Friday, May 24, 2013

inspired to change

I bought a three month unlimited yoga package and completed 61 days.  I missed due to travel, work and then, a couple times, I just didn't feel like going.  Or, I knew that an instructor was teaching my flow class that I didn't really love.  There is a guy that has been subbing for the Tuesday class that I find challenging to attend the class.  I go in with a positive intention and after a few poses, I cannot shake the annoyance of how basic the class is.  His music teeters between coffee shop and adult contemporary.  It isn't terrible and I find that I prefer it to the recent metaphysical crap one of my favorite teachers is playing.
For me, yoga is physical, spiritual and yes, driven by the music selection.  There was one teacher who had brilliant taste.  Come to find out, her background is in dance.  Of course, she understands how music moves you.  I would get lost in the flow and I know that my practice benefited, greatly, from that.
After she left for a newer studio, I found new instructors to work with and learn from.  The Wednesday/Friday girl is fantastic. She changes her flow and it is always challenging.  Until last Friday, when she changed her music.  I tried to work past it but I became bored, annoyed and then, thinking, about getting hurt because my mind was elsewhere.  I finished the class without asking her why the change in music.  On Wednesday, I attended her class, hopeful, that the music selection had improved.  Halfway through the class, it improved.  My mental state lagged because I couldn't let go of how annoyed I was that, again, the music sucked and I was wasting my day trying to attend a yoga class. I haven't found a diplomatic way of inquiring into the recent music choices.  They advertise an upbeat music to accompany the yoga.  I know that yoga is about the practice of breathing.  I just cannot let my mind go when the music lacks.  I think no music would be preferable in all honesty.
I am checking out a new studio today.  I just can't continue to practice when I am unhappy either with the flow or music at this one studio.  I am bummed.  I thought about increasing other activities into my regime.  Hiking or running.  Sure they both are great.  However, I chose to drink a few glasses of wine last night instead of going to bed at a reasonable hour.  I think I went to bed at 2.  Waking up at 5:30 or 6 (at the latest to ensure a quality run) did not seem doable.
So, yea, I am heading to a different studio today.  I think I am going to look into a few others around the Valley.  It's time to see what else is out there and stop settling for comfort of my normal studio.  I think my practice will improve.  And, it will force me to start running.  There is a half in Colorado that I will be running in August.  I cannot, in good faith, go there with no training.  The Half in Santa Barbara is a reminder of how no running does not equal a successful event.  By far, my worst performance and most fun in some ways.  I ran with Sara Jo and my two Italian friends.  It was awesome!  The running part, well, that was a struggle.  Around mile 9, my knees were killing me.  Well, the tendons were tight.
Enjoy today!  I am ready to greet the day with a positive flow.  Cheers!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Wine dinner

Day off.  Well, mostly, a day off.  I still went in to do some management stuff and wine taste.  I do love Tuesdays for that.  Monday was rough as I spent the majority of it enjoying myself, immensely, and overindulging.  There was a wine dinner that I was supposed to attend but I seriously considered skipping it. I was tired and wanting to sleep the effects of Monday off.  Instead, I inhaled a spicy bean burrito smothered in super hot salsa and made the most of the day.  Mexican food is pure comfort for me.  Especially, if I am hungover.  It satisfies all of my needs--spicy, salsa and guacamole.  I would have felt better going to yoga before the heavenly burrito but the instructor teaching is not what I look for when I attend a class.  I want to be challenged, have awesome music and lose myself in the flow.  This guy's music is fine but I get annoyed with his flow and I cannot shake how bored I am.  I leave the class bitter and unfulfilled.  Complete opposite of why people practice yoga.  I recognize that I am supposed to focus on the peaceful meditative purpose of the class.  For me, that includes the musical aspect.
Anyways, after lunch and work related stuff, I met my friend at the wine dinner.  I arrived before her and selected a table that looked the most interesting.  There were a few options.  Sit at an all female table, sit in the middle of a couple couples and a solo girl or take the last seats at the middle table.  I opted for the solo girl and watched as our table filled up.  I know that I made the right decision when Vishaka met me and knew a few people at the table.
I loved the food.  Simple, peasant fare, delicious.  The soup shined the brightest.  Squash blossom in a parmesan broth.  The wines, well, they were a little young.  Still it was a lovely way to spend a Tuesday night.  And, by my not drinking the majority of the wines, I was able to drive home and know that I was pretty much sober.
If they host another dinner, I am definitely in.  It's a fun way to network, check out a new eatery and drink wine.  Life is grand!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Back to childhood

