Friday, December 29, 2017

I look back over the last ten years and think of all of the places I have traveled--Fiji, New Zealand, Belize, Costa Rica, Bahamas, Italy...amongst others.  In addition...Where are the most interesting places I have traveled?
Yes, I have been asked that question. Many times.  People seem to think Belize is the most exotic and it is exotic.  What isn't exotic about scuba diving, snorkeling, resort living?  And food?  Thankfully,  I have visited twice in my life.  Once to conclude a trip in 2008 and a return to scuba dive at Caye Caulker in 2011.
Until I tell them I have been to South Africa.  Immediately, they think, oh, safari driven venture.  Yes, I did a day trip.  And, I also checked out Camp Bay, Stellenbosch and Cape Town.  It was incredible.  I adored it and felt and feel it is one of the most beautiful places in the world.  I loved the music factor, too.  Check out Freshly Ground.  I have two of their cd's.
I hiked Table Mountain and stayed in a hostel on Long Street.  Reminded me of New Orleans--live music til 4 a.m.  Brief break prior to staff arriving to clean the restaurant and venue.  5:30 am, cleaning and prepping.  I would wake up and force myself to go for a run.  Back then, I was motivated to be healthy by running.
Or Colombia, 2017.  Medellin.  My favorite place.  I think of all of the connotations of Medellin--drug cartel and Escobar.  Still impactful til you visit.  Gorgeous.  Stunning.  Great food.  Clean.  Cody and I convinced our taxi driver to help us find a hotel in el Poblado.  Furthermore, we arranged a day tour with him that included a mini tour of Escobar highlights and lunch.  We wanted to see more of the barrios in Medellin.  At one point, we understood how insensitive we were being.  Take us somewhere we should not be walking around does not sound that impressive, right?  After lunch we walked around a neighborhood with local businesses, restaurants and bars. Each bar had men hanging out playing cards and drinking beers.  We chose a place that appeared welcoming and open.   Immediately these two older gentleman sent us a round of drinks and waited to make our vist more about them.  Could happen anywhere.  Politely, we finished most of second beer, left the third and said thank you.  Cartagena was a wash (terrible airbnb experience) and I had a new respect for Bogota on my return.  There is something to be said about a local guide.
Vietnam, 2016.  Why go there?  I was asked that last night.  How can I explain to someone that served in the military in the forgotten war that it was an amazing experience?
That I chose to go there?
That the people were kind, inviting and lovely?  I can't even explain the war myself.
Cuba, 2014.  Another proud moments for my parents. I am sure.
Cuba had its own essence.  And a ton of mojitos.  Obviously, too sweet and rum is not really my jam.  However, they did offer toberlone chocolate and wine was readily available.    Lots of rum and the kindest people on the planet.  Seriously. Shar and I befriended a taxi driver who took us dancing.  That was awesome!
I do have more places to reflect on and consider. I had the best day, today.  Saw my trainer and had an amazing amount of energy.  I went to lunch and ran into a customer.  He approached me and I mentioned that I didn't stop by since I didn't think he knew my name.
His response--isn't it April?
Lol....not even close.  I am still laughing thinking about that.  I returned home and slept for 2 hours.  I believe I needed it.  I know that I did.  Two days off inspired rest, relaxation, some working out and sleep.  And it feels incredible!

Thursday, December 28, 2017

10 Years of memories

 This is how it all started.  Traveling to Fiji, 2007.  I packed the majority of my belongings and left them in Phoenix along with the beloved Veronica.  (I so miss that car).  Anyways, this was me.  Ambitious to travel and see more of the world with a few books, journals, camera, rain jacket and of course, Flat Kellen.
First stop, Fiji.  Glorious.  I bought a sarong to be respectful in the temples and villages.  I still have that sarong.  Durable and useful.  It accompanies me to all of my beach vacations.  I have the hat, too.  That was one of my reminders of Brian and tasting life on this adventure.

 Bariloche, Argentina.  I still love this photo.  One of my favorites of a beautiful place.  I attended a day hike to see a black glacier and of course, the Isla de Corazon.  The tour was led in Spanish.  I understood a fair amount of it.  Struggled with responding to any questions, lol.
 Simon's Town, South Africa.  Another one of my favorite reflections from the 2007-08 trip.  Six month (almost) traveling and it was remarkable.  The food, people and places.  I still reflect on that trip and wish I had extended it.  I had the opportunity and know that I did make the right decision to return to Denver.  It led me to where I am now.
 Barefoot and classy.  Walking back to the hotel room in the MGM with love jones.  After attending my friends wedding in 2008.  I think I am waxing nostalgic on all of my Vegas trips since I spent a few days there last week.  Ironically, we did only stay within a three block radius from where we stayed and all on one side of the Strip.  We did not see a show, either, which typically I manage to do while in Sin City. I even play a few slot machines normally.  This past week, I was focused on Off Strip spas and the food factor.

 Shari and I in Napa.  Dinner at Bouchon.  One of many incredible meals at this location or the Vegas location.  2009, I believe.   Her first trip out to Napa and Sonoma.  Of course, wine tasting was involved as well as a few additional days in the city.

 Dinner at Mauka in Santa Fe with the lovely Melody.  2008 or 09.  Honestly, I cannot remember which year we dined here.  I remember I stayed near the Plaza and we had dinner here and at Max. Unfortunately, both places have since closed.  However, each chef has moved on to a new space in the city.
 Bahamas with Shar, 2010.  I met this lady while traveling in 2008 in Chile.  We spent five days traveling on the coast and reconnected in the Bahamas in 2010.  I returned in 2014 to venture to Havana with her.  I am overdue for another meet up with this beauty.
 2011, Puerto Penasco, Mexico.  Spent six weeks in Rocky Point while deciding what I wanted to do.  I ended up relocating to Phoenix and finding a niche there.  Rocky Point became my oasis and quick beach trip.

 2010, Cap Grille with Sara Jo and Lindsay in Denver.  We were celebrating confirmation of our lodging in Napa.  We treated my boss and my friend, Maghan, to lunch for helping us set it up.  I had been trying to run the Napa to Sonoma wine half marathon for some time.  We were able to register for the Healdsburg Half and I was determined to make sure it was the best trip ever.  Having accommodations arranged and squared made it much easier.
 Bangkok, Thailand, 2016.  Outside of a massage studio before flying to Hanoi.  I still had remnants of my black eye that I sustained in the loss of my car.  They had the best tea and cookies.  This was the beginning of our adventure in Southeast Asia.  Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.  Absolutely amazing foodie driven celebration trip.  Shari and I have traveled together the last 11 years on the anniversary of Brian's death.  This year, we are heading to Nashville.
How this all started...with one man that changed my life.  He taught me to love, to risk, to not regret living life.  He knew he would have a short life.  An old soul.  I met him in 2002 and spent the next four years with him.  After he died, I chose to live life, fully, daily.  Travel. Celebrate.  Taste Life.
I realized while walking to work the other day, that I have had this blog for 10 years.  Wow!  10 years of memories.  Some more reflective and inspired.  Others, more quiet.
I am happy to be where I am and look forward to what 2018 has to bring.  Definitely returning to my travel roots and cultivating friendships.  I had dimmed part of both of those aspects in recent years.  I don't exactly know how or why, but it happened.  I want to return to what makes me the most happy and motivated.  Wine, travel, yoga and connecting people.  I think I can do it all.
I will have more thoughts of the last ten years.  I need to get out and enjoy part of the day.  I have a sushi happy hour with Jenn in a couple hours.

