Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Year in Review

I began 2014 with a conversation with my landlord.  Went something like this....good morning.  Jonny will be in town tomorrow night.
Me, "Oh, that is good news.  I am sure that I will see you and Janelle then for drinks at some point."
Him, "I think so, too.  Have a great day and see you tomorrow."
At no point in the conversation did he mention that he planned on renovating his house which meant he would level mine.  I found that out at dinner, the next night, with Jonny.  I was shocked and my landlord goes, I told you this yesterday morning....no, I am pretty sure that I would have remembered that tidbit of information.  I saw him, drinking coffee, with me, doing laundry.  There was no wine involved.  And believe me, I would have remembered the I am going to level your house conversation had it happened.
Regardless. it was a sign that my time in AZ had ended.  That I should relocate and I had a few options in mind.  Bend, Oregon; Paso Robles, California or Santa Fe.  Bend would be much closer to two of my sisters and has a vibrant vibe and an awesome craft beer scene.  Plus, I knew a few people that lived there that could potentially help me with employment.  Paso Robles is wine country which I love.  I love that it is smaller than Napa and not as elitist.  However, the cost of living is challenging there and I didn't have a person that I could lean on for employment or rental places.  Santa Fe has amazing restaurants and I had visited, frequently, while living in Denver.  I have a friend, Melody, that I have known since 2003 or 04.  
Everything led to Santa Fe--job, casita, close proximity to Denver.  I moved and have experienced the loveliness of small town life for the past 8 months.   I love the food factor and will continue to do that.  I think I live on breakfast burritos (or try to) and green chile.  Absolutely love green chile.  Still it is small and I have griped about that and the lack of yoga in Santa Fe.  Today, was another example of crappy music and how agitated I get.  However, today when I left the class after the instructor played the hare krishna cover of Royals, I ran into the owner of the studio.  She asked me if I had left due to it being too much.  Keep in mind--I wasn't sweating or red faced.  I told her the truth.  That I hated the song selection and the current song made me crazy.  She seemed surprised that I would leave because of that.  If only she knew how much the song selection affects everyone.  I am just tired of attempting to tune it out.  If the class sucks, I am no longer forcing myself to finish it.
I digress.  It's been an interesting year of starting over and adjusting.  I think I enjoy the start over factor immensely.  I like it and then appreciate visiting previous cities and spending time with friends I made while in that particular city.  I have recognized how much I had while living in AZ in the past 8 months too.  I miss my family there.  Thankfully, I managed two quick trips to visit friends in July and then, again, in December.
Quickly, I started 2014 by heading to Denver in January.  I felt a trip to see the Goddess and Sara Jo was a necessity.  February brought a trip to Santa Fe where I met my future manager and explored the foodie factor with Shari and Melody.  Of course, we soaked at Ojo, too.
I drove to Santa Fe twice in April before relocating there.  Sara Jo met me one of trips to help me find a rental property.  She truly is the apartment whisperer.  Two of my favorite rentals have been found by her.
May was mostly spent here trying to figure out the town and maneuver the job.  I road tripped it to Denver three weeks later to see friends and do yoga.  Already at that point, I knew I wasn't in love with the yoga scene here.  In July, I met Sara Jo, Lindsay and Sara's friend to run the Napa Half marathon.  Amazing destination race.  The weather was ideal and who doesn't love Napa/Sonoma?  A few weeks later, I flew to Phoenix for more yoga and a reminder of how hot it is in August.  I saw a few friends and started thinking about yoga certification for myself.
August/September I lived, breathed, slept work.  That was the only option inspite of the fact that I was dreaming of a trip.  I booked my trip to the Bahamas for October and chose to celebrate my birthday that way this year.  It was amazing.  I managed to enjoy another country as well.
In November, I drove to Denver to see friends.  I miss that but being in Santa Fe means I am about 5 hours from Denver.  I can get my fix in a few days trip.  It snowed which I was not in love with.  But, I managed to enjoy some amazing food, go to Izba and hit one yoga class.  I was lame in that department.
December I chose to fly to AZ, solely for the purpose of doing yoga.  By this point, I was struggling in Santa Fe and in desperate need of a vinyasa fix.  I wish I could express to people here how wonderful the yoga community in Phoenix is.  Or that the reason I enjoy listening to hip hop while doing vinyasa flow is that the movement is tied to the beat of the music.  Listening to folk music or cover music (think smashing pumpkins cover of landslide) is not inspiring when doing a flow class.  It leads to agitation for many people.  Not just me.  I guess the best thing to come out of this experience is that I am ready to get certified, stop complaining and do it myself.  There have been a few days where I have chosen to practice at my house instead of being angry in a class where the music is super lame.
So, I moved, started over, reestablished ties to Denver and Phoenix and traveled abroad.  It's been an epic year.  I am excited for 2015 and what it will bring.  More celebration, food and wine (obviously).  I will recall the food factor of 2014 hopefully tomorrow. It's been lovely.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

being kind to family members

I worked on Monday night.  Initially, it seemed like it was going to be a lost cause.  Not a ton of reservations and so my mind had already wandered into the what am I doing here zone?  Around 5:15, two ladies walk in and sit at the bar.  From their appearance and after watching their mannerisms, I realized this was a mother and daughter.  The older woman was beautiful as was her daughter.  I had seen the daughter around town.  I initially thought at yoga but it wasn't that.  No, I had seen her at the restaurant with parents of one of my friends.
At any rate, two other ladies arrive and they are old friends.  One of them, I knew, from waiting on her at earlier times.  Thankful for the distraction of the random conversations.  Eventually, the four ladies attempt to make friends with each other.  They express where they are from, how long they have lived in Santa Fe, and what they are doing now.  I stood back and was thankful for their ability to converse amongst themselves.  The older gals departed and the mom and daughter remained.  My friend joined me at the bar and I poured her a drink.  Her cousin committed suicide after Thanksgiving and she had attended the memorial service earlier that day.  It had been an emotional day for her and I think, having to work that night, exhausted her.  The mom/daughter also had attended the funeral and had made comments about it and how suicide is so difficult.  I silently agreed, knowing, that my friend at the bar was a cousin to the guy.  Eventually, my friend opened up about her cousin and I listened to the family history.  Sometimes it's best to listen and not offer words of encouragement, sympathy or wisdom.  I mean, every person has a story or experience with death.  I poured the ladies some more wine and that was my mistake.  They were enjoying themselves and I get like this, too.  I don't want the night to end and so I tell myself that I should have a splash of wine.  However, I was unprepared for the way the daughter spoke to her mom.  I think the mix of wine, talking about death, family, etc....inspired them to discuss their past.  Why they moved to Santa Fe.  The mom had one idea of what it was like for her eldest daughter and the daughter was adamant that her mom did not remember it correctly.  She basically told her mom to eff herself and off.  The mother started to cry and went to the bathroom.  Awkwardly, I sat there and waited to see what would happen next.  The girl asked if I would check on her mom.  I went into the bathroom and found this broken woman, crying, and I tried to comfort her.  I have a difficult relationship with mom at times.  It is tenuous and there is a lot of hurt, at times.  Still, I have never told me mom to eff off or speak to her in such a hateful manner.  That was the shocking part.
I returned and explained that the mom was upset and that I had encouraged her to come back to the bar.  I went back a second time to try to repair some of the damage that had been inflicted on her.  Of course, I knew that it was blown out of proportion due to the wine, holidays, family hurt.  The daughter seemed so surprised that the mom was upset.  Finally, they left and my friend and I remarked on how mean the girl was to her mom.  It was really awful.  Made me thankful that I have refrained from being such a cee you next Tuesday to my mom, dad, or sister.  Seriously there is no reason to be that mean or hateful.  Aren't we supposed to be thankful during the holidays?  Well, for me, everyday?
I am off to yoga to practice gratitude and find zen.  Cheers!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Dinner with a friend

Tuesday, I had a day off and a plan to meet with one of my co-workers for dinner.  Initially, I considered rescheduling since I was feeling a cold creep into my week.  Then, I thought better of it.  Why take a raincheck when I was perfectly fine and I did want to go to dinner.  I confirmed with Josh and arranged to meet him at 6ish.  
I arrived first and was seated in a friend's section.  We looked over the menu and I remarked that I was open to sampling several dishes as opposed to him picking one and me choosing one entree.  I am an adventurous diner and wanted to continue in that fashion.  Josh relocated from Phoenix for his job, like I did.  However, unlike me who has actively engaged in yoga and/or meeting people, Josh has been mostly working/sleeping.  I was shocked that he had not taken the time to dine at other restaurants just to see what is out there.  I hope, for his sake, that he makes a change.  There are wonderful restaurants in SF.  Several that are worthy, for sure.  One of the reasons I chose to move here.
We started with roasted cauliflower and a curry soup with brown butter.  Both were delicious. I really enjoyed the cauliflower.  Roasted with an anchovy tomato sauce and capers.  I saw that on the menu and it spoke to me.  I guess I am salty.
Next, we had a foie, lobster terrine and a mango gelee.  Josh loved this dish.  He couldn't get enough of it.  I liked it but was not in love with it like him.  We paired it with a salmon crudo over spinach and fried basil.  I had higher hopes for this dish but the greens were overwhelming.  After a wine break, we finished with lamb ribs with coriander.  Nice way to finish the meal.  I had wanted fries or something from the bar menu but honestly, Josh, had no interest in duck fat fries.  He had had many examples of duck fat fries.  Next time, I will be more forceful in my desire to have fries.
Dessert seemed optional until I realized they had carrot cake.  That decided it.  I am such a pushover when it comes to this dessert.  If done well, I am ecstatic.  If not, well, it seems like a waste of calories.
At any rate, the meal was a success and it reminded me of how much I enjoy dinner with friends.  I have been able to do this to some degree since I moved here.  Melody, Teo, and a few other girlfriends and I have ventured out into the culinary scene in SF.  But it is few and far between.  Melody has a thriving practice to cultivate.  Teo travels a bunch for work and the other friends are new and so I am in the process of developing friendships and discovering how much we have in common.  Mainly the food factor.
When I lived in Denver, I met Sara Jo once a week to check out new restaurants.  I loved that and I miss it.  Even if it was only wine and appetizers at my place.  We would meet and catch up on our weeks, lives, etc.  I do hope to dine with Josh more often or have a few friends to dine with on a regular basis.  Food does unite us all and it is lovely to dine with people that love and appreciate food like I do.  
I am off to work to finance my love of food and travel.  Plus, working keeps me out of trouble.  A rainy day like today inspires me to be lazy, watch movies and eat tomato soup.  If only it was my day off.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

dinner tonight....

