Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Oregon Wedding

I think this is the best photo that I captured of Michaela.  Fitting that it's with my brother-in-law, Tab.  Love that Michaela is drinking water, too.  I think Jade put her on water restrictions fairly early to help her sustain.  Sisterly love.
I woke up Saturday and attended a yoga class.  It was a traditional flow class with emphasis on core work.  I walk in to the studio and am surrounded by women.  No mirrors (anywhere) and wait for the class to start.  I did enjoy the flow aspect but the set up of the studio was odd.  Like I mentioned, no mirrors and instead of having us all face one way there was a row of women facing the rest of us.  I didn't like that at all.  It seemed odd.
After the class, I returned to Michaela's house and made myself toast and an egg.  My dad had taken off to go shopping with Easton and since I had a rental car, I could do whatever I pleased.  I found cava for the reception and found a nail salon to clean up my toes.  Yes, it was necessary.  I needed a pedicure in a big way.
I relaxed is what I am trying to say.  Typically, that doesn't happen around family events for me.  Normally, I am on edge and cleaning something.  Or perhaps that was just childhood related.  I can remember a number of times before a dance recital where everyone was on edge.  I can feel the stress, right now, just thinking about it.
Anyways, it was a leisurely day for me.  Rental car ensured that. 
We met at Michaela's at 5 for the family photos.  A few outside, inside and then guests arrived.  The ceremony was short and sweet.  I enjoyed the message that the minister gave.  It reminded me of an anniversary present that Brian gave to me one year.  How to enjoy a relationship with a recipe of love, patience, kindness.
I believe I met all of Michaela and Tim's friends.  That was nice as I had heard stories about them.  I like being able to put faces with names.  Great party and easy going.  I drove my dad back to the hotel around 11.  The following morning we walked into Michaela's house and it was clean.  Shocked.  I couldn't believe that they woke up at seven a.m. and began cleaning.  I knew that she would have already vacuumed.  It is Michaela.
We had brunch at Jade's house and then I headed south to visit Jarred.  The wedding was lovely and I did enjoy spending time with my sisters and mom and dad.  It had been a long time since we were all together and in such relaxed fashion.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


Woke up and begged my friend, Vegas, to drive me east to Mesa.  I needed my car and I wanted him to drive me. 
I texted him about an hour after I woke up.  I didn't want to rush him into it.  He responded and mentioned that he would be available whenever I wanted to go.  I told him ten minutes.
I walked over and waited.  And waited.  And waited.  Made some lame excuse to return home while he was getting prepared to leave.
About 8:4o, we left.  I considered texting the young guy to tell him to cycle into work.  I didn't think I could pick him up. 
Jonny drove me east and dropped me off.   I walked in and talked to the mechanic.  He claimed that my car was fine.  Started right up.  Frustrating. Yet, I walked away with Veronica.  I did ask the mechanic to be brutally honest with me.  I love Veronica and would do anything to keep her running.  Sound engine, sound transmission...sure, that is sound.  However, the rest of the intricacies are making me crazy.   I asked the mechanic if he could recommend a replacement car (can you believe it?...I think it had something to do with today).
Anyways, I head to work.  Smooth sailing. Wine taste (a little) and then wait for my ride to pick me up.  He arrives with his friend.  No worries and we go to the stadium.  Our seats are a row behind the dugout.  I think of Brian and our first date.  Our drinks at the Keg, followed by Rox/Giants and then after dinner drinks at my fave beer bar. 
Tonight was sweet and simple.  The only factor missing was food.  My friend dropped me off and I drove to the farmer's market for veg and pasta.  Perfection.  I bought champagne.  Toasted Brian, considered the last six years of family and friends and enjoyed life.  Yes, life is grand.  I think of the people I have seen in the last few days.  My sisters, dad, mom, Jarred, Jonny...people that represent a powerful time in my life.  People that understand what today means to me.  Ten years of bliss.
Chocolate concluded my day.  Beautiful blessings to 8/28, to Brian, to life....

visiting my favorite winemaker/friend....