Monday, December 25, 2017

destinations I want to travel 2018

I was scrolling through Instagram and saw a post about 23 lists to consider completing/making for 2018.  I love this idea and many of the lists I like.  Maybe not making a list of tv shows I would like to watch.  I don't need more crap to watch.  Believe me, I am fine with the streaming of tv.  I even watch empty, vapid, mindless reality shows.  They are, by far, the worst.  So, no, I don't think I need to be making a list about that.
Destinations I want to travel.  Yea, I can absolutely do that.  There are a few definite trips early in 2018.  Nashville.  Puerto Rico.  Nashville to celebrate Brian's anniversary.  Shari and I originally planned on Charleston.  But people kept talking about Nashville and it seemed like a better fit.  Food. Music.  Great vibe.  I mentioned it to Sara Jo and she also seemed interested in going with us to Nashville.  Her exact response was--well, Jonny crashed your trip to Austin, I can crash this one.  As well as, I enjoy traveling with you and Shari.  I bought my tickets and now need to focus on the rental and what area of town.  I have time to figure it out.
Puerto Rico is to attend Tiffany and Dan's wedding.  They postponed due to the unforeseen hurricane.  They had been planning on moving there and celebrating their love by having friends and family attend their wedding in October.  They recently relocated to Rincon and are enjoying their life there.  I am excited to do yoga on the beach, check out the wine shop she raves about and spend time with them.  Support the local and see a beautiful place.
I am thinking of a European adventure.  I have always wanted to go to Greece.  I even had tickets bought and purchased before 9/11 happened a week before my confirmed departure.  I postponed my trip initially, thinking, I would wait six months and then consider an adventure across Europe. Full of rail travel, wine and sitting in cafes.  Instead, I found myself moving to Denver.
I digress.  So, yes, a trip to Greece and Spain would be optimal.  Or a trip to India to continue my yoga education.  I have been attending more classes in Denver to see what is out there and how I could contribute to the community.  I still believe I could create a niche here and have a thriving practice.  Continuing yoga at a retreat sounds incredible.  And would complete another goal--passport stamps.  Last night this older gentleman was describing his son and how much he traveled.  I'll admit.  I was a little jealous and kept listening.  Apparently at the end of next year, this guy will have visited 42 countries.  My thought was--I can do that.  Or better yet...I should do that!
Of course there will be trips to Santa Fe.  That is a given.  Maybe even in January?  Or in April.  I am trying to figure out.  I need to get my Ojo fix as well as see friends and eat green chile.  It is enticing and too close to not try to drive down multiple times a year.
California.  This year I returned to L.A. and toured the city with Shari and Marc.  Great food and a fun time.  I feel that I should return to San Fran and give some love to Napa and Sonoma.  It has been too long since I have toured the wineries.  Moreover, I have a friend that owns a shop there that I would love to check out.  I met Jarred in 2006 when I visited Napa for the first time.
I am a little distracted it being Christmas and all.  I am thankful to be able to spend the day with friends.  I need to get up and finalize my gifts and treats and make my way over to their home.  I told Jenn I would wear my lobster pants.  I need to figure out how cold it is outside before committing to that.  Also figure out what shoes to wear.  My boots that I bought for the season hurt my feet and my older boots (think 2001 or 2002) also wear on my heels.  I could wear my sneakers but they have mesh which would get wet in the snow.  I am confused as to which ones to wear.  Oh well.
I will revisit this list in the next week.  For sure--there will be Nashville, Puerto Rico, Santa Fe, maybe Greece or India.  Texas could be a destination?  I don't know.  Maybe another trip to Argentina?  I don't know....

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

winter solstice and trying to be an adult....

Finished.  Completed.  Check it off.  Two ceremonies to the solstices of 2017.  I preferred the solo celebration I did in the summer.  It was exactly what I wanted.  I listened to music and jammed out 108 salutations--full salutations--with five breaths held in down dog before the jump forward and completion of the cycle.  I felt incredible.  Beat up and sore.  My hand pads were sore for a few days after.  I felt great that I was able to complete 108 push-ups.
Yesterday, we were arranged in the room so that we were a sun ray.  We were all facing each other and able to see each other flow through the sequence.  Two females guided us through the 108 salutations which they broke up in segments of 36 salutations.  We would further break that into twelve salutations with a break before continuing the next two blocks of sequences.  A five minute breathing exercise was incorporated between the completed thirty-six salutations.  It was definitely more spiritual and peaceful.  They explained to us that there would be three modifications that we would be available to us during the process.  The first one was the most physical of the three and it wasn't that challenging. I was expecting a chataranga.  108 of them to be exact and so when that was shut down, immediately, I was disappointed.  I wanted a physical connection to this process.  As noted, the three modifications were not that challenging.  It was an inch room out to plank, lower to belly, extend arms forward and back, press up to cobra or upward facing dog and then inch room to down dog and rise back to standing.  I wanted the jump backs with push ups and down dogs.
I did stay for the two and half hours.  I will not return to that studio to fulfill another solstice celebration.  I left, peaceful and calm, which is great.  However, not what I wanted.  I really wanted the physical to be pushed.
I rushed home, changed, and made my way downtown.  Thankfully, found parking and worked for an evening shift.  It's now Tuesday.  Although, it feels like Wednesday.  I attended a restorative yoga class which was exactly what I needed.  I fell asleep.  I think I needed that, too.  The instructor actually woke me up so that we could leave.  I was a little embarrassed.  And, it showed me, again, that yes, I really need to take better care of myself.  I wish I could sleep in.  I left work after 10 last night and went to bed around midnight.  I woke up at 5:30.  A nap was definitely in my future today.  I spent most of it running errands and seeing the dentist.  I have to be an adult sometimes.  Seeing the dentist, obgyn or eye doctor cuts into my travel plans and I consider them adult type activities and responsibilities.  I forced myself to go to the dentist this year.  It was challenging.  I postponed, procrastinated.  Even considered delaying until 2018 which wouldn't have changed the results.  I needed work done.  Postponing would have created more work.  I did ask my dentist to prioritize exactly what needed to be done in the future.  Now I can focus on getting cleanings and mix in some of the other stuff.  It can be managed.
Next year will bring on the eye doctor.  I am currently wearing my last pair of contacts which will need to be fixed.  I can only extend wearing them for so long without it affecting my eyesight.  I should probably schedule an appointment with the lady doctor, too.  Things to look forward to in the next year.
Always something.  I did attend a holiday gift extravaganza supporting local girls.  Picked up a few items and spent some time with the Goddess.  I love seeing her. We have discussed a return to running.  I see a half marathon in 2018.  Maybe two. Depends on how ambitious I feel.
Must get up and greet the day.  Cheers!

Sunday, December 17, 2017

I digress.....

I've been working, a lot.  I think most people are actually.  So it isn't unique to me.  However, what is unique is that my schedule has changed where I now only have one day off at a time instead of two in a row.  I am thankful for work, I am.  I am finding it difficult to take care of me.  On my days off, I sleep, take a nap, manage laundry (hopefully) and sleep some more.
Did I mention wine?  Of course, that is involved to a certain degree.  I should limit my intake as my immune system is already weakened due to my sleep schedule.  I felt the full effect of it last week.  I was working and suddenly my left contact rolled back.  I knew it almost immediately and so I started trying to re-center it.  I knew I was dehydrated which I tried to counter by inhaling water.  At this point, it was ineffective.  My body was unwilling to balance.  For about an hour, I struggled to see and try to right the contact.  When it finally surfaced, I explained to my co-worker that I needed to attend to it and hopefully reapply it without damage.  I felt around for it and found it.  Well, half of it that is.  It tore in my eye.  Probably due to all of my rubbing, scratching, etc...attempting to find it.  I told Michael that I would have maybe 30 minutes before I wouldn't be able to see.  From experience I know that I get a ridiculous headache from only having one contact in.  Thankfully, he understood and let me leave awhile later.
The next day, the other half of my contact surfaced.  I have been sporting glasses since then trying to rehydrate and rest my eyes.  I do not need to further irritate them.  I know if I put in my last pair of contacts I risk losing them in the same manner.  Ironically, I had arranged an annual check up with my optometrist this month.  He is semi-retired and so that has been a challenge.  Originally, I had set up an appointment on a Wednesday.  Two weeks later, they contacted me to ask for an alternate day with an earlier appointment.  I agreed.  Then, they called again to say that it wouldn't work and could I come in at 2 on Wednesday?  I called them to express what I needed and request an even later appointment.  January 12th, I think.  I hope that my one remaining pair of contacts will sustain til then.  Honestly, I have never utilized all of my contacts.  Typically, I have a surplus since I over wear them, extending their use, I suppose.  However, as my vision continues to change, I have held off seeing the optometrist hoping that I won't get a prescription that will be obsolete once I need readers.  Yes they are coming.  In the words of my eye doctor, once you turn, blank, you will need readers. Like it is something to look forward to.  Or embrace.  Gross!
So, there is that.  All do to the fact that I overindulged in wine and didn't get enough sleep.  That is the root of the issue.  I canceled my session with Courtney this week after I broke my contact.  I thought I could rally but that was is.  I pay her to train me.  Why pay her when I have no energy?  That was what it came down to for me.  I could go to a restorative yoga class, too, and still benefit from the physical movement.  And, I taught a client yesterday and focused more on core work than I normally do.  I am power based and prefer a ton of pushups to create heat in the body.  I like a physical practice.  Still, sometimes, it is better to listen.  To not push or overextend.  I am thankful that I can recognize that and adapt to what is good for me.
Today, I am attempting a greeting to the winter solstice.  108 sun salutations in a two and half hour period.  Seems excessive.  I know it can be done in an hour and a half or even two hours.  I will see how it is to be led.  For the summer solstice, I jammed out to music and attempted them on my own.  An hour and a half with all jump forwards and jump backs.  I felt so bad ass!  We will see.
This next week is busy!  Dental appointment.  Seeing my aestitician.  Trip to Vegas.  Teaching yoga and working to round it out.  Should be epic and an adventure.  Til then, cheers!