Choosing happiness--that's my mantra today.  I experienced a no-win situation yesterday as my sister liked to point out.  It's always challenging to go against the inherent grain.  For example, as much as I would love to leave my work space the way I find it on a normal basis (without supplies, filthy, not stocked), I cannot.  I cannot not stock the straws when I see that they are out.  I have this need to make sure that it is clean, completely stocked, user friendly.
I have tried to leave it in poor fashion and it never works out.  It's a compulsion.  This inherent work ethic.  I suppose as I remember the 3+hour discussion my mom would have with us girls when she felt that we were slacking on housework.  It would start in an innocent way--there was dust on a shelf in the kitchen, the laundry had not been put away quickly enough, or the stairs did not appear to have been vacuumed; and balloon into how we were ungrateful brats that were being stripped of our privileges.  We never received allowance and so privileges meant being able to watch tv, play outside with friends, or just be a normal kid.  This happened every 5-6 months my entire childhood.  The intensity lessened and of course, we adapted to whatever was pointed out from the previous discussion.
It was ingrained, in all of us, that you left a clean space.  This has stayed with me at every job I've held.  So, it's frustrating when I find my work space trashed.  I like being prepared, ready to go and capable of adapting to whatever the night presents.  This is easy when the work space is stocked.
Sometimes, I wonder why I let it eat away at me.  It's just a job, right?  I obsess about what the motivation is to leave it in such a way.  Then, I think about how maybe if I could let it go (roll off of me), I would survive.  Others do.  Obviously as they have no problem leaving, clocking out and not thinking anymore of the job.  I suppose part of it goes back to knowing that it is much simpler to perform when it is stocked.  And, I think, it cannot work if only one or two people are actually stocking.  I am like a hamster on an endless wheel with this train of thought.
In other news...I had considered meeting a friend for a post-work beverage last night.  He was agreeable and I did not have a time frame outside of after 9.  By 9, I felt that meeting him would be unlikely.  I still had some stuff to sort though and the intensity of meeting him was lessening.  It would require some effort on my part to meet him.   A shower was mandatory.  I couldn't meet him in my current state of sweat, salt and beer.  I could meet a girlfriend of mine, my wine rep friend (Brian) or a host of other people.  They know that this is my normal attire/scent coming from work.
Anyways, I contacted him that I wanted a rain check and he concurred.  I enjoyed a few glasses of wine while chitchatting with customers.  It was really nice.  It reminded me of why I do what I do.  Why I am passionate about the service industry and why, yes, I will continue to be o.c.d. about how my work space looks.
I choose happiness.  I choose my dreams, myself and yes, I will continue to do my part.  I wouldn't have it any other way.

Saturday, May 18, 2013


This is my current fascination.  Italy.  I had the pleasure of visiting last year for 10 days and it was incredible. I spent the first part of the trip in Geneva, an overnight in Paris and then to northeast Italy.  I spent a couple of hours in Venice and it was plenty.  I loved the canals and waterways but I felt claustrophobic with the onslaught of other tourists visiting.  Crowded streets, cafes, souvenir was a bit much for me.  I prefer a leisurely stroll of the city where I can carve out my own niche.  I can meet people and experience a typical day.
A friend of mine had suggested heading to Seattle to explore the Pike Market, eateries and wine (obviously).  As we lingered over when a good time for us to go she talked to a few of her other friends.  One of whom has a villa in Italy.  Immediately, she contacts me and says,"Instead of Seattle, what do you think of Italy?  Fly into Milan and head to Lake Cuomo."
Initially, I thought, no.  I was there, last summer, and I would like to go to Seattle.  I have friends up there who I would love to see and Seattle would be an excellent break from the heat of the desert.  Still, the more I thought about it...I thought, why not?  What's stopping me from going but myself?  I have an opportunity to go, with a place to stay, and I would be an idiot to pass it up.  I probably will not get back to Venice but there is Milan, Rome, Florence and the entire southern part of the country that we could check out.  I am inspired by an article I recently encountered.  It was written by a 92 yr-old woman who had sage advice.  43 life lessons and I agreed with the majority of them.  It is imperative to live the life you want to lead in the present.  How as much as I despise my issues/setbacks/obstacles, given the choice between mine and someone else's problems, I would still choose mine.  My favorite lesson concerned wearing purple and being eccentric now.  I love that.  It's true.  Why not wear purple or be your own true self?
I guess that is the driving force behind this I want to go to Italy summer 2013.  I checked out flights and they are not terrible.  I called Lisa to commit to this adventure and tell her that I was seriously considering it.  I stopped at a market to pick up a sandwich and found myself standing in front of an italian sparkling water.  I see it happening.  I see the signs and feel the urge to just do it.
Feeling blessed and full of sunshine.  Happy Saturday!