I was on the fence with what I wanted to do today.  I knew yoga was part of the equation and potentially, dinner.  I semi-celebrated thanksgiving with Melody on Saturday.  A cheese plate with taleggio (which was actually not that great.  Odd texture that day), sage darby, some sausage, house made pickles and a lovely cherry ginger chutney.  We started the afternoon with a glass of brut rose and then each had a glass of white wine to follow.  It was nice, brief and an opportunity to catch up with Melody.  I always enjoy seeing her.  She spent the holiday in Michigan with her family.
I worked the last few nights and so my celebration has been put on hold.  I kept thinking about checking out this one spot in Santa Fe.  A great wine bar and the chef is phenomenal.  A young guy with a great palette.  Years ago, he had his own spot and Melody and I had dinner there.  We were the only people in the restaurant.  I blamed it on the location.  A little off the main drag in SF.  The food was delicious and a great experience.  I don't know exactly what happened only that it was no longer open and he had moved on to a wine driven spot outside of town.
Anyways, I ran into some guys that work with him and they inform me that he is no longer at the spot.  What?  I am sad that I did not make it a priority to sample his food in the last few months.  Instead, I made excuses or went to other eateries that were more convenient to get to.  I still considered going there tonight but then thought better of it.  Who knows what the food is like now that they no longer have their chef?
I have been spending time with a guy that I work with who came from Phoenix.  Originally from Chicago and so Josh understands the big city life.  Since he moved here, he has been working, working, working.  I think he should make the most out of his time here and so I invited him to join me for dinner tonight.  We are planning on going to a different spot that is easier to get to.  And two of the guys that I work with work there which also makes it a little nicer.  I'm thinking there might be a comped glass of wine in my near future.
I have been battling an incoming cold.  Mostly due to being dehydrated on Thursday.  My immune system goes to crap when I am hot adequately hydrated.  I know it and have experienced it a few times.  I have upped the water intake, ate garlic cloves and broke down and bought some oil of olive leaf spray.  I do not intend to be sick this week or next.  I have a yoga inspired trip upcoming.  I cannot wait to get that yoga fix.  Today, for example, I went to a class and the music was terrible.  I forced myself to concentrate on the sequence until the instructor played a cover to a song that I like with a yoga theme to it.  I couldn't take anymore of it.  I had to leave.  I wrote a comment card and asked if they had thought about changing the music style as it was becoming more and more challenging for me to want to stay in the classes.  I left fifteen minutes early when I had completely lost my focus.  I was distracted and ready to try something else out.
I did manage a walk today to enjoy the weather and my music.  As I was enjoying the neighborhood I realized that I am ready to start running again.  Maybe tomorrow will be the day.  And I know that there isn't a yoga class to attend tomorrow.  I am out of passes at one studio and unwilling to purchase more unless they change their music.  I will remain stubborn.  Running it is...

new week and hope for inspiration

New week.  New yoga studio.  I am trying to make the most of my city by checking out new studios and instructors.  I attended a class on Saturday at a different studio.  Although it was not a heated studio and music was not a factor, I saw the benefit of the class and instructor.  Soothing voice, commanding and a decent flow.  I felt super stretched and could see myself returning to the studio to change things up.  I am struggling in my practice by only attending one instructor's class.  Her music is killing me and I leave unsatisfied.  I am considering taking my own music in to listen to.  I know that she would ultimately be offended but she isn't the most receptive to constructive criticism.  Her style has inspired me to seek certification and continually be learning. Oh and update my ipod.  
Today, I will head to another studio and see if it is a good fit for me.  This studio is heated and small.  I remember from a visit in February. There is a different instructor teaching and so I am hopeful that I will enjoy the sequence.  I won't know unless I go, right?
I managed to arrange a 3 class pass for $15.  Benefit of being new to the studio.  It is a welcoming studio with a shower, separate bathroom and small studio space to practice yoga in.  And it's heated.  I entered the space and set up my mat.  I waited for the class to begin and thankfully two other people joined us.  The instructor had an outline of what she wanted to teach.  I felt that she was a new instructor from that and that her flow was disjointed.  She did recognize that we all had a strong practice and she changed her routine to accommodate us.  I appreciated that.  I hope to use the three classes this month as it was a nice change to my typical class.  Was I in love with the class?  No.  I wish she had integrated more sequence into the flow.  We did a bunch of chatarangas and optional chatarangas.  Still I like a warrior sequence where flow is utilized as opposed to doing a warrior 1, side angle, chataranga to do the other side.  It was a little choppy/disorganized in my opinion.  However, she seemed open to suggestions and was kind.  She recommended that I check out their interval class as it was a little more athletic which I seemed to prefer (according to her).  I did express my love of power flow and how I was finding it challenging to practice in SF.  There are not a lot of options to practice this style of yoga.
I am super excited to head to AZ next week.  I can hike Camelback and/or check out multiple yoga classes.  There are so many instructors that I would love to see and attend their classes.  My plan is to go directly to the noon class on Thursday.  I am traveling in my yoga attire to achieve this.  My hope is to attend 3 classes while in AZ.  The first class will be a given.  I can cab it from the airport.  The other classes will be more of a challenge.  How to get around without a rental in AZ and make it to early classes.  Do I rely on friends or try to cab it around the city?  I have a lot of things I would like to do while in Phoenix.  Yoga, pedicure (definitely need), foodie factor and friends....wish I had more time.
Until then, I will make the most of the yoga scene in SF.  That and/or embrace running.  I have a feeling that I will be fully returning to that for a way to reflect on life.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

How I spend my day off, sorta....

I was all over the place Tuesday.  One of my friends from Colorado considered joining me in Santa Fe for dinner.  Of course, I was excited about the prospect of either making dinner or supporting one of the local eateries.  I was leaning towards that direction.  I wanted to enjoy the day of gratitude a few days early since I will be working on Thursday.  I am grateful for the work and knowledge that I will be fed well prior to the shift.
Troy is a great friend of mine and flaky.  Several times in the past few years, we have had plans to meet for dinner and he has canceled.  The most recent disappointment was my August 28th dinner.  I made reservations and waited for the day to arrive.  About 10 am that morning, I receive a text that Troy's driver license is expired.  He is in the process of correcting it but since it is an expired AZ license and he is physically in Colorado, well, he has some red tape to deal with.  I knew  that he would not be joining me for dinner that night.
Or last night.  It was this sense that I got from the weekend.  I had a plan b and c set up if needed.  For sure, I was heading to ojo to soak.  That part of the day did not alter at all.  I knew that I wanted to soak and enjoy life pre-holiday.  There was a thought of returning to ABQ to attend a yoga class at a heated studio.  I had a 10 day pass to utilize.  Yet, I wasn't wowed by the class music or structure and driving an hour there and an hour back wasn't enticing.  Yoga was an afterthought.
My plan b and c involved meeting with a few ladies for happy hour.  Libby had agreed to meet me after her shift.  I was looking forward to meeting her somewhere downtown.  She contacted me to ask for a rain check early in the day.  She had plans to go to church with her mom.  I was a little surprised about that but agreed to meet her on Saturday.  Plan c was a meet up with a co-worker of mine.  It was a thought but I knew that we would not pursue it.   Teo lives south of the city and wanted to enjoy a day off at her house.
At any rate, I had to go into work at 4 to consult on the new cocktail list.  I had agreed to do that on my day off.  After soaking at Ojo and lunch with wine, I head into work, thinking, that I will leave by 5ish when the bar opens.  Of course, 4 o'clock comes and goes with me waiting for the gm to finish the paperwork from the day shift.  I look over the proposed cocktails and considered where I would be concluding my day.  At 5:15, the gm approaches me and says,"Can you change and work tonight?"  He was frantic and it is challenging to say no to someone in person.  I agree to help but tell him that I need to go home and get my pants and shoes.  He seemed frustrated that I didn't have my attire with me.  Yet, why would I?  It was my day off.
So, although the day began in a promising fashion--soak, wine--it concluded with a little bit of work.  Thankfully the guys working last night where kind and understanding that it was, in fact, my day off.  Some of my co-workers expect more from the back servers.  I didn't make one cappucino (thank god).  I was not looking forward to that at all.
Today, I have laundry to look forward to...yea~