more of my trips to consider

I want to expand more on my trip to Santa Fe.  Multiple trips actually.  I always find my way there during the year.  I am already planning on venture down in January.  I think I can make it work.  Especially if the weather holds.
What isn't to like?  Food.  Silver coin margaritas.  Friends.  Oh, and Ojo Caliente--primarily the reason I go down there.  I love spending a few hours soaking there.  Afterwards, I am rejuvenated, refreshed and at peace.  Moreover they continue to improve Ojo with the addition of more soaking pools.  I love the lithium pool.  It is gorgeous, spacious and updated.  I love it!
My first trip was in March with my friend, Maghan.  I asked him to accompany me to get a few days our of Denver since I thought it would be beneficial for both of us. Time of year inspired it.  He had went with me the prior year to fetch my new Volvo and meet some of my friends.  I know that he enjoyed the food factor but we struggled staying ahead of the snow.  Multiple snow storms hit us on the way down and the return to Denver in 2016.  As such, we were unable to go to Ojo Caliente on that visit and so I offered to take him back down to Santa Fe so we could go to Ojo.  It was glorious for both of us.  We managed to walk around the historic plaza, check out some of the jewelers and find green chile at some local spots.  A successful trip.  I turned him onto my favorite breakfast burrito place in addition to spoiling him with all of the green chile.
I returned in June on a solo trip. I needed a trip to myself to reevaluate life and what I wanted from it.  I spent a few days with Melody, Lawrence and Libby.  Again, back to Ojo Caliente.  Lovely and refreshing.  I told myself that I wanted to visit to find new jewelry.  Especially after my malachite pendant broke from my bracelet.  I figured that alone inspired a trip to the city.  However, two days was insufficient time to find my guy and have the bracelet fixed, returned to me and head back to Denver.  I still wanted to visit and figured I would return at a later date to find my jeweler.  Another visit couldn't hurt, right?
I managed another trip mid August.  I was scheduled a few days off in a row and texted Melody to see if she would be able to meet up for a day to Ojo.  She would be able to.  I texted my other childhood friend, Jennifer, to see if she would be around.  She lives in ABQ and we try to meet up, annually.  I saw her in July in Kansas at a classmate's memorial.  She is like minded in travel and tasting life.  Of course, I would have loved to see her at Ojo.  It just didn't work out this year.  I made arrangements to attend a Barre class at Temple and Tribe and made lunch or dinner dates with Libby, Shana, Melody and Lawrence.  My dance card was full.
Each trip to the city brought about new dining experiences and some sort of exercise--barre, yoga or TRX driven class.  It enriched my personal practice which was in tandem with my sessions with Courtney.  Each time I ventured down there, I incorporated some sort of fitness activity to offset the eating and imbibing of silver coins.  Yes, there were many of those, too!
The airbnb's were an interesting mix of residences across the city.  Each was clean and the host was gracious.  One was on the south side which was like a whole different experience.  I told the girl I was dining at a spot and she had never heard of it.  I left, thinking, why do you live in Santa Fe?  Are you from here?  What does it elicit from you?  And, where do you dine on the south end?  I know of a few franchise places but nothing that stands out for me specifically.  Her home was clean and they told me I could eat eggs which was kind.  The majority of the spots were on the east side and one was near Canyon Road.  Probably my favorite as it was a zen getaway and I had limited access to the internet.  I would have to walk a half mile before I had service which was nice all things considered. I wish that spot had had more amenities--cutlery and such.  They did offer bath salts, candles and a very serene space.
There were two others that stood out.  One near Baca with ample parking and the other near a middle school off Zia.  Both had great parking and kind owners.  Cute additional touches that made the space very welcoming and comfortable.  I completely zoned out in the one near Baca.  I loved the book selection and dove into the books.
I had hoped to return one more time this year.  It didn't work out.  I redirected my attention to Las Vegas and a trip that I will be taking this upcoming week with another friend, Jenn.  I will reflect more on 2017.  The majority of it was positive and illustrated to me that I am wanting to teach more yoga.  I am very  much enjoying it!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

more of yesterday

It was a stunning day yesterday.  Gorgeous weather.  It inspired me to walk to work wearing shorts in December.  When I was a bit younger, I would wear shorts year round.  I figured I worked indoors and would go from my heated car to a heated restaurant that tended to be hot.  I was fine running around the restaurant in shorts.
I updated my blog in the morning and headed to a yoga class.  I like seeing what is out there and so, sometimes, I go to other studios and experience a class.  There is a donation based studio that I have frequented in the past.  They have multiple locations around the metro area which is nice and I can walk to the Capital Hill location.  It said it was a level 2 class and so I was expecting a fast moving sequence with some inversions.  I arrived about thirteen minutes early and chose my spot.  At this point, there was still ample space around the room.  I was setting up my mat when this woman creeped along the wall towards me and my mat.  I actually thought she was going to step on my mat which is cringe worthy in my book.  I do not like when people step on my space or invade it in any way shape or form.  She managed to not walk on my mat but she weirded me out.  I should have moved my mat, elsewhere, since there was space and time to do just that.  Instead I remained in the space I had created.
The woman unrolled her mat and set up shop next to me.  The class continued to fill up and it was a full room.  The instructor began speaking and I knew that it would be a more intention setting class.  It would not be quick moving or intense.  And, I was right.  The music was terrible, too.  We started in child's pose and then erupted to cat/cow and an odd calf stretch.  I might borrow that actually.  It helped to apply pressure to my calves and relieve some of the tension of the plantar fasciitis I have been battling the last few months.  Continuing on we did a toe stretch.  This took about 18 minutes.  For me, I prefer to be building heat by doing sun A and sun B's and almost to sun C twenty minutes in to a class.  She was a mindful teacher but I could tell her practice was more book based than actually doing yoga, experiencing it for herself.  The class was mislabeled and I will not make that mistake again of attending her class. I was bored and uninspired.
Back to the lady next to me...while in one of the sequences, I looked over and saw her butt crack.  I was so grossed out that she wasn't wearing panties.  I was surprised to.  Clearly she had rolled out of bed and skulked into this class to clear her energy.  I wanted no part of it, lol.
I do love the weather.  It's amazing.  I am off to work and maybe a yoga class tonight.  I can go to the other donation based studio and attend a class that I know is higher intensity.  The instructor is a friend and someone that I attend classes from often at my home studio.  Or, I could take a day for me and rest.  I think I need that!
There is more reflection of travel and food.  I merely mentioned Chicago and Santa Fe but didn't expand on the experiences.  Or Los Angeles.  Also a lovely foodie inspired trip.  I am so thankful for this year.  Spreading light and positivity and kindness.....

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Year in review....a beginning

Year in's been an interesting year for me.  For many, I would presume.  The onslaught of negativity, fear, blatant negative emotions,'s a little overwhelming.  I prefer focusing on the positive and light.
Thankfully, I made travel a priority.  In January, I explored Colombia with my friend, Cody.  I met Cody during my brief stint at Whole Foods in Phoenix.  She is like-minded.  Loves to travel, do yoga and taste life.  I had never traveled with her before and so I was a little hesitant which was unfounded.  She was a great travel partner.  Open to seeing where the road would lead.  We had a few accommodations arranged and figured out the rest.  Initially, I was not impressed by Bogota and was looking forward to exploring Cartagena and Medellin.  Of the three cities, I had the best time in Medellin and would love to return to explore more of it.  It was incredible.  Great vibe, food and people.  I cannot say enough about how wonderful it was.  Initially, I was a little scared.  The whole Pablo Escobar thing.  And, I was entranced by Narcos and of course, you hear so many things associated with the cartels and drugs.  Fear, again, trying to limit experiences.  I loved Medellin.
Cartagena was disappointing mostly due to an experience with an airbnb owner.  This man was unbelievable and soured that portion of the trip.  I'm sure that Cartagena is charming.  I only did not experience that.   We did swim in the ocean and explore the old city which was great.  I loved all of the arepas, too.  Street food was predominant and delicious.  We also saw some incredible street dancers perform for two consecutive nights.  That was amazing.  So there was some positive about Cartagena.
We returned to Bogota we did the graffiti tour which was excellent.  I would recommend it to anyone traveling to that city.  It's free, informative and visually stunning.  I loved the political murals.
Also in Bogota, we met up with some friends of my friend, Sharleen.  She connected us on social media and I was able to meet up with two of her friends that had never met.  They both were helpful and kind.  We shared a tour of the city through their eyes and had lunch.  It changed my perspective of Bogota, for sure.  It was more than just the Capitol city of Colombia.  I could reflect more on Colombia but feel I should point out other first cities for me this year.
Palm Springs and Yucca.  I find that I do love the desert.  I suppose I have always known it.  I have gravitated, geographically, to the southwest the majority of my life.  Twice in Phoenix, once in Santa Fe and again in Denver.  Yes, I do like the desert lifestyle.
I had never been to Palm Springs and jumped on the opportunity to visit Sara Jo's brother.  It was family oriented and fun.  We explored Joshua Tree--gorgeous and the Integretron.  I love adding spirituality into the mix of a trip.  It did not disappoint.  Who wouldn't enjoy a sound healing bath?  I completely zoned out and meditated.
Outside of those two trips, I returned to Santa Fe multiple times, Kansas for family and a wedding, Los Angeles for the Brian trip, and Chicago for a foodie driven venture.  It has been a grand year of food and friendship.  And taking care of me.  I chose to get a personal trainer which has been one of the best decisions I have made.  She keeps me accountable for my health and fitness choices.  I have cut out cheese from my diet.  SHOCK.  AWE.
Well, mostly.  This also includes breakfast burritos.  I know. It's insanity.  In my defense, I love drinking wine.  I will not cut that out of my diet.  So in an attempt to trim down, I have modified aspects of what I eat.  I now live on tuna and almonds.  Oh, and protein bars.  I still eat chips and salsa and guacamole. I am exaggerating a little.  I absolutely do not only live on tuna and almonds.  I just find that that is now my snack of choice as opposed to inhaling chips like I used to.  I have limited cheese.  Mostly because of how it now affects me.  I might as well be in close proximity to a porta potty if I eat the dip duo at one of my favorite spots.  That or a breakfast burrito.  I miss them but it destroys my system.  I used to think that anyone spouting off about how dairy affects your body was nuts.  Now, I feel a little differently.  I still eat it, but in small amounts and infrequently.  I think on my next trip to Santa Fe, I will try a breakfast burrito without cheese.  See how that works.
I meet with Courtney three times a month on average.  I have seen how I am benefitting from our sessions.  I can now do pushups with ease.  I will comfortable walking around the equipment and not just heading straight to the treadmill since I know how to operate that machine.  I am strengthening, overall, and I feel great.  Another added bonus of having a trainer.  The feeling great part.  I never thought I would enjoy this as much as I am.  Or that I could modify my nutrition and see immediate results.  And, I am still drinking wine, haha.
My intention is to teach more yoga which I am finally doing.  I believe that next year will present a passport stamp and a yoga retreat to continue my practice of being a student.  I like to see what is out there and continue my own journey.  I met a couple recently where I think more yoga will be in my life.  And an opportunity to inspire others.
Focusing on the positive and light.   Spreading kindness instead of fear.  We all can be more kind.  Looking forward to 2018 and the opportunities that will be presented.  I will reflect more on my year.  I am off to yoga.  I could use some inspiration.

