Saturday, November 30, 2013

breakfast with friends

I am still feeling the effects of Thanksgiving dinner.  It was delicious!  My friend's neighbors spoiled us with green chile corn casserole.  I believe that was my favorite dish of the meal.  Thankfully, the guy that made the left over plates made sure to add some of the corn casserole to mine.  He omitted the turkey.  I still think that is odd as that is the main dish of the meal.  However, I probably did not need more turkey.  I know that I didn't.
I met a dear friend for breakfast yesterday.  Hailey and I met in 4th grade.  Played softball together, were part of the Pepper squad, went to K.U. and eventually, I stood up in her wedding.  We have kept in contact over the years and I was very excited to hear about her trip to AZ for Thanksgiving.  I met her husband at KU and Brian and I spent a weekend with them in Dallas (where they reside) in 2003--I think.  Cory's parents retired and chose Arizona as their retirement home of choice.
Yesterday was the first time I met their three boys.  Adorable, polite and funny!  I had met the oldest when he was a baby.  In 2006, I took a road trip which included a couple of days in Dallas. Hailey and Cory let me stay at their house and we bonded over reunion memories and Brian.  Andrew was a few months old at that point.  I remember going out to dinner and he slept through the entire meal.
It was nice to see the dynamics of how the boys got along.  The youngest, Austin, sat by me at the breakfast and I was able to play with his trucks and color.  Kids and the color factor.  It is a nice distraction while waiting for food.
It was too quick of a breakfast as I had to go to work and they had plans to hike and spend time with their families.  Still, I valued them for making time to spend with me.  I find that it is always challenging to achieve everything I want to get done when visiting family, new cities, friends.
I plan on visiting them in Dallas or Austin 2014.  Austin is one city that I have not yet visited.  Although, I have always wanted to check it out.  Live music, food, trendy bars....who wouldn't want to visit?  I think it could happen next year.
Unless I have the opportunity to road trip it somewhere, this month, I think my travels for 2013 are concluded.  I might be doing a day trip to Sedona with my mini-me or there is always San Diego.  I still have fond memories of xmas a couple of years ago.  It could happen.  I know that I must stay here for the holiday but a road trip could be in order.  San Diego is close or perhaps, Santa Fe.  I only need to be open to the possibility of it to make it happen.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Day of Gratitude!

I think, Thanksgiving, is my favorite holiday.  It gives me ample time to reflect for what I am grateful for in my life.  I love it.  It's about sharing food, experiences, life.  No obligatory gifts.  Just honest to goodness day of gratitude.
Of course, I wish I could be spending turkey day with my sisters.  I have yet to meet the newest addition to the family.  My dad is in Oregon and so I know it would be an ideal time to visit my sisters.  Darn the retail job!  Although, I somehow, managed to get today off.  My day began with a yoga class.  Initially, I had told my friends that I would skip that possibility as I think it is foolish to have studios open on a sacred holiday.  My friend, Christina, raved about how excited this instructor at this one studio was to teach on Thanksgiving.  I allow myself to be persuaded to to attend a class, knowing, that I had mixed feelings about it.  I should have stayed with my intuition.  My friend canceled due to too many glasses of wine last night.  I forgive her that as I, too, have skipped yoga, hiking, running dates due to having too much fun the previous night.
At any rate, I walk into the studio and note that it isn't too full.  There are two other studios that I frequent, regularly, and I knew that they would be stock full of healthy people trying to get their yoga fix for the day.  I understand that desire.  I just get claustrophobic when the classrooms are mat to mat.  They say it works.  It doesn't work for me.  I always think i will get sprayed with someone else's sweat or kicked in the face while doing the full moon balance.  It's uncomfortable and instead of leaving balanced/recentered, I leave angry, negative and annoyed.
So, the studio had promise.  I sat my mat down and meditated.  This classroom is hot and I let it overtake me.  The instructor entered the room and we started the breathing exercises.  At that point, I should have left.  I knew, immediately, it was a bikram style class based on the breath sequence.  I wanted a vinyasa flow class.  Especially if I was attending a class on a holiday.
I stayed and it went from bad to worse.  No music, lame postures and no chatarungas.  I absolutely should have avoided going to yoga today.  The sign of my friend skipping should have convinced me to go hike or choosing a different activity to greet the day.  My stubbornness prohibited me from leaving and I suffered through it.  The instructor made it worse by coming over and saying--what is your name again?  I just wanted to be left alone.  It was awful.
I am meeting friends later for thanksgiving.  For the time being, I am going to relax/reflect on my life.  It is wonderful--the people in it, the food I eat/encounter and of course, the travel.  I see a trip to Santa Fe in the works.  I want to return to Ojo Caliente, check out some other restaurants and meditate on my life.  I do enjoy the beauty of that city.  A true oasis for me.
Til then, I will enjoy the day.  I hope you enjoy yours, too.  Celebrate, Enjoy & Taste Life~