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


In the last month, I have overheard several conversations regarding the decline of the written note.  Last night, this established man who owns his own business and is in his 50's said, "I have a 22 year -old kid that wears a hoodie and is constantly on his phone.  He doesn't talk.  He just texts and does the social media stuff.  I was told that I would need to hire someone of this caliber to be relevant in today's world."  Really?
It was funny how he explained it.  He wasn't impressed by the fact that the hoodied kid did not talk.  He just sits there and plays with his phone.  Memorable to some degree.  I guess.  The clothing and fact that the kid does not speak.
Social media is relevant and our world is evolving.  It is obvious in schools.  The absence of cursive writing teaching in schools and what this is doing to our society.  Many people today do not know how to communicate outside of texting.  I remember this woman saying that her son does not know how to sign his name in cursive.  He was never taught how to cursive write in school.  He prints his name whenever asked for a signature.  Seems very strange and foreign to me.
Granted my handwriting can be and is atrocious at times.  All of my friends can attest to this.  I sent Shari and Tom a postcard from my recent trip.  It was received while they were hosting a dinner with friends.  Their friends were shocked at how challenging it was to decipher what I was saying.  Became a parlor game of sorts.
I do enjoy writing letters, cards, notes.  I think it allows me to express my creative side.  I cannot imagine not being able to hand write a letter.  My printing is awkward and challenging too.  I always seem to slant into cursive.
I digress.  It is imperative to know how to write, communicate, interact in every social situation.  Texting is a poor substitute for social communication.  Sure, I do it.  I make happy hour plans, arrange hiking dates, yoga, etc....I also know how to phone someone to make plans.  E-mail.  Write a letter and actually speak when in social situations.  I notice more and more that people do not make an effort in speaking.  They are more comfortable communicating via text.
There are so many ways to misinterpret a text.  It's confusing that this is now the preferred way of interacting.  I am making an effort to meet with friends, in person, this week and having an honest conversation.  I have managed to set up a hiking date on Wednesday to meet with someone that I recently met.  He is adjusting to recovering from rotator cuff surgery.  So walking/hiking is an acceptable form of exercise.  Plus, as he pointed out, taking time to enjoy being outdoors and walking forces you to see a lot of things that are overlooked on a daily basis.  I am looking forward to enjoying the outdoors.
I think there is a trip to Ojo in my future today in spite of the random snow storm from yesterday.  My way of celebrating turkey day as I will be working Thursday.  Will check the road conditions and go.  Beautiful day to soak.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

experiencing other yoga studios in NM

Friday night, I chose to go out with a few of my co-workers.  I knew I had an early morning and I was not interested in going to the club, the karaoke place or the electronica place.  We ended up at the local watering hole, which coincidentally, I had been to two other times that week.  Lame.  I felt like I was developing an intimate relationship with the bartenders there.  And the food.  My one friend loves the chicken tenders.  They are fried and sure, okay.  Great.  No, it's bar food that is okay.  I have a glass of wine and run into some other people I work with.  Busy spot for a Friday and as it winded down, I did consider heading over to the club place.  Mariah really wanted to go and I had not yet been there.  However, paying a cover to go into a club and hang out with 20 yr-olds was not the way I wanted to conclude my night.  I headed home and ended my night there.
Saturday I drove to ABQ and checked out a yoga studio.  It had been recommended to me by a girl in Santa Fe that is in the early stages of opening her own yoga studio.  I trust her judgment and like her vinyasa class when she teaches.  At any rate, I arrive and find a super clean studio.  One thing that annoyed me was that they do not accept cash.  Indicator of how things are in ABQ.  They felt it decreased the risk of being robbed.  They have a special for ten days for $10.  I took that option as a drop in is $20.  I figure I could drive down if I liked the class.
Friendly greeter who gives me a tour of their space.  Everything is impeccable.  Four shower stalls, amenities out the yang, they offer towels to use to cut down on my own laundry and mats.  I enter the studio and it is heated.  Another thing that I like about yoga is a heated class.  In Phoenix during the summers, they do not need to heat any studio.  It is hot enough.  Yet, I always preferred the heated class for a vinyasa flow.
The class started with the instructor telling us to grab two blocks.  Mental note--I do not like being told to grab props.  It forces me to put something back when the class ends.  Silly.  Sure.  But, I do not like using blocks, bolsters, blankets or straps.  I wonder how often the blankets are cleaned and it sort of freaks me out.
Anyways, I do as told and wait to see what we will do with the blocks.  Right away, we utilize one with some core work.  The instructor was not shy on core work which I did appreciate.  The music sucked which I think is typical in New Mexico.  I want a power packed class with appropriate music.  The music she chose put me to sleep.  We did a couple warrior poses and a few chatarangas.  The core work was accentuated which I did enjoy but I still prefer a class with chatarangas and flow.  I showered.  Awesome shower and nice product.  The space in the locker room could have been utilized better.  There wasn't really any good spot to dress.  The counter space was okay if you dodged giving a show to the person opening the door.  It was a little challenging.
Still, there was a lot of nice things that this studio offered.  I asked the instructor if they had a class where more chatarangas were incorporated.  She said that they really do not focus on that aspect of the vinyasa since it is a heated studio.  I was shocked since I, regularly, frequented two studios in Phoenix that were heated and specialized in vinyasa flow with many, many, many chatarangas taught.  Her explanation was that the heat was too much and that people would pass out...what?  Obviously, you aren't letting people push their limits and I was disappointed.  I told her that I live in SF and was having a difficult time finding an instructor that taught what I call yoga.  Immediately, she asks me if I had been to the local guru class that I do not enjoy, at all.  I said, no, it is not intense enough for me and I do not like it.  I think I surprised her.  This guy also teaches at their studio in ABQ.  In a heated format, perhaps, I would find something to enjoy.  His music is awful though.
So, I don't know if I will return to this studio.  I have the option too as I have a 10 day pass.  Still, it takes time to get down to ABQ, gas money and then there is the integrity of the class.  I know what I am looking for and I have not found it here.
I returned home and booked a trip to Phoenix.  Purely for a yoga retreat and reminding myself that I can endure in a heated challenging class with awesome music.  I cannot wait!
I am off now to return to a class that I frequent regularly.  I am hoping to approach the instructor with changing her music.  Lately, her selection has bored me.  I am not a fan of traditional yoga sounds.  I want rap....

Friday, November 21, 2014

yoga, injury, recovery....

My desire to support my friend, the yoga instructor, created an injury for me.  I went to her class yesterday and was having a difficult time getting through it.  She teaches at a much slower pace than I am accustomed to.  I force myself to stay not wanting to hurt her feelings.  Mistake #1.  I didn't get much out of the class outside of a tweak to my sacrum that I felt the remainder of the day.  I tried to rest and stay off of it before heading into work.  I arrive at work and immediately feel the injury.  I had not thrown it out of place but it definitely was tweaked.  I take a few alleve and hope for the best.  I tense up every time someone walks by me and I get irritated at my co-workers lack of personal space.  Seriously, I was tense and hyper aware of my surroundings.  My ability to bend from my waist was the issue.  So refilling a water was challenging.
I couldn't wait to get home, take a bath and use a heating pad.  By the time I got home from work, I no longer was interested in a bath.  I wanted to go to bed.  And, I scrapped the heating pad and opted for ice.  It's always ice for the first 24 hours and then add heat.  I slept, fitfully, and woke to find that I had improved a little.  I do not enjoy taking pain medication to mask pain.  I would rather confront it, head on, and work to a solution.  I took 3 alleve yesterday and felt bad about it.  So, I stretched to strengthen my sacrum, swore I would start doing sit ups to strengthen my core (the opposite of back pain) and went on-line.  I didn't want to have to go to a chiropractor for this.  I knew that I had not completely thrown it out.  Plus, I don't know of any chiropractors in Santa Fe.  Sure, I could call Melody and ask her who she could refer.  I am certain that she could help me in that regard.
I was not at that point yet.  I stretched.  I used arnica cream, my heating pad, ice.  I consulted the internet to see if there were any additional stretches that I was unfamiliar with.  Of course, there are.  I found a series of three videos that would address sacrum pain and how to stretch.  Mid second video my back pops slowly into place and I feel relief.  Eureka!  I feel so much better.
I know that I must be soft with my movements tonight and continue to stretch and baby my sacrum.  It is not a quick recovery.  It's all about strengthening.  I will return to yoga tomorrow.  In Albuquerque...there is not a class here on Saturdays that inspires me.  I have the day off and can make the most of it.  Heading to ABQ will enable me a chance to dine with little Jenn and check out the local flavor there.  It is something that I have not been motivated to do until now.  I believe there are more yoga options in ABQ and some great dining options.  I could thrift store shop, too.  I want to make the most out of being here.
I might have a friend in town tomorrow night.  Still waiting to hear back from Troy.  If, he does in fact, drive down to Santa Fe, I hope to make dinner.  I love my casita and hope to enjoy it.  My kitchen could be larger but it is homey.  I intend to make use of the space and entertain.  I was never able to do that in Phoenix and it is something that I enjoy.  I have beautiful wine glasses and knives from my time with Brian.  I gave my platters away which in hindsight was silly.  I should have lent them to Lindsay or Sara.
I am thankful for the injuries of the past to give me insight into how to heal myself.  I feel pretty great this afternoon.  And, I will trust my instincts.  I knew that I would sustain an injury from being bored in yoga.  I hate that I am right....