Friday, September 8, 2017

some travel dreams and other ways I spend my days

I guess I have been on another break.
Not a great excuse and I have been a little uninspired.  Unwilling to share my current follies or travels.  I managed another trip to Santa Fe and a week later, I flew to Spokane.  Talk about whirlwind and work.  I went from seven straight days to a four day break in Santa Fe which was awesome--Ojo Caliente, dinner with Lawrence and his wife, some shopping and of course, seeing Melody.  I rested at the airbnb and contemplated life.  No service there so little interaction on social media.  It was glorious.  I returned to work six days.  Lot of hours and really exhausted.  Caught a flight to Spokane to assist at a drag race.  Check that off my bucket list!
Next month, I am heading to Puerto Rico to attend a wedding and then will road trip it to Kansas for my sister's wedding.  So there is upcoming travel.
I keep dreaming of Greece.  I think of buying my tickets to Athens in 2001 and how that trip derailed after 9/11.  I was able to get a refund after initially delaying my trip.  I believed that I would be beginning an adventure in Greece and traveling for six months before starting real life.  I suppose that begs the question--have I ever really grown up?  Or done the traditional thing?
My intention was to go to Greece in 2002.  Instead, I found myself adjusting to life in Denver and creating my life here.  Greece seemed like somewhere I would go at another time.  Maybe 2003.  or 2004.  And, now I am at 2017 with no stamp that says Greece.  I that it will be rectified in 2018.  I have finally made an appointment with a dentist.  Probably one of my most dreaded tasks.  I take care of myself--pedicures, massage, yoga.  I visit the eye doctor to keep my vision healthy and I have been to the lady doctor more frequently than the dreaded dentist.  I have been thinking about it all year and finally decided to be an adult about it.  Two of my friends go to the same dentist and I think that was the sign for me.  I need to suck it up and find out what needs to be done.  I blame it on genetics from my father's side.  I know that I grind my teeth, have hurt my enamel and have fillings that need to be handled.  Oh the joys of dental health.  Of my dental health.
I am meeting my trainer in thirty minutes.  Courtney is awesome and I look forward to my sessions with her.  I feel that I am getting stronger and want to increase this trend.  I do have slip ups.  I would like to think that I am not the only one who has or does.  Last week, Courtney game me homework--portion size and decrease my intake of wine.  Yesterday, I went to lunch with Tiffany and had a major cheat day.  Wine at lunch and the dip duo.  I love this appetizer and have not eaten it since I started training.  I was with Tiffany and since she is moving to Puerto Rico in a month chose to go with the flow of lunch.  I walked to and from lunch and went to a yoga sculpt class was my justification for the decadent lunch.  After the sculpt class, I thought about having wine with dinner.  I went back and forth with it and finally decided to walk to the corner store.  I chose to leave my phone charging in my apartment since the bottle shop is two blocks from my apartment.  I shut my door and began to lock the dead bolt.  I watched as my key bent in the luck and broke off. CRAP!!!
I knocked on my landlady's door.  She wasn't home.
I went to make a call and then remembered that I had intentionally left my phone in my bedroom.  Crap!  I walked down to the maintenance guy's apartment.  Classically in the basement.  Think boiler room.  I could hear him and his brother talking but they didn't answer the door.  I was impatient trying to figure out what to do.  No phone, key broke in lock.  No landlord.  Where could I go if I couldn't effectively break into my apartment?  Sara is overworked.  Jenn seemed overwhelmed with the weekend plans (from our texts earlier that was implied) and my other typical go-to that saves me is not an option currently but that is another story.
I went to their other door and knocked furiously.  Thankfully, he heard me this time and I explained my quandary.  I told him that the key had broke in the lock.  He considered taking the dead bolt off if necessary.  I returned to my apartment door and waited.  I noted that the key was sticking out.  The guy arrived and I showed him the piece of key that I had found.  He had pliers and pulled the key out.  Relief!  Then he had a spare key for the dead bolt and unlocked my door.
I laughed then.  This is one of the this could only happen to me moments that I find myself in.  Sometimes frequently.  It all worked out and I did manage to buy some wine to accompany my dinner.  I abstained from further imploding my day by not getting take out.  I had a craving for spaghetti and meatballs.  I really thought about the place a few blocks from my house that has massive meatballs.  That would have wrecked my weigh in for sure today.  Not saying that it won't be in my future today.
The only other noteworthy item of my day was purchasing clothes from a consignment store.  I have realized in the last 6-8 years how much I do enjoy shopping.  Being a Libra it is one of the highlighted qualities that I have always felt did not apply to me.  I hate shopping or so I thought.  Nah, I love buying new clothes.  At any rate, I went to a cute consignment store in Cherry Creek.  I wanted to buy yoga pants or a dress for Tiffany's wedding.  Instead, I found a black dress that I probably don't need but I wanted!  I was checking out and the cashier asked me if I was a teacher.  And I replied, no.
Then, she asked me if I was over  I almost leaped across the counter.  In my mind, I think I did.  I calmly replied no.
Her next inquiry was if I was a student.  No.
At which point, she said, well I was only trying to get you a discount.
Sure, I get that.  The asking me if I was 55 was ridiculous.  I almost said, actually, I'm 60 and just look good for my age.  I'm still irritated with that woman.  Lol.
I am off to spend the rest of my day either reading or outside.  It is glorious!

Saturday, July 15, 2017

memorial celebration

After lunch and pedicures with Jasmin, we headed over to the memorial for one of my former classmates and friends.  I knew some of the people that would be attending and wanted to see them.  I also had fond memories of Brian. 
We went to middle and high school together.  We shared latin and one year of being band nerds.  I moved on after our trip to Orlando and focused on school, work and finding a way out of Salina.  He continued with band and a different path than mine.  We both ended up in Lawrence for college.  He was one of my best friend's roommates in an off campus apartment.  Like me, we wanted to live off campus instead of in a dorm or sorority.  After that first year, we drifted apart.  I was always consumed by work and creating my departure from Kansas.  He had friends, other interests and ultimately, a different path.  We lost touch and eventually found our commonality on social media.  I could stalk his photos and see what he was interested in in a very public way.  Returning for his memorial it was nice to look through his childhood photos.  I am a sucker for family photos.  So much innocence and camaraderie.  Of course, there were senior photos and photos of his life.  I arrived later than anticipated and interrupted part of the speeches.  It was nice to listen but I wasn't interested in contributing to the stories in a public forum.  That is not really my thing.  I remember when my Brian died and letting his friend/boss speak.  Marc was charismatic and had the best stories of Brian.  He was compassionate and illustrated some of Brian's essence.  Afterwards, they opened it up to anyone else that wanted to say something.  Quickly, it declined into weirdness and randomness.  This one lady spoke of how kind Brian was for always returning her lighter. It seemed odd and pointless and we cut people off and concluded the speaking portion.  I didn't speak that day.  I don't think I would have done it any differently either.
After people were finished speaking, we broke up into small groups, naturally, and caught up.  That was interesting.  One guy immediately approached me and wanted to know what I had been doing for the past 10 years.  I responded that I bartend.  He goes--really?  You were the smartest person in our class, I thought you would be doing something else.
I didn't really know how to respond.  When I was younger, I thought I would be a lawyer.  I have a great life and it is unconventional.  It's not traditional or what is considered success in some people's minds. Initially, I was pissed that I would be judged in such a manner.  But, then I forgave him as he has not changed.  He has always had turrets.  Speaking first thinking later.  I have a few other examples from last Saturday that would support this belief. 
Another guy I ran into I have known since kindergarten.  It was great to see him and see where life has taken him.  He was a quiet introverted guy all through school.  He has blossomed into a rambunctious lover of life.  He is a pilot and travels the world.  It was wonderful talking to him.  I wish I had had more time to catch up with him. 
I am glad that I made the effort to return to Kansas.  Next time might be longer or for happier circumstances. I know that I will see Jennifer in the next few months.  She is one of my childhood friends that I do see on a fairly regular basis.  I am grateful for that.
I am off to dog sit, attend a barre class and greet the day!  Until next time---cheers!

