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!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Start of the trip

The trip to Chicago was inspired by food.  It seemed like we were never constantly checking out the restaurant and bar scene.  No complaints.  It is something that I love to do especially with the WP.  He, too, likes to explore the food scene in cities.
We took the rail into the city.  Our rental was in Hyde Park but we wanted a quick bite before heading there.  After considering the best way to the city, we decided to take the train to a station near the Michigan Mile and then taking an uber to the final destination.  On our last visit, we stumbled into this great restaurant in route to the Pig.  I was tired, hungry and irritated.  For whatever reason we have challenging gps in Chicago.  We were following instructions on his phone and ended up going the opposite direction.  Since we had an early flight, I was extremely irritated when we confused with the direction.  It seemed unnecessary to be taking a detour as all I wanted was some food and to relax.  Feel settled.  We were about 8 or 9 blocks from where we wanted to be and so I insisted on stopping somewhere.  This restaurant appeared and we entered. Best choice we made.  Instantly I was calmed and had a beer in front of me.  We shared oysters and fries, I think, a year ago. 
At any rate, this is where we began our journey of the city.  A sour beer, some mussels and a beet and mango salad.  Perfect.  Just enough sustenance to entice our palettes and be sated til supper.  Our rental was about a ten or fifteen minute drive from the downtown area.  Surrounded by parks, a college and a gorgeous view of the lake.  I'll be honest, I was seduced by the photos posted on the website of the rental.  It illustrated beautiful views of Lake Shore Drive.  Our communication with the owner was great and we were led to the apartment by one of her neighbors.  Our rental was on the 26th floor and immediately upon entry, I stared at the view below.  Amazing.
Then, I took in the remainder of the apartment.  Spartan, sterile and barely decorated.  Basically, there was a sofa, a bed that resembled a futon (thankfully was more comfortable than appearance) and a handful of hangers.  Instructions on the desk indicated a few bars/restaurants in the area as well as a market and if we wanted to do laundry we could use the machine in the basement.  There was a towel for each of us with a wash cloth and that was pretty much it.  A few plastic cups, take out silverware and a hot water container.  No coffee maker, cream, or other essentials that make a house a home.
As you can see, I was enamored with the view and chose to overlook the minimalistic surroundings and make up of the apartment.  I did read the reviews.  None of them mentioned how Spartan the stay would be.
Regardless, we made do.  I stocked the place with fruits, juices, hot tea and wine.  I knew there would be some of that to be drank in the future. I also bought chips and salsa.  I am such a creature of habit, haha. I think I opened the chips and that is it.
That night, we met our friend at the Pig for dinner.  I told the WP that it would be busy as it tends to be.  We had about a 40 minute wait before being seated.  The meal was fine.  Good, not great.  Afterwards, we talked about how it was a little disappointing in comparison to the last two experiences.  Then, thought about how we had ordered wrong.  We were not true to what we truly enjoy.  We tried to accommodate his friend.  Of course, we knew there would be another meal there at some point where we could give it another go.  We did.  It was great! 
I love returning to a city and finding new spots.  Seems serendipitous.  On the second day of the foodie tour, we headed to Wicker Park for tacos.  There was a list of suggestions that was an incredible resource provided by Maghan's friend.  Thirty or 35 things to do in Chicago.  Meaning see, eat, experience, drink.  We wanted tacos as I was a touch hungover and I can survive on chips and salsa.  The place was cute with a great vibe.  We started with chips and guacamole and sampled some of their tacos.  The tacos were okay.  I have definitely had better and I was most excited about the pastor taco which was probably my least favorite.  The fish taco was quite good, surprisingly. 
We had a free day and so we wanted to make the most of it.  Maybe try some ramen or the amaro bar.  In the meantime, we wanted to walk or see a museum.  Navy Pier was out as well as the zoo and history museum.  There is an abandoned rail line that has been converted into a scenic/paved hike in the city.  An urban tour.  Thinking that would be different we headed out to follow gps.  Just to give some insight as to the zaniness of the gps, my phone thought I was still in Denver.  Useless.
Our navigation was off and we ended up, circling around the taco place and eventually extending it out further to a larger circle.  Frustrated we continued on in the direction we thought was correct.  When we finally found it, it started sprinkling.  Still we were determined to walk this path until the rain became too much.  We veered off, back into Wicker Park and tried to find a bar we had went to last year.  Beer inspired and a neighborhood joint.  Following the gps route, we ended up getting drenched and heading the wrong way.  At which point, we abandoned our original plan and stumbled into a wine bar.  Perfection.
We could open a wine, drink it there and they were waiving the corkage fees that particular day.  It was the best find.  They had a lovely selection of old world and new world wines.  It was warm and comfortable to drink some great juice on a rainy afternoon.  I charged my phone and we considered dinner options.  The ramen place was byob which also seemed serendipitous.  In a wine shop, with a  great selection of wines and access to choosing a bottle for the night.  Everything fell into place in spite of being lost in Wicker Park and the rain that overwhelmed us and limited our options of hiking.  Last time, we went to the art institute.  Sure, we could have returned.  Or done something different which felt more appropriate.
I will conclude this for now.  I have a full day to prepare for...the beginning of our trip was solid and great!