I spent a few days in Oregon, celebrating a birthday, a wedding and then a tranquil visit with a dear, dear friend of mine, Jarred.  This is us in front of the winery that he is working for in Oregon.
Quick post as I am heading to pick up Veronica (long story) and then work.  Must return to the working world.  I do love traveling and hope to do it more often.
Anyways, I had called Jarred to arrange a visit and it worked out beautifully.  He lives a few hours south of Michaela and Jade.  I drove down and hoped he was in town.  We had played phone tag the last few weeks but I had not confirmed the visit.  Blindly, I drove to Jacksonville hoping he would be available to hang out.
About an hour and half from his house, he called me.  He was in town.  It would work out.  Relief washed over me.  I loved the drive down but did not relish the three hour return if he was out of town. 
I arrived and met a friend of his.  I was up for anything.  Mostly, I wanted to sample his wine from Napa.  That will be another visit in the near future.  I found that Oregon suited Jarred wonderfully.  His home reflected his livelihood--super earthy, free of tv/internet, and welcoming. 
It was a pleasant visit and I am so thankful to have made time for it.  I will reflect more on my trip but must conclude to begin my day. 
Oregon was lovely and I have many memories from the birthday/wedding weekend. 

Monday, August 20, 2012

Monday Memory

Electric Station lunch with my sissy.  Fun times and I do love the hat.  Plus, I will see her later this week and I cannot wait!
Last year, I had the pleasure of spending a few weeks in Eugene.  February, April and July.  I wanted to check out the city to consider a relocation and also spend time with my sisters.  The weather was challenging.  I am a sun kid.  Thrive on it, need it and living in Eugene would be challenging.  Not enough sun for me. 
Still, I did enjoy seeing my sisters.  I met this guy at work last night that lives in Eugene.  It was cute, he made a list of fun bars to check out.  I have learned that my sisters do not venture out from their haunts often.  I think we find a new place to frequent when I visit since I love finding new places to eat and drink.  I kept the list and hope to check out at least one of them during this visit. 
And, this guy knew where Jacksonville was.  I am visiting a friend next weekend to sample wine.  His wine, that is.  I met Jarred my first trip to Napa with the three Sara's and Michaela.  Epic adventure.  Not only did I fall in love with Napa--wine, food, grapes, celebrate a milestone birthday--I made a lifelong friend who happens to be a winemaker.  Love that aspect, too.  Not going to lie.  Knowing someone that makes spectacular wine is fantastic.  I had purchased a few bottles to remember that birthday.  When I moved from Denver I drank the wine with two of the Sara's and Michaela and I opened a bottle when I visited Oregon.  I need to restock--I think.
Anyways, this is my memory for today.  I wish I was closer to my sisters.  Luckily, there is the phone and I have fb which enables correspondence, too.   Next weekend there will be ample opportunity to laugh, create memories and eat cake.  Drink wine, too.  I might be the only one drinking wine of my sisters, but, yes, absolutely, wine will be imbibed.
Happy Monday!  I am off to yoga, a dress alteration and eventually work.....

Sunday, August 19, 2012

the countdown to the 28th

Countdown to next weekend starts now.  Family reunion of sorts to celebrate my sister's upcoming wedding, a wine day with Jarred, and then, of course, there is the ten year anniversary of my relationship with Brian.  That is most time consuming of August.  Typically, I have some sort of idea of how I would like to celebrate that momentous occasion.  This year, I am at a complete loss.
Ten years.  It's a long time.  I have so many fond memories of Brian.  I don't know how to celebrate this year. 
Do I invited someone to join me or go solo?  Should I drive to Sedona or stay in Phoenix?  Is a nice meal enough to toast him and his love of food?  It remains in the back of my mind.  I think I have distracted myself by going to Italy, impulsive trip to Denver and now Oregon, to postpone my inability to look forward to August 28th. 
Ten years.  In all honesty, I know that food will be involved and that I will honor us in a private way even if I invite someone along to celebrate with me.  I thought about asking Jan and Tom as I know they loved Brian, too.  They just don't love, love, love food the way we did.  I know that food will be involved.  Could be a food truck adventure.  It's been on my mind lately.  I could brown bag some wine, eat outside of the food court and toast Brian and his love of food.  I remember one time returning to our apartment and being hungry.  I insisted that we should go out to eat since we didn't have food in the house.  Brian looked in the fridge and our cupboards and found pasta, onions and potatoes.  He refused to go out to eat since he could make us something from those ingredients.  He was raised on hot dish--I think, is what he told me.
I could make dinner and buy a lovely bottle of wine.   That is a true option as well.  Wouldn't that be the most intimate way of celebrating?  I mean, Brian lavished me with food and taught me to enjoy it.  I have a whole new respect for homemade meals.  Maybe that should be the way I celebrate this year.
The first year of solo celebrating, I flew to Phoenix and went skydiving.  Awesome adventure, for sure.  After that, there was a meal at the French Laundry, Tru, in Chicago, Mistral in Boston and last year, I went to Sedona with friends.  There have been remarkable meals, wine and conversations for sure.  The meal in Chicago was memorable.  I made reservations for a solo meal and ended up dining with a 19-yr-old kid that was interning in their kitchen.  Felt like Mrs. Robinson (theorhetically, only).  Fun times, indeed.
This year will be special even if it is food truck friendly.  I feel a bottle of wine and cooking at home inviting.  I do have a few days to reconsider still and of course, the weekend in Oregon.  Maybe I will buy some wine off of Jarred to celebrate for that momentous occasion.  More and more I realize that I attract certain people to my life to improve it, for sure.  I see a wine class in my future due to my association with the current wine rep that occupies some of my time.  Last night, I was supposed to treat him to a meal due to his help with some training at work and he invited one of his friends along.  Instead of my treat, we went dutch, the three of us.  It worked and I was moderately entertained with people watching and stories from their friendship.
I digress.  I do have time to reflect on how to celebrate.  The one certainty is there will be wine and a toast to Brian.  What an incredible man~