Friday, July 14, 2017

midwest trip

Vacation to the Midwest was successful.  Of course, it was not long enough.  I would have preferred another day to spend time with my niece, Emma or more time with my high school friends.  I woke up on Thursday and headed east to Omaha.  I have made driven this road, before, but I am not nearly as familiar with it as driving thru Kansas.  I called my dad to let him know that I would be arriving in a few hours and that, yes, I had directions to his house compliments of gps.  Ironically, I realized that I had put in Omaha as my location instead of his actual address.  I texted him to ask him for the address about twenty minutes from Lincoln.  I veered off to put gas in my car and potty and ended up in a 25 minute departure from my arrival plan.  Next time, I know, to stop at main exits and not head into small towns that I am unfamiliar with, lol. 
My dad's house is comfortable with a large backyard.  I enjoyed spending time with him and his wife.  They are well suited--similar outlooks on life and personality.  We drank a few beers before meeting her daughter for dinner.  They chose a cute Italian place nearby.  It was nice and the best part of the restaurant were the half price bottles of wine deal offered on Thursdays.  Of course, they let me choose the wine!  I loved that part.  We took dessert with us and had bailey's and coffee at home.  All, in all, it was a quick lovely visit.  I woke up, early, on Friday and headed south to Lawrence.  I had two options to arrive in a timely fashion.  I could take the interstate through K.C. or a highway to Topeka.  My dad and Joyce both preferred the two lane highway.  They claimed it was a straight shot and good road.  Getting out of Omaha was a little challenging since I didn't have service at my dad's house.  I didn't want to return to ask him how to get to the interstate so I drove around til I managed to find a gas station.  I thought I would go old school.  Armed with a map, I was prepared to ask an attendant the best way to 1-80.  Thankfully, my service returned and I was able to be guided to the highway.  There was some construction which was annoying.  I followed 1-75 south and missed a turn, somehow.  I found myself entering Iowa, lol.  Thankfully, I knew that was incorrect and found my mistake quickly. 
The road was fine for the most part.  There was more traffic than I imagined and of course, people that were unwilling to follow the rules of the road.  If you are not going the speed limit, do not drive in the left lane.  Moreover, when you are gifted a truck lane *which opens up the road to two lanes and enables passing* please either get over if you have no intention of passing or drive with the flow of traffic.  Do not continue to drive slow and follow the car in front of you.  It was frustrating to only be able to pass in the right zone and drive behind people that are unfit to drive.  I managed to make it to Lawrence with a few minutes to spare.  I had a lunch date with a friend from college.  Julie had not changed at all.  I last saw her in 2009 on another visit to Lawrence.  She now has two girls and we caught up on our families.  I knew all of her brothers and she knows my sisters.  We all attended her wedding in Lawrence.  Always fun to see her and catch up!  And dining at Free State is always a treat.  I saw three people that I used to work with back when I was in college. 
Afterwards, I drove to Manhattan.  Quick drive and I made it to Jasmin's house fairly easily.  I was surprised that her daughter was not there.  I had hoped to spend the weekend with my niece.  I had hoped that Jasmin would be able to convince her ex that Emma should spend the weekend with us.  It was nice to see Mason, my nephew, and also spend a little extra time with Jasmin. We got pedicures and had lunch at a Mexican place in Manhattan.  I wanted to try a new restaurant in the Little Apple and the only qualification was I wanted wine.  Jasmin mentioned a Mexican restaurant a few times and so I knew she was interested in chips and salsa. 
I forgot to mention my yoga class and the farmer's market I found on Saturday morning.  I have been to the yoga studio on a prior visit and so I knew where it was and that it was a clean and welcoming space.  Upon arrival, I checked in to my class and greeted who I thought was the instructor.  This girl was fiddling with the music and so I approached her about props.  She directed me to a very pregnant girl who would be leading the class.  Initially, I was anxious that the class would suck (honestly) and then was pleasantly surprised when it was decent. Better than decent.  Better than the majority of classes I have attended in Denver.  It was challenging, mindful and had great music.  I was happy.
I had driven by a farmer's market on the way to yoga and so I stopped before returning to Jasmin's house.  I wanted to scope the produce and find coffee and maybe a breakfast burrito.  That is one reason I enjoy perusing farmer's markets.  This one was full of produce, some goods, but no coffee.  I was surprised that there wasn't a pop up coffee stand.  They did have beignets, though.  I purchased some for Chris.  I also found beets, tomatoes and sweet corn.  I thought the corn would be a nice addition for our bbq that night.  It was.
I will conclude this for now.  I have a training session to mentally prepare for.  Ahh...Fridays!

Saturday, July 1, 2017

new month and current likes

Hello, July!  What a month this will be...more reading, TRX training and some travel.  I might be able to maneuver another road trip at some point.  Definitely heading to the Midwest next week to see family.  It was inspired by a memorial that I had hoped to attend.  I wanted to be able to do it in the proper fashion which meant that I would need to take an additional day off from work.  Also, that I would arrange a brief stay with my dad in Omaha and my sister in Kansas. 
I reached out to my friend, Jennifer, in ABQ to see if she was making the journey back for the memorial.  She told me that she was flying into KC for 36 hours or thereabouts.  After confirming with my sister that she would be in town, I decided to commit to the trip.  From there, I sought out a college friend that lives in Lawrence to see if she would be interested in meeting me for lunch when I drive thru.  Everything is falling into place and, I believe, it will be a great quick trip.  I wish I had more time to see my friend, Carol, who is in Lindsborg.  My return to Denver on Sunday will be early and without much flexibility for time.  I work at 3 that day and must be back ready to work.
The personal training is going well.  I like my trainer.  She pushes me to do more and make mindful choices.  I can hear her voice in my head when I am considering eating more cheese, lol.  I want to be consistent with my training and think that three sessions a month are adequate.  I have been teaching more yoga and will increase the frequency and students.  My friend, Danielle, is interested in meeting me for two sessions a week.  We celebrated our practice by dining at Fruition last night.  What a treat!  It's been awhile since I have last dined there.  Mostly since there are so many new places that I had wanted to check out.  Danielle and I both live near 6th St and so it seemed like a great choice.  We wanted wine and a great meal and both needs were met.  Danielle is a vegan and so going to Luca seemed out of place and the other spot, I mentioned, was too casual.  The wine list is decent but I knew that the food was not what either of us would want. 
Our server was great.  Very attentive and able to guide us to a lovely meal.  The chef created a lovely vegan meal for Danny.  The only drawback to the restaurant is the lack of bar or waiting space. I would have loved to have had some bubbles or a cocktail while waiting for our table.  Not a huge deal.
I have been reading more and love it.  Currently, I seem to enjoy reading about family dynamics.  The Nest was interesting and thought provoking.  I enjoyed my stint with narcissism by reading Harmony.  And, I have read quite a few John Irving books in the last few months.  Hilarious and always interesting.  I have another one to read but want to take a break from his style for a bit.  In the meantime, I have two books to enjoy and several more on hold at the library.
I'm still open to suggestions for my birthday.  I am tempted to go to wine and Chile and it is on my birthday week.  I looked at rentals and the rates are good and I know that I would enjoy the festival again.  But, do I want to spend my time there or go elsewhere?  I am still on the fence with it.  I could definitely enjoy a three day trip to San Diego.  Or a yoga inspired trip to Phoenix. I still have some time before committing to anything.
Yoga, healthy eating and reading will be my focus this summer.  I like that it is something different and thought provoking.  I spend too much time watching tv and prefer expanding my reading base.  Any suggestions are welcome and appreciated!  I am off to a yoga class.  Hoping this girl incorporates more astanga in her practice today.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Celebrating and books