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

random customers and chanting

Work went pretty well today.  It wasn't that insane and I managed to order more wine to stock.  I suppose that is something.
I approached a guy about beer options and he seemed confident with his ability to choose.  Still, I continued to chit chat and he stops me to ask a question--is your hair all the same length?
I know that I blush as I was not expecting this question.  I say, yes, as it is true.  He continues with....well, I am new to a salon in Arcadia and and we are looking for models for different cuts.  I think I might do it.  I have been teetering with this decision for the last few months.  Since I returned to Tempe, I have been frequenting a salon.  I like my girl--she's quirky, eclectic, fun.  However, I am tired of spending $65 on 2 inches of my hair being cut.  That is my hesitation for going to her.  I know another stylist that frequents my bar gig.  He's a hoot!  He definitely makes me laugh and I want to believe that he knows what he is doing.  That I could trust him to not jack up my hair.  However, I have pause in that possibility, too.  I think this guy I met tonight might actually be a viable option.
There were other customers that I was able to chat up about wine.  I do like that aspect of my current job.  I began a conversation this one customer who happened to be from Denver.  Then, we were off.  I can talk about Denver for a long while.  I do adore that city and miss it terribly.  That is how I always feel when I meet someone who is currently living there.
Anyways, we continue to talk when a chanting disrupts us.  It was on the other side of the store.  All, I can make out, is that animals deserve to live.  There was a group of indeterminate people that were boycotting our butcher.  It was insane. So bizarre and it continued for a good 10 minutes.  My first thought was--can't they just kick them out?
Then, I reconsidered.  Giving any attention to this group gave them praise.  I thought we should turn the music up and continue on with customer service.  I don't know how they were politely asked to leave. I was thankful that the chanting stopped.  It was not a peaceful protest by any means.  I cannot even tell you where this group came from.  I hope they do not choose to return and pull this charade tomorrow.
My hiking date fell through for tomorrow morning.  I am bummed for many reasons.  Mostly since I am going to have to get up, earlier, and do laundry.  My land lord was doing his laundry, tonight, when I made it home.  Tomorrow will be an early day.
I think the hair cut might be a grand idea.  And, it's just hair, right?  If it is terrible, it will grow back.  I will wait through the holidays to marinate on the hair idea.