Saturday, May 6, 2017

upcoming travel

Return to the windy city and I cannot wait!  It will be my fifth or sixth trip.  I have sort of lost track of how many times I have had the opportunity to explore. My first trip was 2007 in January.  I overlooked the weather and made the best of the experience.  Unfortunately my travel companion was not a great partner.  We separated after the first stretch of the trip. He headed to the suburbs and I sought solace in another hotel in the city.  We did manage to fly back to Denver without too much difficulty.  I knew that Sam and I would never recover from that trip. He had motives that I did not agree with nor know about.
The next trip, I visited in August.  I had more opportunity to explore as the weather was agreeable.  I dined at Tru with a 19 yr-old intern.  I felt like Mrs. Robinson while enjoying a 9 course meal with another Sam, ironically.  This kid was conflicted on whether he wanted to be a musician or pursue a career in the culinary arts.  I listened to the quandary and had an epic meal.
I signed up for a 10k a few years ago with Sara Jo.  Initially, the Goddess was going to accompany us.  It was her idea to run that particular race and weekend.  We could attend a Cub's game.  All of it changed when she found out she was pregnant.  Sara Jo and I committed to the trip and made it a culinary experience.  I managed to score a reservation at Trotter's six weeks before it closed.  I felt very fortunate to have dined there.
I have yet to attend a game at Wrigley Field.  That will continue to evade me as the Cub's are heading to Denver. Irony ensues.  I would love to attend a game but every trip to Chicago is more food focused.  I enjoy experiencing the cuisine and am looking forward to this trip as well.

There will be a return to the pig.  Last trip in October we dined there twice.  It was that good! This colorful dish was as delicious as appetizing.  I still think of how amazing the stuffed squid was.  We will dine there twice--when we arrive and before we depart. 
I think we will do the architecture tour, signature room during the day (last time we saw it at night.  It is such a different view.  I want Maghan to see it during the day), lots of food and perhaps a yoga class. I am still figuring out if and when I can make that happen.  I know two girls that I admire in the teaching realm that live in Chicago.  One of them,I met, in New Zealand in 2008.  She has been living in Chicago off and off since 2009.  I experienced Amber's class in Denver in 201.  The other girl I met in Phoenix.  Gina is a sequencing queen.  I have not remained in close contact with her but I know she is living in Chicago and teaching at a few different studios.  I suppose attending her class will remind me of the yoga community in AZ.  I would enjoy that immensely. 
Mostly I need to figure out the distance between where we are staying and where the studio is.  I know that there is a class that would fit into our schedule on Wednesday.  I booked a spa treatment at a Russian spa.  I am a huge fan of the Banya treatment.  I discovered this service while living in Denver.  Unfortunately, I no longer support that spa which is another long story.
So, Chicago next week.  Lots of food, some sight seeing and yoga or perhaps a run along Lakeshore Drive.  It will be lovely!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