Random Friday night off thoughts...I had the best day.  Mostly, due to the weather.  Amazing after two nights ago when I woke up, multiple times, due to marinating in my own sweat.  I had to do the Sara trick.  As a child, Sara lived in Florida.  Her parents were unwilling to turn on the a/c since they had a swimming pool for them.  Her mom always suggested putting a cold cloth on her forehead and belly that would cool you down.  It does.  But, it isn't that comforting to think about as you wake up, endlessly, due to not being able to sleep.
I have multiple fans in addition to a ceiling fan that should be more than enough.  Yet, two nights ago, I thought I was going to die of heat exhaustion.  Okay.  So, I am exaggerating a little.  I knew that I wouldn't die but it sure was frustrating to wake up because I was hot. 
This morning was delightful!  I woke up, cold.  I turned off my fans.  It was that cold.  I met my trainer after going through my morning ritual--lemon water, coffee, protein bar.  Sometimes, vitamins...sometimes, not.  I shower and then walk to my gym. First thing she does is put me on the scale.  I see that there had been progress.  That making some sacrifices had resulted in positivity.  She asked me how I felt.  My response, great and then I continued with....and I didn't wake up hungover, once.
She laughed.  I was being completely honest.  I didn't drink remotely excessively in the last week.  I dined out more than I anticipated and still was able to tone up.  I feel good and I feel that Courtney feels I will be a success story.  I feel that I can commit to this and make progress.  I have been more aware of what I am putting in my body.  For example, I met Jenn for dinner last night.  Initially, we talked about checking out a new place in Stapleton.  A female chef that was trying out her own place.  I was excited to check it out but location wise, I wasn't thrilled.  I was thinking about a way to either cancel or change since I was uninterested in driving to Stapleton.  For some reason, Jenn had ESP and she mentioned that she preferred something more casual.  She was craving sushi (her go to).  I asked if we could go elsewhere.  Her next suggestion was her typical response.  I vetoed that as well.  I suggested three or four spots around our area which did not interest her.  She mentioned Mexican at which point, I caved in.  I wasn't thrilled about loading up on cheese, chips and guacamole the night before I met my trainer, but we were getting nowhere and fast.  I agreed that I would meet her at a spot I had dined at many times with most of my family.  It was a place that I would meet Brian for lunch.  I love it.  Very nostalgic.
However, I didn't really want margaritas.  I arrived to find a carafe of margaritas.  They do not make a good margarita.  It's shitty.  And, I was wrecking my diet for this.  Terrible drinks and a taco salad.  In all honesty, I refrained from eating the fried taco shell.  I tried to be good.  I was aware that I was choosing this food to be kind to my friend and make the most of it. 
After meeting my trainer, I felt that I could have made better choices and fared better.  Yet, when she asked me what I would like to do for next week, I realized that I am thankful for making some mistakes that I can maybe take care of in the next week.  I like wine.  I like cheese.  I will not cut them out of my diet as I am learning tonight.  I am celebrating my success with wine and the remainder of my spaghetti and meatball.  I feel full, sated. 
I found a book that I feel like a narcissist.  Harmony, by Carolyn Parkhurst.  I found her years ago when perusing books at a Barnes and Noble.  The dogs of Babel intrigued me and captured my attention for the length of the book.  Harmony, also appears to take me in.  It reminds me of what I am currently re-watching.  How great of a show was Parenthood?  Seriously!  I find myself emotionally overwhelmed.  The dynamics of family and things that happen in their lives. 
Back to Harmony....a couple has two daughters.  The older of which falls somewhere on the autism spectrum and has been kicked out of multiple schools.  Distraught, the couple try to figure out what is best for their daughters and opt to attend a family camp in the woods.  The perspective alternates between their younger daughter who does not have autism and the mother.  It's funny, honest, genuine.  I put it down to have dinner and blog.  
I appreciate how honest it is.  I am looking forward to how it concludes.  I requested additional books that I plan on reading the next few weeks.  I feel like this is my summer of reading.  And self care.  Did I mention my thai massage today?  Or that I went to a matinee?  I was disappointed in Beatriz at Dinner. They could have done so much more.  It was like an amuse bouche with no finish. Most of what you see in the trailers are key moments.  There was no conclusion.  It just ended. 
Very simplified synopsis, I know.  I don't feel like putting any effort into it.  It was dismal. 
I did see a preview for the Big Sick. I am a big fan of Holly Hunter and Ray Romano.  I think this film is going to be great. 
I am done.  I need to return to my book.  It is that amusing!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

post 108 salutations

Done.  Completed.  Wow!  108 salutations attempted and completed.  I knew that this was something that I wanted to do after the first time I heard about it in Phoenix.  One of the instructors had live music to accompany the greeting of the solstice.  I wanted to attend but work always stood in the way. 
This year, I decided to do it at my house.  I had increments of 10 mapped out near me to keep on my target.  I knew that it would be challenging to remember where I was in the sequence without some assistance.  My mind tends to wander and I lose track of were I am.
I understand more and more the importance of being present while performing this task. The first ten felt good and I began to get in a rhythm.  Around forty, I started confusing which number I was on.  I tried to think of how many more and that also confused me.  I realized that I needed to stay on the number I was doing to make it easier.  Almost meditate on the number and the breathing.  I kept thinking I would want to stop jumping forward once I felt tired.  Then, I was determined to finish all of them by jumping forward.  Around 81, I think, I completed the best jump forward and time-wise, I was doing well. I didn't want to lose my momentum for fear of wanting to stop.  Actually needing to stop.
94, I started slowing down.  My arms were wobbly and I could tell I was tired.  I could tell that I was ready to stop.  But then, I thought, there is only fourteen more.  I can do this.  I had music playing the entire time which helped and hindered a few times.  I didn't like a particular song and so I would struggle to continue through it.  Breathing helped and knowing that I set out to do it and I did.  I had positive thoughts propelling me through the 40's, 50's 60's....then I turned on myself in the 90's. I could tell that I wanted to stop and the negative thoughts creeped in.  I managed to finish in spite of my negative thoughts.
My arms will be mush for a few days, I think.  I am going to a Barre class in a bit and that should be interesting.  I don't know how much I am going to want to do free weights of push-ups if they are required.  Maybe just core strengthening or cardio.  That would be a nice change.
The salutations were challenging and I believe in a classroom setting, the energy would be incredible.  I had candles lit and felt some radiating energy at the end.  I fell into the corpse pose and didn't want to get up.  I could have remained in the position for an hour due to the exhaustion.  I know that I should rest and chose to eat some yogurt to help the recovery process begin.  I don't want to be too annoying with this food thing.  I don't want to create an obsessive behavior over what I am and am not eating.  Small changes will help. That is what I want to focus on. 
It feels great to be making this decision on my own.  Instead of traveling, nonstop, I will remain in town to build a better base for my health.  Consistency is key.  Of course, in August I will head to Washington State.  Maybe another trip to Santa Fe.  Or I always try to visit AZ in July.  Maybe I could push it back a few months.  I love the shopping, yoga and friend factor.
All these things I thought about after the salutations.  That and I could be doing 50 a week in my practice.  I wonder how quickly I could do the 108 salutations if I had a base of 50 salutations or more a week.  Maybe for the winter I will address that issue.
Enjoy your day! I am off to get some coffee before Barre class.

attempting 108 salutations

This will be an interesting feat.  Attempting to greet the summer solstice with 108 salutations on my own.  I had asked Danielle to join me.  Her response, it's on the 20th.  I have seen a bunch of studios and fellow teachers offering classes around the solstice yesterday and this weekend.  I figured that I would join in.  I am curious about whether or not I will accurately keep count.  I prepped myself with notecards in increments of ten to keep me on track as much as I can.  We shall see.  I figure, if nothing else, my arms will benefit from the 108 pushups that I am about to endeavor on.  Then there is a Barre class at 11:30.  I don't know how much I will love the arm sequence in the class.
It has been nice to focus on things that are good for me.  I look at the personal training as a substitution for bodywork that I like to receive.  Massages, pedicures, facials--things in that realm.  In order to fully make it work, I do need to change some of my habits.  Make time to do more fitness and alter some of eating preferences.  It is doable and necessary. 
I want to figure out my next trip too.  I know that I will be heading east to Kansas in November to celebrate my sister's wedding and Puerto Rico for another friend's wedding in October.  Ironically, they are a week apart.  I know that my work schedule will enable me the time off as long as I am willing to help others out in the meantime.  Of course, I am and I will.  It will all work out.  Maybe a return to Santa Fe is something to think about in August or September.  I would love to attend Wine and Chile, again.  Always a great festival to check out.  Plus, it is near my birthday which is another reason to celebrate with travel.  My friend, Jean, wants me to visit Spokane in August which I am waiting to see if I can manage this.  I have a colleague that may also be out of town on a few of those shifts.  I think it is manageable for both of us to be gone.  I am still trying to figure it out.  I would love to visit Jean and help her out with their race car event.  Something that I have never done and why not?  Could be epic fun and another great experience with Jean.  She joined me last year in Oregon to attend my niece's graduation.  Talk about the full family experience. 
I'm off to celebrate the solstice.  I will hopefully update after this task is complete!

Friday, June 16, 2017

consultation revealed

I met with the trainer this morning.  Scared, sure.  I slept semi-poorly.  Dreaming of being on a treadmill to test my health and it being never ending.  I have run in the past but never been a fan of that particular equipment.  The last thing I wanted was to meet the trainer and assess my health on a treadmill.  Talk about a nightmare!
I didn't know how she would tackle my inquiry.  I wore tennis shoes, prepared, to have a physical training. I had emailed a few times and tried to be explicit and honest with my diet and wine intake.  I think I still fudged a little bit on the wine accuracy.
At any rate, after meeting with Courtney, I am hopeful.  I know that I will be able to firm up and create a long term healthy life style.  Being on my feet, daily; walking to work, and attending barre and yoga classes helps keep me on track.  I am thankful that I enjoy doing these things.  I would love to add more yoga into my weekly regime.  I have been teaching at home which I enjoy and am learning to love. I want to expand my practice to others.  In the meantime, I will continue to attend, sporadically, at my gym.  I have found a few instructors that are adequate.  There is a summer solstice class being offered tomorrow.  However, the instructor is not my brand and I do not want to go and be agitated the entire class.  I think I will attempt my own 108 salutations in my home.
I need to tackle the food factor as the exercise is already there.  Or mostly there.  I am happy to finally confront this head on.  I was pleased to find out that my lean body mass is good but dismayed to find out about my overall body mass.  I can work on it and improve.  I thought I was in a better place.  Oh, the things we tend to tell ourselves to justify decisions.  Yesterday, for example, I met two of my friends for lunch and happy hour.  Wine was included and snacks.  Not terrible choices but more wine than was necessary. The saving grace was that I opted out of purchasing more wine to have as a night cap.  In the past, I definitely would have searched out more wine.  Knowing that I was meeting with the trainer this morning made that decision easy.
Since we didn't actually do any training today, I am returning to the studio to attend a yoga class. The instructor makes good adjustments and I like seeing what is being offered out there.  I attended a class a few weeks ago where the instructor attempted a mandala.  I love this way to maneuver around the mat.  However, she only did the right side.  I kept waiting to balance and do the left side.  She didn't.  I think she forgot and they majority of people in the class were unaware of it.  Mandalas are not taught often in Denver.  I incorporate it into my flow, frequently.  I think it is an amazing way to sequence.
I am hopeful to increase my people that I practice with and practice earlier on days I work. I want to be healthy.  I also consider the training as a replacement for body work.  I can purchase these sessions instead of going to lunch, getting a massage or some other body improvement I tend to add to my weekly regime.  I will not cut out wine or wine lunches.  I will just be more mindful of when I do it.  Translation, not every day....not that was ever an issue. I do work. 
So, some changes and we will see how it goes.  I might check out a matinee, too. 
Next week, I will meet with Courtney again and tackle TRX while tracking my food.  It will be interesting!  Until then, cheers!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

