  Hug, small talk and he ushered us inside so that he could attend to some other work related tasks.  That night we spent the majority of it at Jon's bar.  Shared shrimp caribe and a few other appetizers while hanging out with Jonny.  He is the king of shots.  I never do shots unless I am spending time with him.  I prefer drinking wine or beer.  The shot factor does not accompany wine very well. 
Regardless, we close the bar down, early.  The next morning, we wake up and it is beautiful outside.  Jon lives two blocks from the ocean and the view is stunning.  I envision a walk on the beach. 
I wanted to show Jean more of the town and so we venture out to the Malecon area and check out some of the souvenir shops, restaurants, bars and of course, the beach.  Few tourists were in town and so we had little problem with parking.  The vendors were a bit much, though.  Afterwards, we returned to Jon's house and walked on the beach.  The beach always inspires reflection for me.  I could have spent more time on the beach, but we had arranged to meet up with Jonny, Teddy and Donna--some of Jon's friends.
Jonny drove us to Cholla Bay, Pelican Point and eventually, we had a cocktail at JJ's.  Lazy day spent checking out sights and toasting sunset at Sandy Beach.  Relaxing vacay and fun or so I would like to think.  I miss spending time with Jean.  She is impulsive, spontaneous and friendly.  I swear, she always knows everyone at the bar/restaurant within a half hour. 
Saturday, we woke up, and both craved fish tacos.  Actually, I had my heart set on a burrito from this one stand that I frequent while in Mexico.  Delightful carne asado burrito that had my name on it.  Unfortunately, they were not open on Saturday.  What?
I knew of a place that had fish tacos and it was conveniently located on the way out of town.  We walk in and Jean ordered two fish tacos.  They were breaded and since she has a gluten allergy, we tried to communicate that we wanted two tacos without breading.  They make two more tacos that have breading on it. 
I ate two of the tacos and Jean had a cole slaw taco.  Too funny.  She took lemons and made lemonade of sorts.  I drove us back to Phoenix with one stop in Ajo.  A bloody mary sounded delicious.  A little challenging to find one in the old mining town.  The bowling alley provided a bloody and people watching.   Had we had longer, I think, I would have suggested a quick game of bowling.  Why not?  Could have been an excellent memory.  That and the 70's feel of the place and music from a lounge. 
The last night of Jean's visit was spent in Phoenix.  We dined with Jan and Tom and then retired to Tempe for the evening.  Opened some wine and chilled for the night.  It was fitting.  Tom wanted to do a bonfire but I knew if that happened, I would wake up in the west valley.  Bonfires at their house tend to last hours.  And, I am selfish.  I wanted to hang out with Jean.  I wanted to reminisce on all of our stories without having to explain the significance to others.  What is funny to us isn't necessarily funny to others.
I think this visit was exactly what she needed.  A brief vacation to the beach.  Laughter.  Joy and some shots--darn that Jonny~