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Commitment to this

After my reading on Tuesday, I have decided to plan, to visualize and write.  I have had several readings done and a few things stand out.  I'm a healer, supposedly creative/should write, a teacher and travel is in my chart.  It was even suggested that I would marry in whatever sense I felt appropriate be it getting married or just having a partner, that I would meet this person abroad or they would be foreign.  I guess that does play into my travel plans.  Watch out Spanish men is all I am saying.  If I achieve a partner in 2015 that is.
Regarding teaching, I have never felt like one in the conventional sense.  I learn from life experiences and know that I lean towards eastern measures.  I have had many experiences with physical therapy from running, injury and massage.  I find that I enjoy sharing my knowledge with others.  Specifically, my sister, Michaela.  I remember a conversation we had a few years ago.  She had sustained a hamstring injury initially.  I am stubborn.  I can say it.  I know it.  I won't go to the doctor unless I am dying and even then, I have to make myself go.  My sister is worse.  She jacked up her hamstring and kept running.  It hurt but she told herself that she could run through the pain.  Fool!  So, the next few years she is in constant pain.  She saw a therapist and a doctor.  I advised her when she hurt herself to rest, recover, ice and start doing yoga when her leg felt better.  She listened and told me that she didn't particularly like yoga.  It wasn't enough of a workout for her.
The pain intensifies and she goes to her doctor for stomach pain.  I tell her that it is her psoas that is acting up and I was right.  I knew that particular spot from massage and having a therapist work on my psoas by massaging my stomach.  Painful and ticklish, too.
The creativity is there.  I still censor myself through my words and absence of blogging.  I am committed to changing this.  I am ready.  I feel that I came to Santa Fe to think about my purpose in life and enjoy phenomenal food.  It does not lack in that department at all.  I am benefiting from all of the restaurants, meeting people and work.  I work in one of the premier places and am fortunate for that.  I am learning more and more about food, techniques and flavor profiles.  I miss being a wine buyer as I tasted a bunch of wine.  Kept my palette fresh and wine is always something I enjoy talking about (obviously).  Maybe I could find a group of like-minded individuals here that are wine tasting on a regular basis.  I want to continue to learn in that realm.
The healing aspect goes with the teaching--I think.  Something that is currently evolving based on what is going on around me.  I think I am still absorbed with healing myself and learning how to help others based on my life experiences.  I seem to excel at grief suggestions and how to celebrate life.  Yoga is helping and I am finding that I must be patient in my practice currently.  There are not a lot of options offered here of what I enjoy.  It's inspiring me to get my certification.  For example, the class I attended today was basic.  Really basic.  New instructor that I personally know.  I want her to be successful.  I just wasn't in love with her class.  However, I will return in a few weeks and see how it is progressing.
In the meantime, I will write, plan, visualize.  And do yoga, drink wine, travel (hopefully to AZ or Denver) and be patient.  Patience is the lesson of my present.
Life is about continuing to learn, prosper, and develop, right?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

weekend in denver

Weekend in Denver was amazing!  I drove up, early, Friday, in an attempt to go to a yoga class.  My intention was to support a studio where I knew the ladies from Phoenix.  I surprised the one and had a lovely class.  It wasn't phenomenal as it was a bikram/flow class where the class has the same flow on a daily basis.  This has never inspired me but I did appreciate the heat, the music and knowing that I could support some gals from AZ.  
Afterwards, I headed to Cherry Creek and met Maghan for lunch.  I knew that he had the day off and I always enjoy our conversations.  He is food friendly, worldly and likes wine.  Of course we get a long fantastically.  I talked to Lindsay and made plans to meet Sara Jo later in the evening.  I had a couple days and wanted to make the most of them.
We had a few pints and waited for Sara and Maghan to join us.  Downtown was packed and the energy was wonderful.  I remembered enjoying that aspect of living in a large city.  I missed it.  Eventually Maghan arrived, followed by Sara Jo.  We chit chatted with Steve and ate fried mushrooms.  I think we could have stayed there all night.  Super comfortable place and awesome beers.
We made plans to go have dinner in five points.  Of course the chef we knew had already left for the day.  I wanted to surprise him.  Dinner was great as it normally is when I get together with my friends.  We b.s. about previous travel, trips, food stories.  Maghan helped us with our first half marathon lodging in Napa.  He celebrated with us over Restaurant Week a few years ago in honor of Brian's life.  Having dinner in Denver was the perfect way to celebrate that year.  So, we have a history between us.  It's easy to fall back into the rhythm of that story.
Saturday encouraged taking care of ourselves and healing.  I met Bryn for coffee and scones at her place.   Lovely way to spend a Saturday morning.  Afterwards, Sara Jo and I went to my favorite spa place for a banya session.  Loved it.  Banya followed by an hour massage. I was in heaven.  Relaxed, rejuvenated, refreshed.  Yes, I adore spending time at this spa.  At this point, we wanted to have lunch, wine and figure out dinner.  Sara's dog, Lincoln, had been having health issues and so we wanted to stay close to home for dinner.  Lunch, however, was a different story.  We could dine out and drink wine.  Brussel sprout hash and mac and cheese seemed to be the way to go.
Rainy day inspired more wine.  We returned to Sara's with wine, cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, crab cake and vegetables.  Perfect way to spend the evening.
Sunday, I woke up, knowing that I had to make the drive back to SF.  Work demanded it.  I had a quick cup of coffee before heading south to SF.  There were patches of snow the entire drive down.  I am not a fan of driving under these conditions but I had to be an adult and do it.  Took about six hours and I did arrive on time to work.
I returned refreshed and with a vision.  I am thankful to be here now, planning, my next adventure and of course, being in the present.  Cheers!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

random thoughts and upcoming travel

Thinking about a trip to Denver soon.  Of course, last weekend I could not make it happen.  All of my co-workers were unwilling to help me out and then I had to force the disaster dinner.  Seriously, it was only dinner in my mind.  Nothing more, nothing less.  I wanted to cook and enjoy my living space.  I love my rental.  It is cozy and rarely do I have the opportunity to share it with others.  I must work on meeting more people in SF.  That should be my new goal.
Ironically, my manager chose to limit everyone's shifts to under four this week.  Thus, forcing people to want to pick up shifts.  I had no issue getting Friday covered.
At any rate, last weekend would have been preferable.  My one friend's husband would have been hunting and there was no snow.  This weekend, well, there is a chance of snow in addition to the fact that it is currently snowing.  No me gusta.
No, I am not a fan of snow.  I know that I will encounter some in Santa Fe.  I bought new tires yesterday to hopefully enjoy a winter here.  That is the plan at least.
I am conflicted on where to dine in Denver.  Do I frequent my standby favorites or try something new?  It's hard to pass up calamari at one of the spots.  However, my favorite server is no longer there.  And, I want to meet somewhere central so that it is convenient for both Lindsay and Sara Jo on Friday.  We are meeting up for happy hour/dinner.  It always starts innocently and then concludes with us drinking too much wine.  I am an enabler.  I think that is what my friends call me sometimes.
I am excited to be heading home and seeing friends.  Of course, I wish I had more time to spend in the city.  Mostly, I want to take care of some things that can only be taken care of in Denver.  I hope to hit a yoga class.  I know of a new studio that does play phenomenal music.  I used to frequent their studio in Phoenix and so I am hoping to surprise the owner by showing up for class on Friday.
Planning a trip allows me to stop being so reflective as to the current state of my life.  I go through these periods more and more frequently, it seems.  I question what I am doing with my life or what I should be doing is the better question.  I love the service industry and it has allowed me a wonderful life.  I mean, how many people can travel like I try to?
And then I think--should I be doing more?  Should I get certified to teach yoga?  Go back to school?  Learn a new skill?  What is stopping me?  I have time.  I have desire.  I suppose it would conflict with my travel to some degree.  I really hope to meet my friend, Agnese, in Spain 2015.  Yet, I can make the time to do more.
I think of what I attract to my life.  Yoga, health, wine (obviously) and travel.  Is there a way to combine my loves and make money?
I leave on that note.  I am off to work to spread joy and food knowledge.  Knowing that I will be an active participant in the food scene this weekend. I cannot wait!