Monday, November 25, 2013


Don't I look happy?  Completely happy in spite of being out of place and under dressed.  Darn my friends that suggest an event is casual.  Casual to them and casual to me are two different things.  I am most at home sporting shorts and a top.  Preferably, a t-shirt.  Something running related, beer related, wine get the picture.  I am most comfortable in shorts/t-shirt.
I continue to reflect on what is important (imperative) to make my life grand.  Travel (obviously), good food, friends.  In some ways, my new job choice is great--I refrain from overspending as I try to live within my means.  I am doing more with less.  However, moving forward, the travel thing is making me antsy.  I must do it.  I don't want to be handcuffed to a house, to a job, to a decision.  I flail between what is okay and what is absolutely making me crazy.  My new job is informative, exciting and different.  There are times, though, when I am extremely sensitive to my performance.  I am task oriented.  Capable and efficient to a fault.  Yet, when multiple tasks are vomited on me, I get distracted and irritated.  I just want to make it work.
I hope to travel for christmas.  Ideally, a flight to Denver would be fantastic.  I shopped flights, today, and it is still manageable.  Then, I think, if I take off time, then, how willing will my job be to accommodate my 2014 schedule?  Will they let me road trip to Santa Fe in January like I have decided I am doing?  Or, will they give me grief about Vegas in February?
I must be smart about my trips.  I intend to see this through.  There is yoga teacher training in March that inspires me.  I did skip my class this morning due to lack of sleep/motivation.  Tomorrow is a new day and I see myself in class.
I had a random dream last night....I sang the National Anthem at a sporting event.  I have no idea what motivated that dream.  I am not a a confident singer. Sure, I sing in my car, in the shower, to myself...but rarely, ever, in public.  It just isn't my thing.
I think of what it meant or where my life is heading.  There has been and continues to be a lesson in Phoenix.  I am staying true to this course while dreaming of more travel.  I know that the transition needs to occur unless I choose to open my own restaurant, yoga studio. bed and breakfast, etc....all interests of mine.  All travel related too.
I digress.  It's been a long day and tomorrow is a new day.  Yoga will refresh before retail therapy of others demands my attention.  It is going to be a great day!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

rain, again?

I wake up to continuing rain.  I love the rain, I do, on occasion.  For instance, while in Santa Fe, it was perfect to walk around the plaza in the rain.  It smelled clean.  Well, and I had someone to share the experience with.  It added to the ambiance of the trip.  My reset button trip.  The trip I had to have to sustain the next five weeks of holiday, retail and chaos.  I know myself and try to stay true to my needs.  The need for a trip to recenter, refocus, re-prioritize.  Santa Fe was the perfect place to accomplish the reset.  It has been and continues to be an oasis.
I returned to Phoenix and it was overcast.  Perfect.  I'll take it.  I'll take it for a few days.  I am over it now.  Why can't it rain during the summer when it is 120?  I am ready for the return of the sun.  I would like to hike and as it continues to rain, that is not an option.  Last year, I went hiking on Thanksgiving.  It seemed like a worthy option but my friend and I chose to head out too late.  We were surrounded the entire hike up Echo.  It wouldn't be that bad if people actually knew how to be courteous/display proper etiquette on the trail.  Instead, it was a cluster of people all trying to accomplish the same thing I wanted.  Make it to the top, quickly.  Breathe in the solitude of the beauty and begin the descent to reality.  Along the way, we were forced to stop as people opted to take a break in challenging places on the path.  One group, literally, made it impossible to climb without stepping on them.  They seemed the most unaware of how to hike amongst others.
This year, if it isn't raining and hiking is an option, I want to go early.  I want to avoid some of the parking issues and idiots on the trail.  I know it sounds harsh.  It is how I feel about it, though.  Hiking is recreational, sure, to a certain degree.  I only ask that the rules are followed of etiquette.  I don't care how long it takes to get up to the top as long as I am not stuck behind a group of people that refuse to yield to others.
I'll get off my soap box.  This all began with the rain.  I did enjoy it, initially.  Now I am ready for a change. My work schedule is limiting my ability to attend yoga.  Hence, the desire to hike.  At least I can get up early and enjoy the fresh air.
Enjoy your day as much as you can.  Here I am complaining about rain and I know that it snowed in Denver and Santa Fe.  I am thankful to not be dealing with that issue.  I do not miss driving in the snow.....