days off

Allergies that are ongoing and never going to stop!  Or so it seems.  It feels as if they just kicked up in the last few minutes.  Seriously, I am over it.  I am ready to be able to breathe and see without taking an allergy pill.  I tried to stop taking them when I felt better and that was a huge mistake. They came back and almost knocked me out.  I wonder when or if they will stop.  I am ready!
I am relaxing the next few days since I have the time off.  I am sure ironing will be involved at some point, grocery shopping, reading and laundry.  I have a wine lunch arranged tomorrow with Danielle, my old boss from Santa Fe.  She is considering a relocation to Denver and is up here house hunting and familiarizing herself with the metro area.  I will gladly be a tour guide and introduce her to some of my favorite spots in Denver for lunch.  We are meeting in Cherry Creek.  I figure I can walk up, maybe get a pedicure (much needed) and stop by a couple consignment stores on my way back.  I want to utilize being outside by walking and trying to be healthy.  I haven't committed to running outside of thinking that I should.  I absolutely am ready to sign up for a race.  I walked through Cheesman Park earlier today which was incredibly nostalgic.  It is near my house and could make for a great route to run. 
Next week, I am heading to Chicago.  I don't want to overwhelm the itinerary with things I want to do and so I am trying to not account for every moment of the trip.  It is challenging.  There are so many places I want to eat in addition to wanting to go to a yoga class, do the architecture tour and a spa day.  There is a Russian spa that seems ideal and I am interested in checking it out.  I called today to arrange a platza for the WP and I.  The receptionist told me that only male therapists would be available.  It was fine with me but I knew that Maghan would not be happy about it.  I was trying to figure out the best way to tell him. 
In the meantime, I looked at the timeline and how it could best be improved.  I mentioned to Maghan my desire to go to the spa and if he believed Friday would be a suitable option.  We fly out late that night and could check our bags somewhere while enjoying the spa. I thought this might be the best use of time.  He agreed and so I called the spa back to move our appointments.  I had been trying to do too much.  There is a yoga class at 9 on Wednesday with a yogi I know from Phoenix.  I cannot wait to take her class.  I made the spa appointment for 11:30 which would have made it extremely difficult to make it to the yoga class. 
Thankfully, they agreed to move the appointments with the added bonus of having a male and female therapist available for the platza.  I didn't even have to tell him that he almost had no choice in this decision.  I am fine with therapists of either sex but acknowledge that the majority of men would prefer a female therapist to a male. 
I bought post card stamps so that I can send a post card to my niece, Emma.  In the past, if I don't have stamps readily available, I don't manage to send them.  I know that Emma enjoys receiving cards from my trips.
I should read more.  I have five or six books to occupy my time.  I cleaned my house and ate left domestic.  It is an odd feeling to be at home so often.  I have two more days of this.  All of my yoga students are either busy or out of town.  I do want to make an effort to teach more often.  It is a goal that I plan on achieving.
Days off can be productive.  I intend on seeing some friends, doing a few barre classes and reading.  Life is grand!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

surrounded by eucalyptus

My trip to Palm Springs was lovely.  There was the crystal bath meditation, beauty of the high desert and great food.  I remember during the meditation having the slight irritation at the back of my throat.  Prior to the healing beginning, it was advised to not snore or cough as the sounds would be amplified due to the structure of the building.  I did snore (a little before being tapped to wake up) and I struggled to contain the coughing.  I suppressed that urge by telling myself to not do it under any circumstance.  I could taste the incense in the back of my throat, I remember.
The change in weather started affecting me on Sunday night.  I remember waking up and being congested and needing to run to my bathroom to find some Kleenex.  On Monday, I chose to inhale salsa and green chile as a way to combat the congestion.  I went a little crazy with the salsa and almost immediately had acid reflux.  I am not a fan of this and so I bought tums to remedy the situation.  It helped or so I thought.  I still had the irritation in my throat.
On Tuesday, still congested, I drank some lemon water.  I felt okay and was mostly concerned with sleep during my 9 day work stretch.  On Wednesday, I went into work and could feel the cold coming on.  About 5 pm, the decline began.  Rapidly.  I went from normal speaking, to a lower grade and eventually no voice.  It was insane how quickly it happened.  I realized that I had not been hydrating properly which sped up my laryngitis.  Oh, there was a fire alarm on Monday night which I sat through.  It is one of the most intense fire alarms and for whatever reason instead of going outside for relief, I remained indoors.  My ears rang for quite some time after the alarm.  The reason I mention all of these factors--change in weather, fire alarm, acid reflux, little hydration, less sleep--I think, is how quickly I attained laryngitis.  And once it took hold of me, I had no voice or choice but to alter my diet.  Thankfully, I had cough drops at my house.  And lemons, hot tea and essential oils.  I could gargle eucalyptus salt water and rub eucalyptus oil on my chest.  I had a necklace from Shari that held cloth which would absorb essential oils which would emanate the eucalyptus all day.  I read up on laryngitis and found that apple cider vinegar was extremely useful, too.  I had no idea how much I would rely on apple cider vinegar until I felt relief.  I love the stuff.  Well, with honey and cayenne.  I found a thai restaurant that served this delicious hot and sour soup.  I also utilized garlic and ginger. I must say, I am incredibly hydrated now.
It sucks.  It is tiring to only hydrate and believe that you are sick.  Eventually, you must return to what is normal. For me, that includes wine.  I indulged in a hot toddy to relieve some of the irritation in my throat on Thursday and Friday.  It helped.  I've been sleeping more which further aids in my healing and returning to normal.  I feel better, I do.  I recognize that bathing in eucalyptus did, in fact, help me tremendously.  I was grateful for being introduced to essential oils and that I love those particular scents--eucalyptus, lavender and peppermint. 
I have the next few days off.  I will continue my healing crusade and introduce some wine back into my diet.  Danielle, my old boss from Santa Fe, is considering relocating to Denver.  She is apartment hunting the next few days.  We are planning on meeting up for a wine lunch on Thursday.  Then it is cinco so there will be a silver coin or 3 in my future, Friday.
Life is grand~