yoga and other concerns

The summer solstice is approaching.  I was scrolling through my social media feed and saw that some of my friends are posting about 108 sun salutations.  When I lived in Phoenix, several of the studios that I attended offered a class to greet the summer solstice by doing 108 sun salutations.  I was unable to do this class due to work and when the class was typically offered.  My friend that posted the reference to the summer solstice, presently, mentioned the class being offered on Friday.  Seemed a little surprising.  I believed that the class was offered on the day or as close to the day as possible.  At any rate, it inspired me to consider doing my own type of ceremony at my house.  I could sage smudge my house and attempt this physical feat of 108 chatarangas.  It would definitely increase my ability to do pushups, haha.  So, there is that.
Plus, it must have meditative qualities.  I should look into it.  I wonder if they hold the down dog for five breaths of just knock them out.  It is do-able either way.  Probably a little more conducive with the breaths in the resting position.  My favorite Barre instructor recently quit which frees up my Saturday morning workout sessions.  I will miss Shannon and her playlist!  However, I think, this week the sun salutations will be the way to go. Release some energy and bring on the new season.  I taught yoga yesterday, donation based.  I have been trading yoga for experience and spending time with friends.  Translation, I would be treated to lunch and drinks in exchange for my time.  I'm not going to lie....this is a great arrangement.  However, I want to step it up and hold myself accountable to being certified.  I am now offering classes donation based.  The class went well.  I had been feeling out some new sequences and wanted to test them on others.  Success.  Or so it would seem.  Danielle is returning on Thursday for another session and I want to change up the flow.  Maybe throw in more pushups, pre-chataranga to build heat as opposed to doing three sun A's and then three sun B's.  If Matt joins us, I will do the same sequence that I constructed yesterday to see how it feels to him.  He is also honest in his critiques and feed back.  I appreciate that tremendously. 
I can tell that I would benefit from a pure night of sleep.  More than 5-6 hours.  Knowing that I work at 9:15 am is inspiring me to wake up early, do some yoga and walk to work.  I had a break between 3:30 and 4:30 yesterday and realized how hot it is during that time of day.  I had been walking to work for the night shift as of late.  However, knowing how hot is and can be, I think I will make use of my uber rides.  I don't like arriving all sweaty and basically in need of a shower. 
Tomorrow, I will flow with Danielle, maybe Matt.  I would like to test out a few ideas before trying them out.  I am increasing my focus on the shoulder and stretching it.  Recently, I have been incorporating more hip stretching and eventually will tackle the splits.  This is probably my least favorite posture available.  I need to learn how to cue it properly.  Since I do not like, I rarely do it.  I become irritated in classes that focus on it in their classes. I realize that it probably is something that I would benefit from as it challenges my limits.
Brief side note.....the more I walk to work I become aware of the terrible driving in Denver.  People do not pay attention to pedestrians which is frustrating.  I have almost been hit multiple times due to this inattentive and erratic driving.  People rolling through stop signs or stopping past the cross walk.  I learned my lesson walking behind a vehicle one day which I refuse to do.  This guy almost backed into me.  His response--you have eyes.  I would have loved to see him explain to his insurance adjustor why he hit a pedestrian, cyclist or car behind him.  He was a complete jackass!  I like walking up 14th as it is the most shaded route but there are many stop signs where people are aggressive and unaware of the pedestrian.  16th Street is another option and I take it frequently.  Less shade, though.  17th Street is similar to 14th--lots of people do not look both directions before trying to cross it or turn on it.  It can be annoying to walk on as a result.  I only want people to pay attention.  I see many people walking or cycling around Denver.  Just take an extra second to look both ways before accelerating across a street or through a stop sign.
I am off to start my day.  Cheers!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Quick trip enchanted

Lovely few days off  and exploring Santa Fe.  My drive down was quick and easy.  I did encounter a little bit of construction once I entered New Mexico which was irritating.  Brief, though.  I drove straight to La Choza to meet Lawrence for lunch.  We had texted back and forth about where to meet and it seemed like the best spot.  Good parking and I love the silver coins.  Plus, who can pass up chips and salsa? 
Afterwards, I checked into my airbnb and signed up for a Barre class. There is a studio that I discovered after moving away.  If only, I had known about Temple and Tribe while living in Santa Fe!  It is wonderful and I always am challenged by the classes.  I prefer the TRX inspired classes with the owner.  The Barre instructor is okay.  I am not in love with her music selection nor that fact that she doesn't cue how long we will be performing a certain move.  I like a little more guidance and direction.  I think I relied on how my instructor in Denver set up her classes--regimented and with amazing upbeat *tempo* music.  I am all for hip hop in these classes as long as the rhythm is fast.  I am grateful that I attended the class still.
I stopped by a market to pick up wine and then take-out from a local eatery.  The rental had a great outdoor seating area where I could watch the sunset while drinking wine and enjoying my salad.  Seemed kismet.  As there was no t.v. to distract myself, I read.  I had brought a few books with me that were almost finished.  I was more intrigued by the selection I found at the house.  There were multiple books on revolution and Che.  I found a fiction novel about a Dominican that enticed me.  I spent the next day trying to finish it instead of taking it with me.  I did consider that as I left my books to add to their collection.  I resisted the urge to take it with me.  I figure I will find it in Denver at the library or a book store. 
I relaxed, reflected and enjoyed.  Melody picked me up early on Friday for a morning soak at Ojo Caliente.  This spa inspired my entire trip.  It is the perfect way to spend a day in New Mexico.  They are continuing to update and improve their pools which I appreciate.  After a thorough soak at Ojo, we returned to Santa Fe and met Libby for lunch.  Libby is my friend from Santa Fe that I met while living in Phoenix.  We both ended up in New Mexico about four months between each other.  Her brother had been living there and I wanted to try it out myself.  Libby has a small daughter, Vivian, who is about 18 months.  I met her, initially, when she was 3 months, I think.  So, we returned to La Choza as it seemed more kid friendly than some of the other options.  Plus, I rarely pass up chips and salsa and silver coin margaritas.  Successful lunch and catch up session.  Melody and Libby met at my going away party and so it was an easy lunch to maneuver. 
Instead of arranging all of my time around eating and drinks, I returned to my rental and took a nap. I read more of my book and then headed to the consignment stores that I like.  Jackpot!  I bought seven new tops and a dress.  I checked out the store for shorts and managed to get distracted by the selection of tops.  The short selection was minimal and geared more towards women who enjoy wearing knee length shorts.  Yuck!  I am still not interested in sporting what I consider PTA mom attire.  Not yet.
Melody, Clayton and I met for dinner at DFG, another local eatery.  My friend, Lawrence, works there one night at week.  We met while working together and he is a great conversationalist.  The food is farm to table driven and always delicious.  I especially enjoyed the kale salad with seasonal vegetables. 
The next morning, I woke up at 5:30.  Drank some coffee, cleaned up my glassware, tidied and departed the airbnb.  I stopped by the farmer's market for a breakfast burrito and goods.  I wanted tomatoes and cucumbers which are not in season there yet.  Instead, I found sage, beets and honey.  There were other greens that looked amazing but I didn't have a cooler and I didn't want them to wilt in my car.  I had remembered that I should bring my cooler when I dined at La Choza.  I enjoy their green chile, immensely, and thought about bringing some back to Denver for me and the Warrior Prince.  No cooler=no chile. 
I roasted the beets yesterday and they are incredible.  I should have purchased more.  I bought a bunch (four) for $3.50.  Muy barato, haha.  All, in all, a much needed break and one in which I enjoyed.  Less time out and more time reflecting on life and reading.  A way to decompress or detach from technology, too.  I loved it!
I hope to return in a few months to soak at Ojo and check out the new restaurants in Santa Fe.  There is a taco place, local brew spot and Mexican restaurant that all looked interesting.  If only, I had had one more day.  I wanted to see Teo, too.  She had her baby on the 2nd and so I figured she would be overwhelmed with adjusting and recovering to her new role as a mom.  Next visit for sure.  I told her we would have to meet for silver coins.
Until next time....cheers!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Enchanted times ahead