Thursday, November 21, 2013

random rainy day thoughts

Me, on my, do I look happy.  Purple is a good color.  Wine related, suit related--yea, it's a good color.
I am reflecting on my last couple of years.  I felt inspired to consider my life and what has happened since 2006.  Why did I think up this blog?  Travel.  Travel.  Food.  Wine.  Travel.  Travel.  More wine.  More food.  Friends.
I still do all of these things.  Why am I not sharing this?
I think I went through a phase where I felt extremely vulnerable.  Say 2011, I felt exposed.  I can admit that I did it to myself.  I over share, even, when in hindsight, I recognize, not extremely smart.  I choose to be honest, transparent, even.  I attempted to be less share friendly and it has shut down my inspiration.  I want to change this.
I am happy.  I am thriving.  Life is grand.  Travel is immense and I have been enjoying incredible food.  It has seemed, easier, to withhold the information.  To reflect, in my mind, as opposed to the possibility of the blog.  Does that make sense?
I plan on changing it.  What do they say--insanity is when you perform the same behavior and expect a different result?  I no longer have the expectation...I think I have feared using the blog for what it is intended to be.   A forum.  A way in which to communicate my thoughts, desires, wants, needs, craziness.  I have sacrificed my voice due to fear.  I no longer want to operate this way.  I want to be open.
So, my next trip will be detailed. I spent last weekend in Santa Fe. I met a friend for drinks and he was telling me of his own travel stories.  He went on and on (yes, he had good stories/information) and as I listened, I considered my own life. The people I have encountered on the way, the friends I have kept in contact with and the future--what it brings.  My friend from high school seemed surprise that I would want an "adult" job.  I agree with her.  I miss the freedom of my travel life.
So, how can I make that happen?  What can bring that dream to fruition?  I want to know.
For the time being, I will work hard, cultivate relationships and dream of travel.  Celebrate, enjoy and  taste life!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