Sunday, April 23, 2017

mini vacay to Cali

Welcome to the Palm Springs airport.  I loved being greeted by a palm tree!  Great way to begin this adventure with Sara Jo.  I had been bugging her to do a girls' trip and wanted her to choose the destination.  Typically, I lead the cause and determine the details of the trips.  I wanted her to try this out. 
She chose Palm Springs since I had not been there and her brother lives there.  Seemed like a great way to achieve two goals--appease my desire for more trips and see her brother.  I had met Wes in 2006.  He has lived in Cali for the last 8 or 9 years. His girlfriend, Heather, and her daughter also live with him in the desert but in the high desert.  We would spend time in Palm Springs and in the high desert with Heather and Kay.  I knew that some family time would be involved and that we would also have time to explore the dining scene. 
We met Wes and walked around the downtown area after a quick lunch.  We discussed our options of the next few days.  I told Wes and Heather that I was up for anything as long as food and drink were involved.  They mentioned Joshua Tree and a music venue in the high desert that was worthwhile and something they would like to take us to.  Of course, when we booked the trip, we did not factor in Coachella or how busy things would be due to that music festival. 

Joshua Tree was awesome.  Many other people were touring the national park.  We chose a trail that led to water.  Gorgeous.  There was hieroglyphs and an easy trail to maneuver.  We stopped at a few other spots while driving around the park.  Toured the park that afternoon before returning to town for micheladas and chips and salsa.  There were limited dining options in their town.  We could choose between Chinese, greek or Mexican.  I can rarely turn down chips and salsa so it was an easy choice for me.  However, Kay really wanted Chinese and so we pondered that option.  Mexican won.  We stopped by a local market for street tacos before returning to their house
It was a lovely trip.  More family centered than I thought it to be and worked out well.  I saw cactus, became nostalgic for the desert and had some great food.  It was a quick trip.  Not too many options of flights on Saturday.  The latest return was 1:30 pm so we made the most of it.  Our final meal was at Spencer's.  Delicious.  One of my customers insisted that we should dine there.  Even went as for as giving me money to pay for our lunch.  Such a sweet guy!  He kept raving about the shrimp cocktail.  Of course, we had to try that.  It was all about the mustard sauce and gigantic shrimp.
Great quick trip and fun to watch the family dynamics. 
Upon returning to Denver, I am experiencing insane allergies and congestion.,  Something about the change of weather.  I woke up at 3 and was unable to return to sleep.  Super congested and irritated.
I will reflect more later.  It was a lovely much needed venture to California.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Saturday woes