Cheers to the tasting room, wine and friends.  Last Saturday we ran a half marathon in Santa Ynez.  After the race, we headed back to Santa Barbara, showered, had lunch and headed back up to wine country.  I knew a tasting room that would be ideal for my friends from Italy.  This place specializes in Italian varietals.  In some ways, I could have researched the event better.  Due to where we stayed in Santa Barbara, I woke up at 4:30 am to make sure that I could go through my morning ritual.  Shower, coffee, drive 45 miles up to the start line.
Missed the coffee.  There was no way of making that dream come true without sacrificing a way to the start line.  We parked about a mile and a half from the start and walked over.  We found a convenience store and I drank some subpar coffee.  Bathroom break, too.  Of course, I wasn't the only one that had the bright idea of buying coffee to use indoor plumbing.  Long line of hopeful runners waited before me.
Anyways, I think back on last weekend and feel so fortunate to have made it happen.  Yes, my research was poor.  It definitely turned into an impulse/spontaneous type of trip.  Loosely focused on running, wineries and food.  I have learned that I prefer that type of travel to the structured-planned activity trip.  I like flexibility and typically, it works.  I see room for improvement.  As noted, where we stayed compared to where the race was.  40 miles of highway separated us.  Long drive to shower and feel normal again.
Happy Saturday!  I am off to yoga to rebalance.  I find solace and me time.  It is keeping me centered for sure.  It also allows for day dreaming and trip planning.  I'm thinking Italy, Spain, France.  Why not?

Thursday, May 16, 2013


Of course, I love this and had to pick it up.  Well, photo it.  I have been to the tasting room and bought a bottle of syrah in 2007 while on a road trip.  An old customer of mine told me about the tasting room and how delicious the chardonnay was.  He told me that he and his wife had stumbled into it and that, every time, they were on the Central Coast they stopped into to buy another bottle.
That was a long time ago.  From my post-college days when I was attempting to figure out what I wanted to do with my life.  All, I knew, was that there was adventure and I wanted to find it in the west.  I couldn't wait to get out of Kansas.
Last night, this woman stopped into the patio bar and told me that her daughter was studying abroad in France for a year.  I was jealous.  It reminded me of my past decisions and maybe had I taken more of the road not taken.  Instead of being studious, perhaps, I could have pieced together a study abroad type of schooling experience.  A year in Provence, Tuscany, Madrid.  Instead, I was determined to get to college and begin living life.
Not that I regret the choices I have made.  I have a wonderful life and many memories of food, conversations with friends, and wine.  I just wish I had taken more time to explore Europe while I was younger and more free from responsibility.  My parents were (are) supportive.  They could not support my wanting to spend a year in Europe and take care of my three sisters at the same time, comfortably.  They taught me discipline, determination and being able to take care of myself.  I greatly appreciate that and know it stems from my parents, grandparents, ancestors.
Still, there is the little part of me (the child dreamer) that wishes it had been different.  Of course, I regret not taking more time to learn a language while in high school or college.  My spanish requirement lost its romance years ago.  I do recognize phrases, words, etc, from kitchen spanish.  Conversationally, is a complete different story.  I know, there is time to learn french, spanish, italian.  It just relies on me to make it a priority.
I am off on a tangent today.  Began with my narcissism of finding the Harmony bottle.  Might continue, too.  I am off to explore the adventures of Thursday.  I have a book to read, a wine lunch, yoga and happy hour with friends.  Today is going to be a beautiful day!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