mini trip

 I love traveling.  It is my reset button.  I am able to assess, reflect, determine my priorities.  Thankfully, my current employer understands that need for travel.  I suppose, the majority, of my employers have seen that desire of mine to be free.
I woke up, at 3:45, to drive to Santa Fe.  I chose to drive a new route which promised to decrease the trip by an hour.  I prefer this road, now, as it does, in fact cut the trip to something manageable.  I wasn't in love with driving in the dark along unfamiliar roads.  I had a lunch date in ABQ with a friend from Jr. High.  Thinking back, the first time I went to Santa Fe, was with Jennifer on a school trip.  I remember that trip fondly.  We visited Bandelier Monument National Park, went to the reservation in Taos and camped in Colorado.  It was my first "real" trip without family....ahh, the memories.
Jennifer and I had lunch at a local eatery.  I was tired from the drive.  Still, it was wonderful to see her and briefly catch up.  We did a half marathon in Las Vegas a few years ago.  I am fortunate to have friends in my life where we can pick up and go where we last left off.  Jennifer relocated to Albuquerque last year and is thriving.  Me, I prefer Santa Fe.
 I checked into my hotel.  It is all about who you meet along the journey.  While at the Wine & Chile Festival, I attended a tasting at the Governor's Mansion.  Lisa swore it would be casual.  I show up in my standard dress--shorts, top, purse draped across my chest.  I am that simple in terms of style.
I felt very underdressed and just went with it.  We mingled and Lisa pointed out some of the movers and shakers in Santa Fe.  Eventually, I found myself outside of the tent and met this guy who was a native of Santa Fe.  He went to D.U. which continued our conversation.  I can talk, forever, about my love for the city of Denver.  I asked David if he had heard of the Bull (my former job) and he goes--yea, I used to hang out there all the time when I was in college.  I was surprised since I didn't recognize him and so I was trying to figure out when college was for him.
Anyways, we had a conversation and that simple conversation led to a lovely room at a hotel in Santa Fe.  I took advantage of his offer of a great rate on my next trip to Santa Fe.
It came earlier than I envisioned.  However, I am going through some changes in my life.  A more stable, adult job, which is scary.  I love the flexibility/freedom associated with bartending.  I am able to keep that job on a minimal basis.  I like the new opportunity with the new position.  I will have insurance through my job which has never been part of the service industry package.  Paid time off, benefits--all new things to me.  But, with that, is a sacrifice.  The sacrifice of my come as I like lifestyle.
I felt it imperative that I take some time for me before greeting the holidays.
This is the view from my jr suite at the hotel.  Decadent and amazing.  I extended my stay to enjoy it a little longer.  Santa Fe rarely (really, never) disappoints me.  I always find new ways to fall in love with this city.  This go around, Melody and I went to Ojo Caliente.  I would definitely recommend it to anyone visiting Santa Fe.  More rustic than the Waves but equally delightful.  I loved it.  I was super relaxed after the soak day, too.
I was taken to a new restaurant that I cannot believe I have never stumbled upon myself.  I had a couple glasses of wine at the palace bar and yummy food.  I especially enjoyed the polenta fries.  My night concluded at Coyote which I have always been a fan of.  I met a sous chef, years ago, while sitting at the hotel bar--i think the San Francisco that time around.  Ben and I met over a discussion regarding the best calamari.  He claimed to make the best calamari while I am loyal to solera (always), in Denver.  At any rate, I ended up dining at coyote cafe in an effort to see if his claim was true.  I didn't have calamari.  The fare was exquisite and I try to sample the latest creations whenever I am in town.  Ben, whose last name I cannot remember, moved four or five years ago to Las Cruces.  I believe he ended up in the south, somewhere, as he originally was from Louisiana.
Yes, travel is my reset.  It lets me be me, come away inspired, new, refreshed and able to work.  It's always a balance for me to find the best possible position that can sustain my need for travel.  Will a stable job be enough to enable this?
I am not ready to answer it yet.  I want to give it a fair shake.  I am committed to it.  I just get frustrated while dealing with the necessary changes.  I can say that my dad was over the moon.  I finally would have a "real" job according to him.
Life is funny.  I prefer being happy to the success that many people seek--stability, money, material goods.  I am much happier on the road or dreaming of my next venture.  Of course, food/wine are staples in my dream book, too.  I don't know where I will end up but I feel a new trip being thought up.  I know Las Vegas is the future as well as a return to Napa.  I convinced a few of my friends that we must (mandatory) sign up for the half marathon in July.  I am a fan of destination races, specifically the ones where wine is involved.  I am grateful that my friends agreed.
Enjoy the day.  I am rejuvenated and looking forward to the experience of my current journey.