As much as I love the colors of spring, the allergies, well, leave a lot to be desired.  I am going to have to buy more Claritin to keep evading them. I am not a fan of pills or medicating myself to avoid symptoms in my life.  Allergies cannot be left alone, though.
I considered a yoga class before my barre class regimen on Saturdays.  I like the instructor that is subbing the next month.  He is an ashtangi and I understand the sequence of his classes.  Plus, he encourages a yoga community by having the students talk to each other as well as do some adjustments in partner fashion which further aids in interaction and overall community.  The class that he is teaching is busy and the woman has a following.  I found this as I have encountered many of the people lingering around and blocking access to the studio for the barre class.  It's insane the amount of time these people take up, chatting, after class with this instructor.  They loiter in the studio and make it uncomfortable to enter and prepare for the barre class.  I managed to arrange my mat one day and was trying to hurry them along by helping them put props away when I watched two of them step on my mat.  I freaked out!  I despise when people walk on my mat.  I do not understand why people feel it is appropriate to walk on someone else's space.  It is sacrilege! 
So, I contemplated attending Mark's class.  I could support him and get a good class out of it and endure some of the people that I have found annoying in the past.  I know that Mark would call me out in his class.  He would want to involve me in his community developed class.  I opted to skip it.  I will focus on the Barre class.  My favorite instructor is in Palm Springs.  I hope that her sub ramps up the music. I like Maggie and I like her sequence.  I do not love her music selection.  Sometimes, it is passable.  Most times, it is sub par.  However, I want to go to a class and of all of the potential subs, I know that Maggie is the best.  I can overlook the music and sustain a great work out. 
I departed for the market to buy Claritin.  I stopped by another market to pick up a breakfast sandwich and returned home.  I parked my car and stepped out and twisted my ankle good.  It was nuts.  I stepped out of my car and somehow managed to completely jack up my foot.  I limped up the stairs and eventually evened out.  I still have no idea how I stepped down in such a way to create so much pain. 
I went to Barre class and managed to do the sequence of plies and squats.  I avoided the releve's as much as I could.  I did not want to further aggravate my foot.  There was a slight swelling, later, which I managed with some alleve and rest.  Work was interesting.  Mostly due to the onslaught of allergies.  Midway through my shift, I couldn't see.  I was struggling to not itch my eyes and see. Today, I will wear glasses and take some more allergy pills.  One of my customers actually gave me some Zyrtek.  It was funny! 
Day of rest in terms of physical activity.  I would love to attend a barre class.  I just don't have time for it today.  Work will consume the majority of my day.  And dealing with allergies.  Sounds fun, right?
Drink some bubbles and enjoy life!

Friday, April 14, 2017

days off and plans

I've been battling allergies for the last five weeks.  It started in my left eye only.  Itching, irritation...eventually not being able to wear contacts.  I bought an over the counter remedy to aid in my fighting the onslaught of allergies.  It helped as long as I was taking the allergy pill.  I ran out and have wanted to stop taking the pills.  Yet, I can feel the irritation moving into my right eye.  It's odd that it is a shift to my right eye now.  I know that I will need to buy more Claritin to stop the irritation.
I have had a few days off which enables errands, working out, shopping and planning more trips.  I have a mini vacay to Palm Springs next week with Sara Jo. Ironically, my Barre instructor and her husband are also in Palm Springs next week.  I might meet up with them for a drink while in the desert.  I asked Shannon where she will be working out while on vacation.  She responded that she will run, lift at their resort and use P90X.  I think I will do some yoga and maybe run.  I would like to return to running so that I can run along Lakeshore Drive while in Chicago next month.  Must start somewhere.  One step at a time, right?
I met Tiffany for lunch yesterday.  We met at a new restaurant that is whisky driven.  Huge selection of spirits with an emphasis on mixology.  Reminded me of my brief stint at the mixology bar in Santa Fe.  And completed by the bartender.  He was a mixologist.  Could speak the spirit talk and about their shrubs, handmade ice and cocktails; but, had little emphasis on the service or communication department.  I ordered a bottle of wine which he opened but did not chill and then never poured us more wine to drink.  It was disappointing in all honesty.  The food was okay.  Could have used a little seasoning but adequate. 
Afterwards, we met my friend, Janna and her mother.  Janna and I met while in Phoenix and hit it off talking about Denver and finding out that we both were from Kansas.  Both of us lived in the desert for a stint before returning to Denver.  Currently, she works across the street from my job and so I see her intermittently or when are schedules align as they did yesterday.  Her mom from Kansas was meeting her for the weekend and so we met Janna and her mom for happy hour.  Her mom lives in Manhattan and so I questioned where and that my sister lives in Manhattan as well.  We continued gabbing and her mom mentioned that she had heard of my sister who is an aestitician in Manhattan.   Had not received services from Jasmin but knew of her.  I thought that was cute and again, small world. As I continue to travel and meet people, I do find that my worlds collide in the most positive way.  I love that!
Today, I am hoping to attend a yoga class, clean my house and iron my work clothes.   Maybe meet the WP later for lunch. I am in desperate need of new running shoes and casual shoes.  I flirt with the return of plantar fasciitis on a daily basis due to my love of barre classes and beating up my calves.  If only I could pay more heed to my calves and foam rolling them. I do have a foam roller and another tool to aid my feet.  I need to add this to the regimen in the a.m. which includes coffee, brushing teeth and taking vitamins.  I cannot stop going to barre classes.  I won't.  Although, I do not enjoy plantar fasciitis.  It hurts and debilitates me and my ability to walk, work, enjoy life.  I should be more kind to my calves.
Yoga helps and inspires.  Off to greet the day!

