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.