Monday, November 4, 2013


I gripe about etiquette, a lot.  It's because it's important to me to function in society.  It makes it so much easier when everyone follows suit.  Using turn signals.  Saying excuse me, thank you, please...simple things that we were all taught in our formulative years.
It is beyond frustrating to see the lack of respect for etiquette.  The snow birds have returned to AZ and so there is a plethora of slow drivers on the freeways.  People that do not drive frequently on freeways.  I try to not stress out about it.
Then, today, I went hiking and made sure to allow people to have the right away on their descent. I made eye contact and hoped they would acknowledge me with a thank you.  Rarely did it happen.  Moreoever, I did ensure that this guy that sounded like an elephant (heavy walker) could pass me safely.  I waited on the side for him to continue.  He did not even acknowledge it. Jackass!
Annoyed, I continued.  There is a bench to rest at the midway point.  I approached it and noted the elephant was resting.  I walked off to the side and drank some gatorade.  I waited for the heavy walker to start.  He didn't.  In my mind, I knew I would refuse to let him pass me as he had no class in the first encounter.
I made my way to the top and passed another guy that I had made sure to say excuse me too.  This new guy was inexperienced and had no clue as to how to be respectful to other hikers.  He was in the way and wouldn't step aside to allow someone to pass.
I just don't get it.  What happened to awareness?  Kindness?  Etiquette?  Why must I keep beating my head against a brick wall when it comes to this?  Should I just let it go?
Of course, I entertain that thought.  Then, I hear something, not associated with this particular thing but a reminder that I am right.  It all goes back to respect, commanding respect, being respectful.  I was told last night that I was a bitch...but don't take it the wrong way.
I didn't.  I knew, exactly, what this guy was trying to say.  When I say things are done at my bar gig, people listen.  Why? Because they know that I mean it.  I try to be honorable, respectful, genuine.
I guess I am on a soap box since I saw a lady sideswipe a car yesterday.  I heard the crash and watched as the woman got out of her vehicle to assess the damage.  She looked around and spotted me and another guy on a bike.  I couldn't help myself.  I had to say something.  I have been sideswiped and it sucks.
So, I tell the lady to leave a note.  I even suggest...if this were your car, how would you feel?
She agrees and I head to yoga.  I watch for the person that owns the car that was hit.  Ten minutes later they walk up to their car.  I rush out to see if the woman was honest with her note.  She was.  It sucks that I had the expectation that she would not be.
Next time you are out, driving, use your turn signals.  Why is this an issue?  Is it a problem that you indicate your next move as opposed to merging into an unassuming person?  Or, hiking, say, excuse me...It makes it so much kinder.  What happened to kindness, gratitude, respect?
I am done for the night.  I will enjoy my glass of wine.  My program.  The rest of my day off.  The possibility of a trip, improved etiquette, kindness.

Birthday in Santa Fe

I spent a couple of days in Santa Fe....absolutely glorious.  I always want more time there.  Wine and Chile was awesome.  Finally, made the festival and it was fantastic.  My friend, Lisa, invited me to accompany her to the event.  I had just taken a new job and so it was uncertain if I would truly be able to travel to Santa Fe.  I was determined to make it work.  When they asked me if I had upcoming travel, I made sure, to mention my trip to the land of enchantment.
All of my friends told me that I should eat the loss of ticket and take the job.  I wanted the job.  I just wanted to go to Santa Fe more.  Thankfully, it all worked out.  I took the job and went to Santa Fe.  The time flew by.  I could have used a couple more days to hike, check out new restaurants, chill.  I am hoping to road trip it up there in a couple weeks.  I cannot help myself.  I thrive when I travel.  I am going to make it happen in spite of it being holidays, ideal weather for AZ, etc.  I want to take a trip.
I know that i have been lax, this year, with blogging.  I just have not felt inspired to share.  Or perhaps I wonder what the lesson is for me currently.  Until I figure it out, I refrain from sharing.  
I went hiking today.  Beautiful.  I craved a slice of pizza and a glass of wine.  Red to be specific.  I dreamed of that sensation the entire descent of the hike.  I couldn't figure out where to go.  I mean, few places offer slices and if they do, do they have wine?  My friend suggested a local spot that I knew had pies.  I drove up, subconsciously knowing, that it was a mistake.  I should have went with the place I knew, 100%, had what I was looking for.  I was looking for a new way to spend my day off.  I get in ruts or so it seems this year.  
The place I tried to go did not offer slices of pizza.  At this point, I could have recovered my car from valet and headed to the original normal place.  Instead, I defaulted to a popular wine spot.  Lazy.  I was hungry, tired and wanting food.  Mistake.  My sandwich was dry, lame, bland.  I definitely should have taken the extra time to drive to the pizza spot.  Instead I stayed and tried to make the best of it.  The wine was nice.
I think what a waste of a day off in terms of food.  However, I did make a lovely dinner and so it sort of redeemed the day.  Penne pasta with tomatoes, onions and garlic.  Delicious!  
I will make more of an effort to post.  I must make time to be creative and enjoy life.  I will have more photos of my upcoming venture to Santa Fe.  Car tags are current and a road trip sounds delightful....