I try to go somewhere once a month.  For the most part, it has worked.  In January, I visited Colombia and got my first passport stamp of 2017.  In February, I checked out the food scene in Los Angeles with Shari and celebrated life.  March brought a road trip to Santa Fe with the Warrior Prince.  His first time to Ojo Caliente and that awesomeness.  In April I went to Palm Springs with Sara Jo to check out the high desert and Joshua Tree.  May, I returned to Chicago with Maghan to do another foodie centered trip.  Basically, amazing and I am excited for my next trip to that city. 
I have been able to manage my work schedule in a way that I can explore other cities.  I love being able to do this.  I enjoy the planning involved as well as seeking out friends to arrange lunches, happy hours or dinner.  It's part of my life and I love it.
This month, I am driving down to Santa Fe since I have limited time off. I can manage a two and a half day road trip by going to Santa Fe.  It is a little oasis for me.  Actually, it always has been. When I lived there, I did not view it that way.  Instead, Denver was my escape place.  Now, being in Denver again or as I like to think of it, home, going to Santa Fe has returned to the mini mecca where I go to reflect, rejuvenate, explore.  From living there, I have multiple friends to spend time with and many hangouts to revisit.  I am staying near the Baca district which will put me walking distance to two of my favorite local spots.  I see a breakfast burrito in my future. 
That and green chile.  I could bathe in green chile.  It is that good.  I might bring some back to Denver as well.  Of course, there is Ojo Caliente where I will soak and steam.  That is the main draw of the trip.  I spoke to Melody about joining me for a weekday soak.  Thankfully, it worked out with her schedule.  That is the only concrete thing that I will do.  Otherwise, I will see a few friends and check out the new museums and restaurants.  My friend, Teo, had a baby four days ago.  Initially while planning the trip, I thought I would be able to see her and get a pedicure.  I wanted to treat her to some self care for her baby shower.  I tend to want to treat the mom rather than the kid.  I did the same thing for the Goddess.  I bought Lindsay a massage for her last baby sprinkle.  So, Teo is probably out due to the fact she just gave birth.  It would be nice to see her but I do not want to intrude on her during this time.  I can meet her son at a later date. 
I considered a barre class or yoga, too.  Truly depends on if I meet friends for happy hour or not on Thursday.  However, there is a studio that is wonderful--great music, workouts and energy.  I wish we had a studio like that here.  I did this TRX class that kicked my booty and inspired me to seek out studios in Denver that offer TRX.  I believe, I have found a trainer here that can lead me into that resistance training.  I digress.
I have many options in Santa Fe.  Eating, friends, exercise....I wish I had one more day.  I know that I will head down again this year.  It is too easy to make happen and I love it!  I am still thinking about next month and where to go.  I have college friends meeting in Kansas to celebrate a classmate's life.  It would be nice to see them and honor this man's life.  My cousin in getting married in Colorado on that same day.  I think I will be in Denver to celebrate with Theresa. If I went to Kansas, I would want additional days to spend with Emma and Mason, my niece and nephew.  I would not be able to do a quick two day trip there.
Plus, I will be in Kansas in November.  One trip a year is doable.  My little sister is getting married and so we are all returning to celebrate with her.  I will have loads of family time then.
I should get ready to greet the day.  I walked to work yesterday and see that happening today.  Something about sunshine, listening to music and seeing the city.  Such a great way to enjoy the morning.  Cheers!

Friday, June 2, 2017

finally making some changes

I did it.  I finally contacted a personal trainer.  I have been thinking about it for almost a year.  I think after my friend, Brie, said she had hired one prior to her wedding.  Actually, a couple of years ago I met two women in Santa Fe who were vacationing there.  They were in amazing shape and told me that they were each 55.  I was shocked.  Truly, they looked stunning--fit, healthy and able to eat whatever they wanted. 
I asked what their secret was to appearing so youthful.  One of them told me that when she turned 35 years old, she made a decision to get a personal trainer and has been working out with her person  since then. 
I think that stayed with me.  The decision to make a life style change to fully enjoy life.  That, coupled with Brie's admission to hiring one, motivated me to consider it.  I have been talking about it with friends and finally, inquired about it at the gym I frequent.  I saw the TRX bands and that is what finally prompted me.  I have looked at other studios that incorporate TRX classes into their regime.  I like the resistance training and have been trying to find a studio to take a class. I want to do this training with good music, of course!  So, I asked the front desk girl to give me the one trainer that I know and have taken classes with at the gym.  However, Valerie recently had a baby and so I didn't know how much she was interested in training new clients.  I asked the girl if she could suggest someone to seek out.  She mentioned two trainers that use TRX to some degree in their sessions.  One of the trainers always uses it and so I asked for her information.  After a few back and forth calls, we finally spoke.  I was honest in how often I work out and that I do walk to work often.  We touched on my diet which should be interesting.  She will email me a list of questions that she wants me to be honest about.  That is always the quandary.  Of course, honesty benefits me.  She can put together a true workout schedule for me to achieve my goals.  I haven't yet mentioned those.  I am interested in maintenance and strength building.  I could use more cardio.  I think I have plateaued in my Barre classes. Another reason I am seeking out a trainer.  I want to be held accountable.
Back to the honesty....should I tell her about the amount of wine I am capable of drinking?  Or be evasive?  I do take days off from drinking wine and other spirits, sometimes.  I am meeting with her in a few weeks so I can tweak my diet in the meantime.  I call it preemptive cheating.  Or trying to make myself look a little better, haha.
I know that it is in my best interest to fully disclose my habits drinking wine and otherwise.  It will only bite me in the ass in the end.  In the meantime, I can continue to attend Barre and yoga classes. I thought about relying on astanga classes in my house to slim down.  I know this is a great workout.  I know that if I truly practiced that sequence six days a week for the hour and half required, I would feel better and look better.  I still might do yoga in the meantime.
I have a road trip to Santa Fe next week which delayed my meeting with the trainer.  I wanted to go to Ojo Caliente and visit friends. There is a chance that I can attend a TRX class while there.  And there is the green chile factor.  I love it!
So, I am making changes.  I made some statement to my trainer about metabolism decline based on age.  She said it is a myth. I can stop blaming my age for the slowdown, haha.  Of course, I hated mentioning my age.  Instead, I can start making changes to increase my health and fitness.  It's time.  I thought about signing up for a marathon, actually, a half is more my speed.  I am uninspired to go running though.  Seems like a waste and that I should focus on something else instead.  If the Goddess was able to run with me once a week, well, then, it might be different.  I am meeting her tonight.  It's been a little overdue for a visit with her and I have not seen her boys since the Super bowl. 
Enjoy your day!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

more about the recent vacay

Chicago is delightful.  I could go on and on....only hope to return and explore more of the city.  Til then, I can reflect on the last trip.  There was many bars, restaurants and some walking involved.  We did manage to avoid running along Lakeshore Drive.  Truly, I thought that would happen.  Maybe not for me but I believed Maghan would do it.  There was an option of riding bikes too.  There was a stash of bikes about two blocks from the airbnb we could utilize if we had been more interested.  The weather sorted us out--two rainy, cooler days.  Maybe next time.
I had yoga in my thoughts and a plan to achieve it.  I know a few instructors that live there and knew I would experience a killer class if I found one that worked for my schedule.  I wanted a morning class, mid morning, preferably.  I could uber to it and return to start the day.  I found a studio and had every intention of going.  I woke up on Wednesday morning, hungover.  Still, determined to attend Gina's class.  I showered and mentally prepared to head out.  I rechecked the schedule and found that Gina was no longer teaching the 9 am slot.  Crap!  I looked at other options to fill the following days.  Somehow, she was not teaching at any of the studios that she works for.  I could attend another instructor's class only Amber teaches predominantly in the evenings.  That wouldn't work.  I knew that I would be day drinking and barhopping.  Attending an afternoon class would inhibit my exploration of the city.
The yoga appeal decreased.  I wanted to go but spending $25 to drop in to a class where I didn't know the instructor was not something I wanted to do.  Honestly, I could have researched more and looked into a Barre class (another obsession of mine).  Perhaps next trip.  Instead, I told myself that there would be walking involved and I could throw in extra pushups at the rental to cover the skipping of yoga.  I think I managed 10 more pushups....on one of the days.
I was vacationing.  I didn't want to focus on my lack of exercise.  I wanted to enjoy the delights of the city. Back to that....tacos, ramen, wine bars, beer bars and an architecture tour.  That was a wonderful way to spend the afternoon.  Chicago is rich in history and I enjoyed listening to the history behind some of the buildings along the river.  I loved the modernist approach and seeing some of the multi-use buildings.  They offered beer and wine on the tour.  Not a great selection.  It would be nice if they improved that aspect of it.  The bartender was kind in pointing out that a glass was $8 and a bottle was $24 if I thought I would be returning to purchase two more glasses.  The bottle might be the way to go.  I declined.  We didn't want to overindulge and miss our dining that night.  And, the wine was crap (as earlier noted).
We tried to explore the city on foot and do some sightseeing.  I think next time we should visit in September.  Weather will still be good and maybe not as rainy. I wouldn't mind doing a bike tour to bar hop.  That could be entertaining and multi-useful.  Detoxing and retoxing.  Finding the balance of it all. 
I must prepare for my day off.  Reflexology, massage, barre class.  I am ready!