Monday, November 10, 2014

yoga and other disasters

Just a thought....but how rude would it be if I pulled my phone out during yoga and put in headphones to listen to my own music?
I have been contemplating that option for the last two weeks.  I try.  I do.  I go in to the class with an open mind.  Lately, the one girl's class that I enjoy frequenting has been terrible.  She has not changed the vinyasa flow which I could forgive if the music was inspiring.  When I first started attending her class, she had a great music selection.  I thought she was the only bright light in SF.  Then and I don't know why, she changed the music.  Started incorporating some of the spiritual stuff into the sequence and covers of decent songs that are covered poorly.  Instead of an upbeat rhythm she had a slow moving flow.  I have one more class on a pass at one studio that she teaches at.  I will go today as I am too lazy to actually go running.  I know that running is in my future since I am hitting a plateau of sorts with yoga.
So, I ask again, how rude would it be if I listened to my own music in her class?  I think I would be able to zen out instead of freaking out while in the class.  I cannot stop thinking about how terrible the music is or how bored I am.
I plan on heading to Denver this weekend to see friends and enjoy the city.  I hope to attend a yoga class.  I miss being inspired.  Hiking is helping and I can incorporate other workouts into my regime.  A customer suggested a kettle ball class which I hope to look into.
I made dinner the other night for a friend.  I was so excited to be entertaining at my house.  I cannot tell you the last time I have done this.  When I lived in Tempe, my rental was so tiny.  The idea of inviting someone over to make dinner never occurred.  There just wasn't the space.  I went shopping, cleaned my house, got a pedicure (because I wanted to and needed it) and started to make dinner.  I was excited.  I forgot to mention that I had to buy plates since I didn't have any.  When I move, I give everything away and start over.  Since moving here, I haven't made it a priority to nest or create a home really.  I work a lot and find myself dining out.  I have small appetizer type plates that have survived several moves.  Think 2002ish?  I don't know.  They are part of my life.
Anyways, I went to goodwill and found a few plates so that I would be able to serve dinner.  In addition, I purchased a few serving bowls and I was kicking myself for getting rid of all of my serving plates.  I had some great ones in Denver.  I had some champagne, chilling, and waited for my friend to arrive.  He was early which should have been an indication that the night was about to go south.
I put out the salad and olive mix and explained that I needed to roast the cauliflower and that it would be in stages.  I would cook the tuna when the cauliflower was compiled.  Michael was antsy and I could tell that he would have preferred being with his cousins.  One of his cousins had returned from Seattle and a bunch of his friends were meeting downtown to celebrate.  He had agreed to dinner at my place and so he was at my place, begrudgingly (I think).
It became increasingly awkward.  I wasn't trying to make him feel pressured into dinner.  I was just so excited to be able to cook for someone else.  It's been a long time.  I attempted to explain that to him right as I served the main courses.  He couldn't eat fast enough and I had no appetite.  I couldn't figure out why the change of attitude in having dinner with me outside of the fact that he really wanted to meet his friends out.  In hindsight, I wish he would have canceled or asked for a rain check.  It was that awkward and terrible.
He finished and said, I could keep the extra bottle of wine he brought.  I looked at him like he was insane.  Of course, I was keeping the wine.  Why would I give it back?  Obviously, he doesn't know me, at all.
I stayed home and chose to clean up the morning after.  Big mistake.  I hate dealing with dishes the day after.  I hope to be able to entertain, again and soon.  Probably invite Melody over or one of my co-workers.  In my mind, it was innocent.  A good will gesture to spend time at my house and share a meal.  I wasn't trying to propose or anything.  It was dinner.  But somehow our wires got crossed and he overreacted.  Ahh, being in my 20's again.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

silly oversights and remembering to think before speaking....

How does the saying go...think before you speak?  Seriously.  I need a filter sometimes.  I say whatever is on my mind and do not consider how it sounds until I get a look or an abrupt departure.  I tell myself that is the beauty of living in the moment and being present.  However, things definitely can be taken out of context even in person.  I mean, I cannot tell you how many times I have questioned a text message for the meaning.  It's hard to construe since there are no voice inflections.
Today, I saw my favorite coffee guy and we were sitting there, chatting, when I mentioned I had wanted to head to Denver this weekend.  I had banking issues to contend with.  I wanted to speak with my previous banker and felt an in person visit was preferable to a conversation on the phone.  Plus, I could visit some friends and drink some of the wine my friends purchased while in Napa this past July.  I told Michael that I felt I could since we got a discount due to my connections of the service industry.  He then asked me if I could get him a discount and I said no.  Sometimes I try to be flippant.
Anyways, he asked me if I just walked around with cash as I had made it sound like I only bank in Denver.  I have a local bank here, which, he did not know.  So, I understood that question.  I had also mentioned, recently, that I hoped to return to Denver at some point as Denver was home to me.  I am not ready to return and I know that.  He doesn't.  He hears me say, I signed a year lease.  I like to travel as often as possible.  Translation (to him), I am not really committed to being here.  However, I am making a life here.
For example,I reached out to Michael last night to see what he was doing.  I was at work, bored.  Slow evening and so I relied on texting to move the night along.  I did not see his response until too late.  He went to my other job looking for me.  Would have been a nice surprise had I told him where I was working.  I had not.  I try to convince him to come to where I am at but he said it was too far.  Seemed silly to me since Santa Fe is a small town.  Today, I mentioned it was not like being in Phoenix and driving 30 miles to see someone.  That is a daily thing there.  At any rate, I further solidified the idiocy by mentioning another guy stopping by my job.  Completely innocent as this guy is a co-worker and younger.  We are friends and I just happen to work at a place he likes to frequent.  Has nothing to do with me.  But, before I could take back what I had just said, my friend, abruptly says, I need to go back to work.  Ciao.
Yea, I am an idiot.  I suppose it is my way of keeping it interesting.....

TBT--2010, Agnese's visit to Denver

 In 2010, I was marathon training, dreaming of new travel and spending a fair amount of time running with the Goddess.  She, too, is a travel junkie (to a certain degree).  She and her sister had arranged a culture exchange where they would host a leader and six other kids in the States and then be hosted in the respective country.  For Lindsay, that meant hosting an Italian girl named Agnese.  Her sister went to Prague.
We met at a baseball game.  I had managed to snag my company tickets and spend time with Andy, a friend, whose seats were next to the the bull seats.  Of course, we had beers pre-game.  Lovely night and a great way to showcase our love of this national past time.  I think we won that night, too.  Lindsay is a huge rockies fan.
 Running was a cornerstone of that summer.  I joined a local running group and committed my Saturday mornings to running with them.  I tried to run with Lindsay once a week, too.  Thankfully, Agnese enjoyed running and so we did a quick out and back at the high line canal.  I felt we should celebrate the run with appetizers at one of my favorite spots in Denver.  Agnese thought we were under dressed.  I told her we would be fine.  I knew the chef, the bartender and several of the servers.  I was right.  We were treated like royalty and she loved the calamari, too.
 A few days later, Agnese and Lindsay stopped by my work to watch the world cup game.  Eventually, we made our way to enjoy a sunday funday of sorts.  Onion rings at elway's.  Actually, we had a carb loaded feast.  Mac and Cheese, scalloped potatoes, green chili corn and onion rings.  Delish and I was glad that I was running on a semi-regular basis.
Next, we went to City Park to check out Jazz in the Park.  We sort of missed the entire performance and caught the final minutes of the show.  We walked to the local cocktail spot for one more beverage.  Lindsay's brother in law picked us up and chauffered us to our respective destinations.  From this experience, I had a travel companion (for life) and a few friends to visit in Europe.  Lindsay and I have traveled to wine country, twice, and I think we will travel there again.  I visited Agnese in 2011 and had a blast in Geneva and Italy.  2012, Agnese and her boyfriend met Sara Jo and I in Santa Barbara.  Next year, I am supposed to meet Agnese in Spain.  I am thankful to the people I have met and people I will continue to meet.  Every day, I have the opportunity to cultivate a new friendship.  For example, I randomly met this girl while at work a few weeks ago.  I mentioned that I was a little out of it due to my recent traveling.  Her brother had also visited this island on a boat.  A few weeks later, I was at a yoga class that I typically do not attend.  However, there was a substitute teaching the gospel class and I normally enjoy the sub's music selection and flow.  I entered the class and noticed the instructor was pregnant.  Very pregnant.  Should have been my first indicator that the class would not be what I was looking for.  It started and the music was uninspired.  I forced myself to stay for an hour.  The class is an hour and 45 minutes.  At about an hour in, two people left.  I chose to leave that that point too.  I was struggling to stay focused and kept seeing myself getting hurt from boredom.  I stopped the girl who left prior to me and asked her why she left.  Her response, I am so bored.  I came for a work out and that is not what I found.  I am going to go for a run.
We kept chatting and she goes, I met you at dfg the other day.  You returned from the Bahamas recently, right?  I remembered her and and we exchanged a few additional niceties and details about our lives.
Imagine my surprise when I am at lunch with another friend yesterday.  Kristina is a financial investor and I met her at a baby shower.  Seems odd, I know.  However, this baby shower was epic.  Catered, full bar and no sit down to watch the opening of presents.  I loved it.  And, it was where I met Kristina.  So, she casually mentions her friend, Allegra, and ding ding ding....I know it is the girl that I met at dfg and the yoga class.  Kristina said, yes, she rented our casita for two years and is a dear friend of mine.  I was just thinking about how much you two would get along.
Ironic and true.  I reached out to Allegra and will see where that road leads.  She and her brother are currently overseeing their parent's winery in NY.  I always enjoy meeting wine friendly, travel friendly people.
Celebrate, Enjoy & Taste life, every day~

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Day off and other thoughts...

