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.