Saturday, April 8, 2017

events and my love of carrot cake

 Running of the Greens.  I meant to post this after we did the event.  The older lady between my friends wanted to photo bomb the picture.  Didn't really work out that way.  She was funny.  She couldn't hear how loud she was.  I cannot remember her age but I think she was 74ish.  She wanted to photo bomb but didn't look at me when I was taking the picture.
That race was fun.  I sort of dreaded it since I had not been running for almost a year.  Still after we began I remembered how much I do, in fact, enjoy running.  Plus, after the race, they treated us to two beers at the Expo which was nice and necessary. 
Of course while running that event, my friends and I contemplated other races we could participate in.  A 10k is probably the best event in my opinion.  It is the ideal distance and time.  I enjoy half marathons but they require a little more of a commitment.  A full marathon is a beast which I do not know that I will ever take on again.  I have not yet performed a 5k and do not know if I ever will.  So, we considered other events this year.  I want to sign up for a half or a 10k to motivate me to begin another running regime. 
In the meantime, I discovered an event and have signed up for it.  The Lemon Climb is our next event.  The goddess and I are participating in a non running event.  Or, actually, we could try to run some of the flights of stairs.  I doubt we will run 43 flights of stairs.  I don't want to do it, haha!  We are fundraising as well.  This is a really great cause and I love how it evolved.  I love that a little girl came up with a lemon stand as a way to raise money to fight cancer.  Her determination and efforts created the lemon climb events which are held, annually, in cities around the U.S.

Running and events enable me to eat as much carrot cake as I want.  I found this last night while dining at Solera.  When Joshua asked us if we were interested in dessert, we said no.  Intuitively, he placed a menu in front of us and when we saw the carrot cake, the decision was made for us.  I don't remember carrot cake ever being offered there and so we had to sample it. 
It was good.  I prefer a little more frosting.  I liked the presentation and it was moist.  I don't love that word but it is appropriate it this case.  It was a great conclusion to our meal there. 
I am off to hit a Barre class (further way to combat the sugars I ingest).  I will not cut wine out of my diet.  Or carrot cake for that matter.  So, I invest time and energy into barre and yoga classes.  I am teaching the mini tomorrow at my house.  I am finding more instructors at my gym that I like.  Thankfully.  And they have offered more classes during the day which are inspiring me to attend more of the classes.  It's finally coming together!  Or, I suppose, I am making more of an effort to go to the gym.  I want to find TRX classes nearby my house.  That would be the ultimate workout.  More and more studios are offering these classes.  I took my first TRX class in Santa Fe.  I wish that studio was here.  I loved the energy, the music and it was a kick ass class!  I might venture down, again, to take another class at Temple and Tribe.  Epic workout.
Off to begin my day.  Cheers!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