Friday, August 17, 2012

spontaneous trip to Denver

In my natural glass in hand, incredible food, and friends.  Impulsively, I purchased a flight to Denver to attend a baby shower.  The Goddess had notified me of her upcoming party and I truly wanted to attend.  My sister told me that she was getting married in August and so that sort of refocused my travel plans.  Of course, I would fly to Oregon to be a guest at her wedding.  There was no decision to make there.
However, the Denver shower still enticed.  One day I was creating the bar schedule and realized that I would have three days off.  Immediately, I think, I should go somewhere....San Diego, Rocky Point, no, wait, there is the baby shower that weekend.  I should go to Denver.
I check out flights and call Lindsay.  I would be able to attend.
I e-mailed a few other friends and considered how to occupy the rest of my time in Denver.  Of course, I would frequent my usual haunts, see Sara, Lindsay, Pocketsize & Steve, Jenn and hopefully, my aunt, too.  It was a done deal. 
I arrange the flights and work my normal shifts.  I dream of my time in Denver and cannot wait to go there.  It's funny, I call my sister and mention that I am heading to Denver and she seemed surprised that I would be taking a trip there so close to her wedding weekend.  I believe that life is short and why not?  I wanted to go and support my friend.  I made it happen.
Lindsay picked me up from the airport.  We had made plans to go to lunch but not the location.  I didn't know if she would be picky due to her pregnancy.  Thankfully, it agrees with her.  She glows and eats anything she wants.  I felt like breakfast so we went to a vegetarian place that we both enjoy.
I am so thankful that she met me for lunch.  The shower was lovely but there were so many other people that wanted to talk to her.  The shower, itself, was fantastic.  Beautiful backyard and ideal for the ladies luncheon.  Lindsay's family offered sangria, white wine and a few other non-alcoholic beverages.  I opted for water.  I needed to rehydrate.  I remember Colorado being dry but I was having a difficult time.  My contacts were itchy and I felt a bloody nose coming on, even.  Yes, Colorado is dry.  I inhaled water and hoped that I would even out. 
  After the shower, I walked up to my aunt's house.  Lindsay offered to drive me but I wanted to take advantage of the weather.  I do walk around Arizona but it isn't as inviting.  I wanted to enjoy the sunshine and charm of being in the city. 
Bryn and I had a few hours before part two of my denver adventure weekend.  There was a coed bachelorette party with my name on it.  Jenn said be there at 4 and so I wanted to arrive as close to four as I possibly could.  In hindsight, I would have preferred delaying my arrival.  I could have spent more time with Bryn and delayed my champagne imbibing.  Especially since we didn't actually leave their house til 6.
Booze cruise down the Fax.  We started at a lounge where they treated us to shots.  A jukebox entertained us.  As I only knew a few people, I was determined to keep myself in check.  No crazy drunk girl til the end of the night (at least, if it were to all).  I wanted to figure out how the twenty people knew Jenn and Rob.  I started out with people that I knew.  Caught up with what was going on in their lives.  Figured it would be easier to talk to people I knew and then branch out to others.
All, in all, successful night.  Somehow, I was the last one standing.  Surprised that that happened.  I did limit the wine and dinner at the Cowboy took longer than anticipated.  I only had one beer during the two hour stint.
It rained.  Glorious addition to a lovely trip.  I relished the weather.  I loved running in the rain.  Missed it, in fact.  Never, did I regret my trip to Denver.  Sure, timing wise, a little tight in terms of taking off work and my sister's wedding.  Yet, I wanted to go and I am grateful that I did.  It was such a lovely trip.  Saw friends and ate incredible food.  I think it also made me homesick.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Dim sum and then some....