California dreaming

Gorgeous.  This stunning photo was taken while visiting California.  Beautiful.
I had talked a few of my friends into signing up for a wine half marathon and touring wine country while in the area.  I kept telling myself--I have ample time to train.  There is still six months.
I have three months.  I have six weeks.  Then, I went on a 3 mile run with the hope of running every other day up til the race.  I supplemented my training with yoga.  Figured yoga would keep me limber, adapted to the heat and in solid cardiovascular health.
Well, yoga created some issues.  I tweaked my gracilis muscle.  Slender thigh muscle.  Basically, I had discomfort putting on pants.  My massage therapist suggested taking it easy and using a heating pad to help encourage healing.
I stopped running to focus on healing.  You can imagine how well my half marathon went.  Sara Jo also had been distracted in her life.  Lots of work and little time to train for the half.  Agnese ran a half two weeks ago and finished in one hour and thirty-eight minutes.  She was prepared.
I was prepared to run/walk...basically, finish.  I think we ran the first seven miles, stopped to pee (which wasted 15 minutes) and resumed the course.  After mile 9, my knees started to ache.  My tendons were pulling and each step felt tighter and tighter.  Agnese and Renatto continued while Sara and I hung back.  What this displayed to me was I must run more than 3 miles in six months to actually enjoy the race.  It doesn't deter me from signing up for another either.  I know that I can complete a half marathon without pain.  I have done it before.
Outside of the race, the weekend was glorious.  Wine tasting, incredible food and conversation with friends. We're thinking Spain 2014.  I met Agnese in 2011 in Denver.  I stayed with her family in Italy 2012 and she met me in California 2013.  I'm hoping to convince Sara and the Goddess to meet us there, too.
Of course, I wish I had had more time to explore the Central Coast.  I saw a handful of wineries, only.  It is too difficult.  I mean, of course, there are wineries that I want to see, have to see and then hope to see.  I suppose there will be other trips in the future.
I signed up for a race in Colorado in August.  Training must restart.  Maybe a few more days off.  Yoga will continue to supplement my crosstraining effort.  Although, I see some cycling being incorporated into the health regime, too.
I do have a return trip to California in a few weeks.  Wine exploration will resume then.  That, and beer tasting.  There is a lovely beer festival being held in Paso.  That covers my May travel.  I hope to set up a few trips in June/July.  Any suggestions?

Friday, May 3, 2013

Summer is here

Summer is here.  The point of no return.  It turned 100 on Sunday and that was it.  I turned my a/c on Tuesday night.  I thought I could hold out til June but that was a pipe dream.  I barely made it through Monday night.
It's still lovely in the morning.  I wake up, wishing, I could open all of my windows.  About 2 o'clock, it becomes unbearable to be without a/c.  This stifled inside air remains until about 10 pm when it finally cools down, somewhat, indoors.
I returned home Tuesday and couldn't handle the heat.  My landlord was absent and so I turned on my a/c.  Not that I thought he would be annoyed with my decision or not understand it.  I just didn't want him to think that I was taking advantage of him for turning it on too early in the year.
I miss waking up to the crisp morning.  However, I am thankful for the cooler home in the mid-afternoon.  Not going to lie.  Every now and then, I take a siesta.  It's something that I discovered while studying Spanish in Guadalajara.  I chose to do a study abroad in Mexico for two months.  Glorious.  One of the best things from the experience was the nap in the afternoon.  Of course, I resisted the nap, initially.  Naps are for children. I should be working, exercising, reading, learning, or at class, during that point in my life.
Now, I look at it, as time for me.  I enjoy a siesta in the afternoon.  Especially after yoga.  It is the perfect segway into transitioning into a busy night at work.  Yoga to reflect, detox, restore and a nap to continue the time for me.  I had a difficult time deciding if whether or not I should purchase a six month unlimited class package at my yoga studio.  There are other studios I want to check out and I have been a little bored with some of the flow classes.  I think having options leads to inspiration.  So, I bought a 50 class package at my current studio to allow for flexibility of looking into other studios.  There is one by my job which is closer to my house.  Or, there is a studio in Tempe that is intriguing.  They offer classes taught by students pursuing a teacher training which is interesting.  Their flow classes are completely different from what I have been practicing the last few years.  In a way it solidifies why I enjoy this particular studio.  Why I love a heated flow class and have come to rely on it.  Honestly, I prefer the heated class.  I love vinyasa flow but want it in this particular environment.  I don't know if I will enjoy it, as much, in a non-heated room.  I don't know that I want to find it out either.
I am about to start my day.  Yoga, quick lunch, work.  I am happy to have a/c, yoga and work.  I am appreciating, daily, the people I encounter in all of these environments.  I am inspired to find out more about my fellow yogi's that make the noon class as well as the customers that choose to live in this city and deal with the heat.  There is something here that attracts like minded people.  It's not the heat.  I know that.  I mean, I wouldn't choose to flit from a/c in my house, to a/c in my car to an air conditioned environment.  I love the outdoors.  I should enjoy this last month of cool morning which lead to hiking at Camelback or Squaw Peak.  Must do that tomorrow.
Til then, yoga, lunch, work.  Happy Friday!