friends and connections

Yesterday, I taught my sous chef yoga.  We have been practicing together for six weeks or thereabouts.  It is fun to work with him and see how his practice is growing.  A novice to yoga it's been inspiring me to work on my cues and language.  When I work with Brie or Matt, I can say the posture and they know what it is.  I do not need to cue them to get them where I would like.  So it is a nice to work with a mix of people with different levels of yoga experience.  And, working with Ernesto enables me to cue the headstand or incorporate some of the astanga postures into my flow.  I do enjoy that very much.
After our session, he treated me to brunch.  Fewer options are available during the week but we managed to enjoy some creole fare.  I was a little shocked that Ernesto opted to drink a Sazerac to start the brunch sequence.  I mean, that is fierce.  I chose a grapefruit mimosa.  Seemed more my speed and safer to start my day off.  I did laundry, took a nap, read my book before meeting Hung for some afternoon Pho.  My former manager and friend, he and I meet every few months to catch up and enjoy some Vietnamese food.  Eventually, we will move onto a banh mi but for now, traditionally, we find a different noodle shop in the metro area. Yesterday, it was perfect as it was rainy and an eat soup kind of day.  I enjoyed the pho but have had better in other restaurants.  I always look forward to my lunch dates with Hung. 
Speaking of Vietnam and 2011, I met Shari in Belize for our annual trip.  My flight arrived a day before hers and so I took the water taxi from Belize City to Caye Caulker.  The boat was jammed with other people also trying to get to the islands.  I started talking to these two couples and found out that they, too, were mid western and planning on spending 9 days in Belize.  I mentioned that Shari was meeting me and so they invited me to dinner that first night. 
Fast forward to now, I keep in touch with one of the couples--Jackie and Brian.  They visited me in Phoenix when I lived there.  They visited for spring training and met me for dinner.  Again, we had a pleasant time--great food, conversation and a few beers.  We are friends on facebook and so I see where they travel and likewise. 
Last year, I spent three weeks in Southeast Asia with Shari.  We toured northern Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.  I arranged travel through another friend of mine, Shana, since she had recently spent time in these countries.  From Shana's connections, I had a tuk tuk driver in Siem Reap and a place to stay in Hanoi.  And, Shari and I formed a friendship with a server we met in Hoi An.  Jackie contacted me last August inquiring about my Vietnam adventure.  I put her in touch with Luan and Bao, immediately, after she mentioned that she and her husband were heading to Vietnam for a vacation.  Thankfully they were able to meet Luan and Bao on facebook.  On Sunday, Jackie sent me a photo of her and Brian with Bao and his wife enjoying lunch in Hoi An.  It made me so happy to have been able to connect these amazing people.  And all due to random conversations and travel.  I love travel!
I look forward to hearing about their trip at some point in the near future.  Maybe they will visit me in Denver.  Or, maybe I will see them in Mexico sometime soon.  It was awesome!  I am off to celebrate another day off.  It is gloomy here.  Green chile sounds delicious or perhaps another bowl of Pho.....

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Hobbies and travel

Hobbies?  Anyone?  Any suggestions?
At one point, I did, in fact, know how to crochet.  I was ten or eleven but I could crochet a pot holder.  I learned to knit, too.  Well, sort of.  I never fully embraced that skill set.  Looking back, I wish I had paid more attention to some of these hobbies offered in 4H.  Crafting, creating art or gifts.  My mom has always cross stitched.  I did not have the patience for that one.  Too much detail and sitting.
I think I am considering a hobby or distraction after talking to my friend, Jan.  She went to some metal works class with some of our mutual friends.  It sounded fun and something different.  Of course, adult beverages were involved knowing her.  She made an outlet cover with some design.  Cute way to customize a room in a small way.  I would do it. 
I have been reading more.  It is an enjoyable hobby.  Can be done anywhere and is a great way to use a few hours up.  Coincides with my mid work schedule too.  It has been challenging to work the mid shift mostly because I do not have enough time to return home on my break.  I stay downtown and either grab lunch or run errands that I can do in the metro area.  Reading has been added to keep me busy during the break.  I either borrow books from the free libraries that are conveniently located in neighborhoods or buy used books. I alternate and contribute to the free library system myself.  I agreed to a gift exchange around the time of Christmas with some friends from Tucson.  I sent a book to some random guy--Love in the Time of Cholera--great book, I think.  I have not received a book from my string of people that agreed to do this.  Somewhat bummed since it is a neat idea and way to connect through books.  There is hope that I will eventually receive something. 
Until then, I continue to peruse the free neighborhood libraries.  And consider a new hobby to embark on.  Photography?  Home mec type of skills?  Metal fabrication?  Painting? 
In the physical sense, I feel a return to running.  I would like to sign up for a half marathon to motivate me to actually embark on running.  Maybe a fall trip.  I was talking to my sister yesterday and considering trips for the remainder of the year.  Seems my year is filling up quickly.  Palm Springs, Kansas, Aspen, Puerto Rico, Kansas, maybe Chicago and another return to Santa Fe and perhaps, D.C. or Texas.  I have been invited to three weddings this year.  Two are destination weddings.  For sure, I will go to Puerto Rico.  I wish that I could attend my friend's wedding in Tulum.  I just don't think I can swing it. I am considering if and I could take off from work and make it happen.  It's my old boss that I adore and am truly happy for his upcoming wedding.  I would love to share in the day with them in Tulum.  We will see.  He texted me last night to remind me of the event and gave me shit about basketball.  I received many texts last night about that game.  Tragic and difficult to watch.  Every time I was able to look up, we were throwing up a quick shot that did not complete the play or watching the score advance in the ducks favor.  I stopped watching as it was completely making me nuts! 
Heading to yoga to see what is out there.  Enjoy your day!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Adventure in New Mexico