Yesterday, I spent the day being lazy.  Meaning, I went to Ojo, soaked, took a siesta and then met a friend for dinner.  Glorious way to spend the day.
Ojo is always a desireable occasion for me.  How could it not be?  The drive is gorgeous, especially now, as the leaves are changing.  I have coffee, my ipod and am surrounded by beauty.  Upon arriving, I check in and the ultimate relaxation begins.  Soaking in hot springs is amazing and something I try to do once a month.  Sometimes more.  For instance, I might be heading there next week with Melody and Christy.  All depends on when on Thursday they are able to go.  I spend a few hours, soaking, and finish with a stop in the steam sauna.  At this point, I am ready to shower away the toxins and head back to reality.  Recently, I discovered their restaurant and have had an obligatory post-soak glass of wine.  Lovely.
Yesterday, I abstained since I had happy hour plans and possibly plans after that.  I did not want to appear too boozy for those.  Instead, I took a nap and caught up on much needed sleep.  The past weekend was rough with work and lack of sleep.  I acted like I was in my early 20's and it was fun.  And took a toll on my sleep and hydration.  I am hyper aware of my hydration levels from the face plant I enacted in 2011.  I have no desire to do a repeat of that performance.
My friend, Jennifer, and I met at a newer restaurant and it was packed.  I am happy for the chef as I have always enjoyed his food.  A few years ago, another one of his places closed due to financial reasons.  He has always had delicious food in my opinion and I am glad that he seems to be thriving now.  We shared a thai beef salad, grilled eggplant and fried mac and cheese.  Two of the three were delicious.  The fried mac and cheese was a disappointment  There was supposed to be brussel sprouts with it, too.  I think there might have been one leaf as a garnish to the dish.  It seemed mediocre.
We concluded the meal and opted for an additional glass of wine for dessert.  It was great to spend time with a new friend.  I feel I am being more embraced by the city as the months continue.  I don't feel as much of an outsider and hope this trend continues.
My other friend contacted me to see where I was at and potentially meet for a drink.  Unfortunately, he had been under the weather due to a cold and was still recovering.  We rescheduled so that he could strengthen his immune system.  And, quite honestly, I was dreaming of reading a book and relaxing at my house.  What better way to conclude a day off?
I feel that I am hitting a plateau with yoga.  I hope to incorporate hiking, fitness tapes and running into my fitness regime.  Instead of inspiring me, I go to class and think of how bored I am and how terrible the music is.  I recognize that I have been complaining about the lack of yoga in SF for the last five months.  I had resolved to what was available and tried to make the most of it.  However, the last three weeks have made me realize that I should a) get certified myself and b) change up my routine.  One of the instructors that I like does not take constructive criticism well.  I think a break from her class will help me enjoy it more when I choose to return.  I mean, her music selection has sucked and she has done the same routine for the last three months.  I think I could do it in my sleep or I have considered listening to pandora during her flow.  I think that might piss her off, though.
I am off to meet with another friend.  Taking the bus and walking to enjoy the day.  It is gorgeous here.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

last days of vacay

Back in the Bahamas and I was insistent that we have a nice meal.  I wanted something decadent and accompanied by wine.  Shar knew of a place and suggested it.  She had mentioned the upcoming dinner to her cousin and invited her, too.  Monica had treated me to a Canadian spread (thanksgiving) and so I was glad she accompanied us.  Kind girl and great conversationalist.
Mahoghany delivered.  Roasted cauliflower risotto, a mezze board, foie gras manicotti and blackened snapper.  A few bottles of wine later and I was in heaven.  That is an aspect of vacation for me.  I loved exploring the islands but the food factor lacked.  Huge disappointment in my world.  It was so bad that I didn't think about what I was eating as I was afraid that I would not be able to eat if I dissected the quality of the ham and cheese sandwiches for example.  The bread was universally bad as well as pastries in general.  I needed a quality meal and thankfully, the Bahamas had a fantastic restaurant.
After the meal we went dancing.  I loved that Shar enjoyed dancing nearly as much as I do.  Although, I prefer different music than what they were playing that night.  Electronica is really not my thing.  We danced for a bit and then headed back to Cable Beach.  We figured we could do a night cap at one of three places within walking distance to their apartments.  The first place looked empty.  The second place had closed but due to their friendship with the owner we were given a drink to go.  The third place had people but an odd vibe.  And, honestly, at this point, I was ready for sleep.  The following morning promised yoga or a run.  I preferred the yoga class.
I left Shar to attend a two hour class and give her space to catch up on work.  I knew how to get back to her place and so I was not concerned.  The class, itself, was more meditative and restorative.  A few chatarangas.  I appreciated it still.  I prefer vinyasa but having the opportunity to practice was lovely.
I made my way back to Shar's house and patiently waited for her to complete her work.  We had a culture fest to attend.  And, I dreamed of a return to the daiq shack.  The culture festival provided food, drink and people watching.  It was a two day event and we caught the tail end of it.  There was music, dance and competitions.  Yes, I watched a pineapple eating contest that was somewhat entertaining.  They had pineapples hanging from a post and six contestants competing to eat the pineapple without using their hands.  Entertaining.
We sampled fare from Haiti, Peru, Poland, Jamaica and Mexico.  I loved the polish sausage skewer from Poland and ceviche from Mexico.  A mix of beverages, sun and little water had an interesting effect on both Shar and I.  Let me just say that my return to the U.S. was long and dehydrating.
I had a 9 1/2 hour layover in New York.  My original plan was to take the train into the city and check out restaurants.  When would I have the opportunity to that again?
However, I was in no shape to take the train into Manhattan.  Instead, I stayed at the airport and tried to stay hydrated.  There was a coffee shop open 24 hours and many other travelers sleeping on the floor like me.
I returned to ABQ via ATL and managed to make it back to SF 24 hours later.  A whirlwind of a trip.  Since I was travel logged, I had to put my return to the breakfast burrito off for a few days.  I always crave mexican food when abroad.
At any rate, my trip inspired me to consider future travel.  Where to next?  Europe, I think.  Spain is in my sights along with Vietnam and southeast Asia.  Must work to make it happen.  For the time being, I will be enchanted by my current city.  The food, people, culture....speaking of that, day off provides opportunity to soak.  Cheers!

Monday, November 3, 2014

last day on the island

Our final day on the island meant we needed to hire a car to drive us back.  Our senora had a neighbor that drove people to the capitol city on a fairly regular basis.  We paid him $50, total, for the return trip.  I was excited for a leisurely ride.  I didn't take into account that the vehicle might be a mini van or that there would be many other passengers.  Seven of us rode the ride back.  I managed to switch places with one of the other girls and rode shot gun.  Thank god!  I think I would have been car sick and two of the others were boisterous.  I was able to block out some of it by sitting in front of them.
We were dropped off at the initial residence we stayed in.  Our landlord was at his residence and I could sense Shar's agitation.  I didn't mind walking a few additional blocks to track down our guy.  Easy fix and soon we were back in our secure flat.  I wanted to pick up a few more souvenirs before leaving.  We were sidetracked by our desire to check out the tropicana.  Shar mentioned that she wanted to go there and instead of questioning the why, I went along with it.  We convinced a coco taxi to drive us 12 km to the tropicana.  It was a large complex, with a cabaret show at night.  We had lunch and tried to figure out why this was a sought out place.  We walked out and asked the concierge to call us a cab.  He told us to walk to the street and we would find one.  Untrue.  We walked 20 blocks and without finding a hotel, a cab or someone to ask for help.  We were in an area that was not tourist friendly and although it was early in the afternoon, I could tell that Shar was uncomfortable.  I could have continued walking and been fine as it was light out.  We found a solo taxi and asked him to drive us to a plaza.  We felt safe escaping our walk back to downtown.
From our brief stop at the plaza we walked back to Juan's house.  Quick shower, for me, and we contacted our original cabbie to see if he wanted to meet us for a drink.  He did and so he picked us up and we checked out a restaurant with an incredible view of the city.  We were on the 33rd floor.  Pretty amazing view of the city and sunset.
Later we drove to a brewery and had a quick beer.  They offered three types of beer and it seemed like it would be a successful business venture.  At this point, I was interested in food.  I should have been more open with what I wanted.  Instead, I went with the flow and let Ronnie choose our dining spot.  It was not a good choice.  There were a few other diners in the place and a dj.  I think Shar enjoyed that aspect the most.  We ordered a bottle of wine and made entree options.  I wanted fish with capers and a white sauce.  Shar wanted steak with a sweet and soy sauce.  We waited for over an hour to receive the food and then it was terrible.  Shar picked at her steak and I managed to eat the fish.  Ronnie seemed fine with it.
Although dinner was lame, our last night was fantastic.  I didn't get anymore souvenirs or postcards.  I thought I could do that at the airport.  I am grateful that we visited and then super excited for the return to the Bahamas.  I was dreaming of better food.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

horse back riding, cigars and the beach

The cab ride was uneventful.  I tried to sleep the majority of the way since we went home around 4 am.  I needed to sleep.
We convinced the driver to stop for coffee if he knew of a convenient place.  As we left the city, my hope for coffee diminished.  About an hour and a half later, we stopped for gas, coffee and an attempt at a sandwich.  I just ate.  Didn't even consider how terrible it looked.  I didn't want to consider that as I knew I wouldn't be able to gag it down.  We ordered coffee, too.  Of course, they didn't have any half and half and it was served in a small plastic cup.  Very inconvenient and did not really satisfy my coffee needs.
At any rate, we arrived in the beach town about 1 pm.  We had an address of a woman that had rooms available according to our couch surfer's hook up.  We gave the cabbie the address and hoped that we would be able to arrange a room for a day or two.  We were undecided if we wanted to check out another city or not.  However, considering how much time it took to get places, it would be preferable to stay in the city and explore the additional day.  We opted for that route after thinking about our options.
That day we bought souvenirs, post cards and checked out the town.  There wasn't much time to see the beach or explore the surrounding area.  It was a chill day that we needed.  The dancing from the previous night had zapped our energy.
Dinner was made at the casa.  Our host was gracious and the food was delicious.  A nice treat.  The next morning, we woke early, to make our way to the waterfalls.  Our guide told us that we would horse back ride for 20 minutes, swim for an hour and have lunch.  I wore shorts and sandals as I thought the horse back riding would be minimal.  Little did I know.  Try 3 hours of horseback riding.  I think the last time I have been on a horse was when I was 8 or 9 years old.  Thankfully, I managed to relax and enjoy the ride.
The waterfalls were beautiful.  We stayed for about an hour and enjoyed the scenery.  They had a mariachi singer and offered fruit, coconut water and beer.  Shar chose coconut water while I drank a beer.  After the swim, we had a coffee and cigar at another hut where our horses were chilling.  The coffee was strong and delicious.  I wanted to prolong the ride back to the lunch spot.  The horse back riding was beginning to wear on me.  Lunch was roasted pork, avocados, beans, plantains and a squash dish.  The squash was amazing as well as the avocados.  I swear, I could live on avocados daily.
We waited for it to stop raining before heading back to the city.  I really despised the horse at this point and we were in a hurry to return so that our guide could pick up his next group of tourists.  I am sure that it was not that long of a ride but it seemed like it took forever.  We paid the guide and headed back to Nairobi's house.  I wanted to check out the beach and needed to grab a fresh towel.  Beautiful beach.  A little rocky but gorgeous.
 Had to have a visual of me and the cigar.  Seriously about the only time I will ever smoke one.
That night, we returned to the house and enjoyed another wonderful meal prepared by our hostess.  Definitely the way to dine as many of the restaurants had inadequate food.  She made shrimp, black beans, rice, avocados and plantains.  Absolutely divine.  The trip was incredible and my travel partner was perfect.  We both have similar beliefs on traveling and so it was easy to explore the country with Shar.  Sure there were a few hiccups due to us being naive but overall, we were aware of our surroundings and let our intuition guide us.  Because of that, we had some incredible experiences.  The dancing was one of the highlights for sure.  