Sunday Funday!  Not the way, at all, that I thought it was going to be.  I envisioned bloody mary's on Mill, jumping on the light rail and heading into Phoenix.
Rarely, do I have a Sunday off.  Unless I smack my face on the ground due to dehydration or I am out of town.  This week, however, I worked five shifts and did not need to do my Sunday night.  I talked to a friend about my thoughts of brunch.  Figured, I would talk to him today and go from there.
I texted him and asked if he was still interested in brunch.  He called me to suggest going to dim sum instead of drinking mimosas.  I wasn't sold on the idea and mentioned that I wanted to shower and find a place to dine.  He asked me to call him when I was ready and we could go from there.
I showered.  Looked at the internet and noticed that a car was parked outside of my house.  WTH?  He was here.  What happened to me calling him was what I was thinking?
Regardless, he drives me and his buddy to a dim sum place.  Delish!  We sample sticky rice, pork dumplings, steamed dumplings, bok choy, chow mein and a few other dishes.  These women kept circling by with their carts of goods.  You want calamari?  Duck?  noodles?  pastries?  Lovely.  I could have eaten more.
Afterwards, I was planning my exit strategy.  Thought about meeting up with other friends when the wine rep surprised me with--where is a good bloody mary?
I suggested Z'Tejas as they have a wonderful bloody mary bar for $4.  Grey Goose vodka is their vodka of choice and I say--hell, yea!  Awesome!
We got to Z and order a round of bloody mary's.  I mix mine with horseradish, hot sauce (several), olives, jerky, asparagus & a pickle.  I am a sucker for a pickle.  We sit there, b.s. and consider the rest of our afternoon.  A homeless guy walks in and sits by Brian.  The guy legitimately was homeless.  He smelled.  Brian starts talking to him.  He offers to buy him some chips/salsa.  Suggests he moves over and he'll send over some food. 
I order a mimosa and continue to b.s.  Suddenly, Brian is like--have you seen the latest Batman or is it weird because of Colorado?  I hadn't seen it and I wanted too.  Of course, it was weird.  I was devastated by the news of the shooting in Aurora.  I thought of my friends, of the theatre and of the chaos.  I remembered those thoughts as I sat in the theatre, today. 
Fear, dark movie and violence. 
Plus, it is a super long movie.  It concluded and we walked out.  Didn't really know how to reflect on it or what to say.  It wasn't that inspiring of a movie.  It was okay but it didn't motivate me to have at length discussion about it.
Brian drove me home and I finished my laundry.  I rode my bike to the local farmer's market and picked up some necessities.  Decided that I would ride my bike to accomplish all local needs.  Meaning, ride to the bank, out to bars and grocery stores.  It makes sense.  Why waste gas and potential parking fees to park my car? 
K.  So, not what I expected for Sunday Funday.  Yet, it worked out wonderfully.  Dim sum, bloody mary, movie and then home cooked meal.   Tuna salad wrap with tomatoes and jalapeno hummos.  Delicious! 
I would like to try more fare at the dim sum place.  Some of the additional items looked amazing.  I was full, though, and so it requires a return visit.  Til then...Happy Eating!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Work and lack of sleep....

I closed last night.  Closing manager, closed.  Plus there was the release of growlers that just went into effect in AZ.  We began filling them at 12:01 and so we were busy.  Not crazy busy but busy due to time constraints.  I think I filled 36 growlers and not in the most easy or efficient way. In the past, I have filled growlers from the tap.  Here, they want us to use a hose attached to the tap and fill the growler.  Wouldn't be a huge issue if 30+ plus people were not waiting around, patiently, for their growler.  Or, if the hose would fit on the tap easily.  Fun times, indeed.
Also, midway thru the growler fill, one of the servers informs me that there was a crackhead in the women's bathroom picking at their eyes.  My thought is this--what the eff do you expect me to do about it?  Can't you see that I am BUSY/UNAVAILABLE.  It's laughable.
I finish the growlers and eventually make my way to the women's bathroom.  It wasn't that much vomit.  Still, I couldn't get past the smell or the desire to gag myself.  I have an issue with throw up.  I loathe cleaning up my own (on rare occasions) and especially despise picking up other people's.  It's infectious, too.  I see it and I have the urge to throw up myself.  Yuck!
I clean it up as the other manager had stayed around to help me close.  It wasn't truly his managing shift and I was unprepared to do it in a quick fashion.  It was my responsibility to deal with the afternmath of the crackhead.
I clean the bar, print up the reports and walk thru the restaurant.  I head towards the office and begin the nightly paperwork.  The other manager walks in and helps me out.  We leave and it was 3 o'clock.  I drive home and realize that I forgot to move the grates behind the taps or place cookie sheets under the taps to control the spillage.  I obsess about what else I might have missed.  I was so focused on the vomit factor and doing the paperwork that I rushed through my normal bar stuff.  Plus, I was tired and dehydrated.  Contacts firmly attached to eyes.  Ouch!
I shower, pour a small glass of wine that I think I want and get ready for bed.  The wine was not soothing or what I wanted at 3:30 a.m.  I finally go to sleep at 4.  I wake up at 7:30.  No bueno.  I consider attending the noon yoga class and recognize that my lack of sleep will ensure vertigo while trying to perform a hot vinyasa flow.  No yoga for me.  I feel like this is a waste of a day because my sleep is off and I have no energy to get outside of bed.  I close tonight and so I will be getting up, shortly, to prepare myself for another night of absolute fun.  Actually, lately, work has been great.  I am doing more of what I would like to improve on and drinking more wine.  Who wouldn't like that aspect of it?
Happy Thursday!  There is always tomorrow for hot vinyasa flow.  I purchased a 50 class package at a great rate on Monday.  So worth it.  I always feel amazing after attending a yoga class~

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


Beautiful.  My last day in Italy spent in a gorgeous city.  We took the train from Codroipo instead of trying to find a parking space.  That would have been a nightmare.  I did not fully understand til we arrived.  There is no parking in Venice, really.  Limited availability for sure.  Plus, entering the city from the train is spectacular.  You arrive and walk out to find water everywhere.  Yes, it is gorgeous!
We headed out.  Passed numerous tourist driven restaurants and bars.  I had no interest in sitting in one of these establishments.  I heard the most English spoken in Venice, too.  My friend referred to Venice as Disneyworld.  Yes, I would concur.  Lots of tourists, people watching and souvenirs to snatch up of Venice. 
I found a few souvenirs that spoke to me for certain people.  I won't say who since I still haven't sent them out.  Soon, however.
I purchased postcards when we arrived at the train station and postage.  I wanted to make sure that I got that task out of the way.  We sat at a bar with locals and I wrote my cards.  I enjoyed a spritzer and people watched.  We dropped the postcards off and walked around the city.  We stopped to eat local fare--fish with onions and a ham & artichoke sandwich on white bread.  I loved the sammie but the fish with onions was just okay.  Glad that I tried it.  Don't know that I would make a habit of it, however. 
We walked towards San Marcos Square and walked across numerous bridges.  I wanted to release some of Brian's ashes in Venice and so I told Agnese that would be an intention of mine.  I had not released any in Geneva or Paris.  Paris was gloomy and Geneva was rushed.  Venice seemed ideal.  All of the water/bridges inspired me to find the perfect spot.
Mid day, I did.  The bridge was unoccupied and there were a few cafes along the road.  It was ideal.
That night, we had dinner with her family to look forward to after a train ride back to Codroipo.  We arrived at the station minutes before a train would leave.  An hour and a half later we arrived.  We met up with Debora and her brother for a few glasses of wine.  I wanted to find a way to thank her parents for their hospitality.  Thankfully, there was a wine shop open that I could do just that.  I realize that I should have done more.  Her family invited me into their home, treated me like family and spoiled me with their culture.  I had a lovely, lovely time in Italy.  Two bottles of wine was not enough.  I will find a way to say thank you to them in a more heart felt manner.
We had the final dinner--fish, bruschetta, dessert.  Lots of conversation in italian/spanish and then we said our goodbyes.  My flight to Munich left Venice early and it would take at least an hour to drive there.  I started to feel sad that I had to leave.  I wasn't ready.  I regretted not taking more time off to explore Europe.
Instead of going to bed, we met her brother at a local bar.  Monta negro for Debora and Agnese while I drank a few beers.  Then, it was time to go and I was sad.  I said goodbye to her brother and hoped that I would wake up on my own the following morning.
I did.  Showered, packed up the remainder of my things and headed out to Venice.  They walked me into the airport and shared a final coffee with me. 
The trip was successful.  Mostly, because of my company.  I need to thank the Goddess for introducing me to Agnese.  Otherwise, I realize, my trip to Europe would have been completely different.