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Cab rides, dancing and early mornings...

Shar and I had the idea of visiting another city while on vacation.  The smart thing would be to take the bus.  Of course, it would be timely and if we could secure tickets at a hotel as opposed to the bus station, even better.  However, we were not fortunate in that regard.  We found a taxi and headed to the station.
We entered the building and took in the other people in line.  About 40 people and one ticket agent.  We wanted to be positive but it looked dire.  Our cabbie agreed to wait before we knew we were looking at 2-3 hours in a line.  I asked our driver if he knew of anyone we could hire to drive us to the other city.  He found someone and we were able to leave the line after a 45 minute wait.  During that time, we did not move.  We left, knowing, the agent was still assisting the one person.  Yuck!
We chose to celebrate our success by inviting our driver to accompany us for a drink or two.  We communicated in spanglish and enjoyed the mojitos and music.
Afterwards, we invited Ronnie to lunch.  Figured, why not?  He might know of a few good places and he was kind.  We drank some wine and feasted.  I had a seafood stew with rice.  Not bad and the bread continued to disappoint.
Ronnie took off to take more fares and Shar and I meandered through the city.  We came across a few con artists and got sucked in for $40.  I wish that I wasn't so trusting, sometimes.  Didn't help that Shar also was taken in.  In the entire scheme of things, it wasn't that terrible.  $40 and we were off to another adventure.
We found an upstairs bar and drank a few russian beers.  Gorgeous scenery and I was able to calm down from the con artist debacle.  We met a palestinian who had been traveling with her parents.  She offered a room in her rental and although it sounded great, we liked our current room.  Plus, who knew where she was staying or what could happen.  At least at Juan's place, we knew we were safe and secure.  It was clean, had a/c and was the entire floor of a building.
We bid her adieu and returned to Juan's place.  We had arranged salsa dancing with Ronnie and one of his friends.  We waited for them to pick us up.  Secretly, I hoped that they would back out.  I was tired and could use a great night of sleep.  Plus, our taxi would pick us up at 9 to head to Trinidad.  Meaning, we would need to be up by 7:30 to shower, pack, find coffee and eat.
Well, they picked us up.  We headed to the salsa bar and were the only ones in the bar.  Lame.  They kept telling us that the place would be packed in a few hours.  I had little faith.
We drank a beer and waited.  Eventually, all of the tables were full and this woman was introduced on the stage.  I thought, finally.  We can dance for an hour and leave.  Not the case.  This woman sang for an hour.  She had a lovely voice but she was a lounge singer.  No dancing involved.  Shar and I looked at each other and thought--what about dancing?
She finished and then tables were moved and salsa dancing ensued.  Finally!  Of course, my dance partner is super latin and full of machismo.  He kept telling me--relax.  Relax.  Relax.  It was super uncomfortable.  I don't like being told what to do.  So, we switched partners and the music changed.  We danced til 3:30.  It was great and I was enjoying myself.  However, that early morning cab ride loomed.  We convinced the guys that we were wanting to leave.  Thankfully, they agreed.  We headed back to his cab and found a flat tire.  Awesome.
I think Ronnie knew that that would happen as he had a spare ready to go.  I remember him picking that up earlier in the day.  They dropped us off around 4 and I slept til 7:30.  At which point, I recognized that I should have showered prior to going to bed.  I had grime, sweat and felt it in the morning.  Gross!
After packing up, we hoped to locate coffee and breakfast.  No such luck.  Most of the places opened at 10 am or we found dulcerias that had pastries but no coffee.  Short on time we settled for the dulceria.  Mistake.  The pastry was terrible.  Yet, it was our only option if we wanted to meet our driver on time.
I think the lesson of the experience was that cabbies can dance.  That was one of the highlights of the trip for sure.  I could have kept dancing too.  Now, back in SF, I want to go dancing.  I might have to venture to Denver or Phoenix to make that happen.  SF doesn't have many options for this exercise.  Oh, and the bread on the island was universally bad.  There was not one restaurant or homestay that offered decent bread.  It would be easy to be g.f. there for sure.
I am off to work.  Cheers!

Monday, October 27, 2014

yoga, travel and connections

I need a new project.  I know it.  Feel it and am ready for whatever is revealed.  Inspired by my most recent travels, of course.  I attended a yoga class at an ashram center and was surrounded by people that were on a spiritual journey.  A few of us jumped on the water taxi to attend one class and so we were part of the community for a brief amount of time.
After the class, I joined the group for their meal.  I met a girl from Berlin and another from Columbia.  Right away, we started talking about traveling and places we had been.  It was awesome and I felt at home in that moment.  I wasn't concerned about what I was wearing, where I needed to be or what I would be doing later.  I was interested in the conversation and understanding how we all, individually, ended up at that yoga class.  The Columbian was on school break and traveling.  On a previous visit to the Bahamas, she saw the center and decided she wanted to spend a few days practicing yoga there.  She had been to many places in the world and led an interesting life.  The girl from Berlin would be at the center for the next month.  Developing her inner peace and yoga practice.  Kudos to both of these ladies as they inspired me to consider what the next journey would be for me.  I sat there, in awe, of their ability to just go.  Then, I thought, I do this too, sometimes.  I suppose I was nostalgic for my last big trip--2007/08 and how liberating it was to be in different countries.  I think I need to make it more of a priority.  Traveling outside of the country on an annual basis opposed to every few years.  I should reach out to Agnese and make Spain 2015 a reality.
Of course, I am happy to be back and working.  Leads to purpose in life.  And more travel.  I have a friend that is so excited about his new truck.  To me, it represents more financial attachment and dependence.  He now has to finance the truck instead of any travel.  I just don't understand that.  But everyone does what feels right to them.  For me, a new vehicle would not be my passion.  I know that comes as a huge shock, right?
Yoga will continue to keep me centered while work will provide purpose, possibilities and connections.  For instance, I had two random encounters while abroad from work-related people.  The first guy was my water taxi driver to the ashram center.  He was from Phoenix and so I told him about a few of the places I had worked.  I mentioned the nanobrewery and he goes, oh, I went to high school with a guy that works there.  My response, I was his boss.  It was pretty funny.  The other guy I ran into was a guy that used to frequent the bull in Denver.  He worked at one of my favorite spots in Cherry Creek.  Think dip duo.  About six years ago, he moved to NYC and started working at JFK in a restaurant.  When my plane landed at JFK, I walked around the airport and noted the restaurant.  It has nostalgia for me as I would frequent the place in Denver with Steve and Pocketsize.  Still, I had not made my mind up whether or not I wanted to dine there.
Somehow I found my way back to the place, sat at the bar, and remembered that my friend, Chris had worked there when he moved back to NYC.  I asked the bartender if he knew him and he seemed confused.  Granted, the guy was older and a little disoriented in general.  At first, he said no.  Then, about fifteen minutes later, he asked me to repeat Chris's name. and suddenly remembered, that yes, he did, in fact, know Chris.  I left Chris a note before remembering that I might have his cell # in my phone.
The lesson is that work, for me, does create connections, serendipity and opportunity.  I am grateful for that and happy to be here now.  I need a hobby in the meantime.  Maybe golf?

Sunday, October 26, 2014


A block from my friend's house.  I loved it.  Such easy access to the gorgeous beach.  That, and a Starbuck's.  Yes, I was in heaven.
On Sunday, Shar drove me to a yoga retreat where I would spend the next few hours.  Shar was preoccupied with work and I wanted to give her the space to handle what needed to be handled without being in her way.  Her home was cozy.  Translation=super small and accommodating one person.  She did have two doors separating the kitchen from her bedroom and a door on the bathroom.  I have lived in cozy spaces before and so I was okay with it.  My last "cozy" spot didn't have doors once inside the house.  It was always interesting to entertain at that place.
The yoga class was rejuvenating.  Afterwards, I sampled the yummy vegan fare and made my way back to Nassau.  A water taxi enabled that and then I began the return walk to Shar's place.  Initially, I thought I could walk back to Cable Beach.   It would have been a long walk.  Thankfully, several busses depart from downtown Nassau regularly.
Back at Cable Beach, armed with coffee and finally check out the sand.  Amazing.  I think I spent an hour, lavishing in my luck.  I knew that Shar was preoccupied with work in spite of the fact that I had been gone for 4 1/2 hours at that point.  I convinced her that a daiqueri was in order.  She needed a break from the monotony of work and I was ready to start my vacation.  Papaya, mango, cantaloupe, strawberry deliciousness.  So happy!
That night we attended a thanksgiving, Canadian style.  Shar has a cousin that lives near her and so I was included in their feast.  An assortment of comfort food and pierogi's.  We listened to random music and I met a bunch of their group.  I had packed for the island trip and so I was on full relaxation mode.  I bid adieu to fb and messaged my sisters before our trip the following morning.  I knew that I would be without wi-fi for the next five days.
Those five days were glorious.  Not that I didn't miss the convenience of instant gratification but I also woke up and did yoga, read or relaxed. I wasn't lured in to what was going on in the world around me.  I enjoyed being in the present.
Today, I have yoga, work and maybe catch an inning of the world series.  That is a big maybe since my job does not have any tv's in house.  At any rate, it is a gorgeous day and I need to start it.

Saturday, October 25, 2014


Vacations are essential to my life.  They always help me reset my priorities and set new goals.  I plan for however long to make it happen and once complete, I have a blank slate for my next goal.  Currently, where I am at.  New goal, life plan, direction.
I have had the last two weeks off.  Rare, in my life, to be able to achieve this.  However, I did arrange a trip to the Bahamas to see Shar and head south to other caribbean islands.  First, I want to remember my departure from Santa Fe.  Initially, I was scheduled to work both jobs up until my departure.  I called my mechanic to schedule a time for Veronica to be worked on.  My guy seemed confident that he would be able to make the necessary changes while I was on vacay.  He seemed thrilled that I could leave my car at his house.  Seemed like a great idea except that now I would need to figure out a way to the airport.  The shuttles begin at 5 am and my flight was at 6:30.  Not enough time to get to the airport, check in, go through security and make it to the gate.  Shuttle was out.  I asked two of my friends for a favor.  Felt awful doing it.  I mean, who in their right mind wants to get up at 4 in the morning to drive someone to the airport?  Somehow, I was able to convey my need to get to the airport to my jobs and they agreed to not schedule me for the Friday shift.  That enabled my way to ABQ.  Rail runner the day before, stay at a hotel near the airport and take a shuttle, early, to Sunport.  Perfect.
I met Melody for my departure lunch.  She drove me to the railyard depot where I caught the train south.  $9 for the ride.  Clean, efficient and dropped me off at the airport.  From here, I called the hotel and arranged a pick-up from the airport.  Checked in and considered my dining options.  Applebee's, Waffle house, Fuddrucker's, some asian place.  As none of them piqued my interest, I asked the front desk clerk if there was a mexican restaurant within walking distance.  She told me that there was a great place but it was not walkable.  I asked why?  Would I have to cross the interstate?  Her response, no.  But, it's like a mile and a half away.....what?  To me, not walking distance is at least 5 miles one way.  Especially depending on time of day.  So, I set off to find the mexican restaurant.  And, the lady was right.  It was great.  I had enchiladas and cabbed it back to the hotel since it was raining.  Well, and I had opted to cab it after walking through the neighborhood.  I wasn't in love with the vibe.  Oh, and it was 3 miles.  Definitely something I could walk.
That night, I returned to the hotel and took it easy.  Talked to some friends and began my departure calls.  I wanted my friends to have my contact information and say goodbye.  I think I always get like that when I go on trips out of the country.
The shuttle dropped me at Sunport and then I was off to ATL.  I had a six and a half hour layover.  Thankfully, a friend of mine from Denver had lived in Atlanta for the last 9 years.  She picked me up and we headed into the city.  Lunch, drinks, conversation.  It was a truly lovely experience.  I felt thankful for keeping in touch with old co-workers.
She returned me to the airport and I went back through security.  Easy peasy.  Quick glass of wine and then I am off.  Off to the Bahamas, the beach and many many mojitos.  More on this later.  I am off to greet the day.

Monday, September 29, 2014

birthday dinner

Melody's boyfriend picked me up and dropped us off at a lovely french place. I had made the necessary reservations for a seven o'clock seating.  I thought that would give me ample time to decompress from wine and chile if need be.  I didn't know what form I would be.  Given the previous day, I wanted to avoid another night like that.  In my space between the festival and meeting Melody for dinner, I walked around the plaza.  I drank another americano and saw an artist friend of mine.  She sets up a booth every weekend.  I dropped by, briefly.  I saw her make a sale and chose to not interrupt that sale.
I met Lisa and her people for a quick drink.  I enjoyed spending time with them at the festival and wanted to let her know how thankful I was to attend.  The least I could do was meet them for a drink before I met Melody for dinner.  I had invited Lisa to join us but since she was hosting people, she couldn't break away. I think they were dining at a tapas place.
We started with a glass of bubbly and a cheese plate.  Marcona almonds, dijon mustard, crisps and four different cheeses.  Blue, triple cream, taleggio and manchego.  Delicious. Next, we tried the grilled octopus with a chick pea puree.  I don't think Melody was sold on the idea of the octopus but I was stubborn.  It was fantastic.
I chose a bottle of cote du Rhone and our feast continued.  I felt like a chinon but Melody preferred something lighter.  I compromised.
We had a golden beet and asparagus salad.  Another treat that I was glad we chose.  We concluded with the steak au poivre.  By far, the most disappointing part of the meal.  The fries were fantastic.  The steak was a poor cut.  Both of us had the unfortunate experience of biting into the piece and spitting it out.  Classy, right?  It was unavoidable however.  The steak was not good.
We walked over to a hotel bar and had a few additional glasses of wine.  I like extending my celebrations as much as I can.  Thankfully, Clayton picked us up and dropped me off without incident.  We considered meeting for a morning yoga class.  I knew that I would want to go to work off the excessive eating of the previous days.  I made it to class.  Melody overslept.
I had another day off to continue celebrating. I headed to Ojo to soak and it was one of the best decisions I have made.  Excellent way to rejuvenate, refresh, relax.  I think I might be doing a cleanse to equalize.  Well, that and I want to look good in my bikini once I make it to the Bahamas.  My idea of a birthday present to myself this year.  Last weekend was excessive and fun.  I am glad that I had the opportunity to celebrate in style with friends.
Now, I must return to the real world of work.  Til later, cheers!

birthday weekend

I remember celebrating my birthday in 2005.  Scuba diving in Cozumel and one night in Playa del Carmen.  I insisted on staying at a swim up bar type of hotel.  I wanted the convenience.  Within ten minutes, I was annoyed with my decision.  I didn't factor in the other people that would be enticed by the inclusivity of the hotel.  Never having to leave the property as all needs were met.  I prefer venturing into the local scene, seeing color, eating flavors and listening to music.  Our hotel did not have what I wanted in that regard.
Yesterday, I took the bus downtown.  I wanted to purchase new earrings, a ring or a bracelet.  I was undecided.  I headed downtown and my friend, Lisa, called to see if I would want to attend the reserve tasting for wine.  YES!  Obviously I would enjoy attending a reserve tasting.  I could drink bubbles, napa cabs and chit chat with friends in the industry.
The tasting was great.  I had eaten a salad for lunch and inhaled wine.  Sometimes, I do this.  There was food available but I have issues where I think anything left out in the open for a certain amount of time is off limits to me.  Cheese breathes in room temperature and is not enticing to me.  Anyways, after the tasting we were going to have a drink before Lisa and her people went to dinner.  The place we wanted to go to for martinis (like I needed one at this point) was not open to the public. They had a private party so we headed to another joint.  We were seated, ordered drinks and when they came, they were awful.  Lisa was not impressed and so she goes--we're leaving.  These drinks are horrible.  We got up to leave and I threw $20 to the server.  I felt bad about the situation and I suppose, felt, I should pay it forward.  It wasn't her fault that the bartender did not know how to make a cosmopolitan.
We parted ways and I headed to my fall back place.  Of course, they were booked solid, too.  I made my way to another spot with a bar and ordered a salad and halibut.  Delicious.  I hired a taxi to drive me home and also stop by a market to purchase carrot cake.  I wanted carrot cake to celebrate Brian's birthday.  Yummo!
Saturday brought more opportunities to drink wine, chat with friends and eat food.  I drove up to the Opera and managed to find a parking spot prior to the lot closing.  The main event was from 1-4.  Plenty of time to drink wine.  Too much time, actually.  I ran into a co-worker and some of her friends and glommed on to them.  Our plan of attack was to go different directions and meet in the middle.  That way we could keep in contact and not get lost.  We managed to keep this maneuver, engaged, in two of the four tents.  Then, I needed another porta potty break and ran into other people that I knew.  I got tied up with that and lost my friends for the remainder of the event.
Which was in my best interest.  I had dinner plans with Melody and wanted to enjoy the meal.  I didn't want to be all boozy.  I slowed down my wine drinking since I was chit chatting with more people that I knew from work and friends that I had not seen in a couple weeks.  It was a great way to spend a Saturday.
Dinner was delightful.  I will elaborate more of that later. I have a touch of insomnia but should try to sleep.  Cheers!