The view from my airbnb in Santa Fe...gorgeous.  Such an enchanting sight and peaceful, serene, tranquil.  I had considered a trip earlier in March and chose to make it happen with three days off in a row.  Initially, I planned on going solo and then thought better of it.  I asked Maghan if he would like to join me and he did.  Last year, we had made a similar venture down to Santa Fe but our visit was cut short due to weather.  We hit snow both ways.  The first day we spent six hours in the same spot about 20 miles south of Denver.  Eventually, we were able to return to Denver after exhausting our options in Castle Rock.  We tried to acquire a hotel room but everything was booked.  It was brutal!
This time the weather was glorious.  Easy drive down with a stop in Rye for a quick lunch and beer.  I love this roadside cafĂ© that is an ideal spot to break up the drive.  Always great service and the beer selection is fine.  After the mini stop we continued into New Mexico and arrived in Santa Fe around 5 pm.  Found our rental for the next few days and settled in.  Translation, opened some bubbles and took in the view.  Delightful.
Dinner was spent at La Choza with friends.  I always manage to dine here on my visits.  If not once, then twice.  Always a treat and fun experience.  This time was no different.  Melody and Clayton joined us for a nice meal.  I met Melody in 2004 and we have remained friends from my annual visits and brief living in Santa Fe.  She celebrated my celebration in New Orleans last year, for example.  She is that type of friend--long lasting.  We sampled guacamole, pork tamales, enchilada and green chile.  That is, by far, the best.  I love the chile!  Oh, and the silver coins are a must while dining there, too.
Ojo Caliente was definitely in the cards this visit.  What a glorious way to spend a Thursday. 
We soaked, steamed and felt extremely rejuvenated.  Afterwards, we drank some wine on their restaurant porch and continued to relax.  I drove us back to Santa Fe before making reservations at a French spot.  Delicious.  The entire trip revolved around food, wine and relaxing.  Epic adventure!
It feels nice to be back and figuring out an upcoming adventure.  Seeing Aspen in my future along with Kansas and Puerto Rico.  My friends are getting married there later this year and my youngest sister is exchanging vows in Kansas.  It will be a great year of travel and food.  I may even return to making this more of a priority.  I have been getting distracted by little stuff.  I should be free flowing more here.  Hoping to make it happen.  Cheers!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

the last five days

Five days of clarity or no drinking wine.  I chose to take some time off before my trip to detox. And being totally honest--to look better in my bikini.  Heading to Cartagena next week and I know that I will be sporting a bikini and a sarong for a good portion of the trip.  Why wouldn't I?  Gorgeous weather, the beach and a cabana boy if all goes right.
In those five days, I have learned that I do enjoy cooking at my house, some recipes sound good but are not executed well and that whole foods changed their carrot cake.  I am super bummed about the last one.  I do not know why they would alter that recipe.  Yet, they did and it is a poor substitute for the original.
I have made roasted beets and potatoes.  Both of those turned out well.  I partnered the potatoes with store bought green chile.  I always crave chile when it is cold.  I guess Santa Fe did speak to me on many levels.  I dream about the chile there.  I attempted roasted eggplant which was a disaster.  I have pan fried it before which has worked.  This method did not work for me.  Granted it was sort of an afterthought.  I cut the eggplant in half, then quartered and threw salt on it with olive oil.  Some.  I definitely did not put any love into it. I put it on a roasting dish and forgot about it.  When I went to flip the eggplant I recognized my mistake.  It was a soggy mess.
Many salads, some homemade sandwiches and of course, roasted chicken.  I cheated and bought that too.  Overall, it has been a sleep induced week.  I've caught up on sleep, bought shoes and done more TRX classes. I am sad that the studio I found is closing after this month due to landlord wishes and tenant needs.  I have found that I really enjoy the resistance training and full body work out that ensues.  Unfortunately, I have not found many options in Denver to support my desire.  If only I had found the studio in Santa Fe.  I would be buff. 
I suppose I could find a trainer.  I think that is my next purchase of the year.  A healthy lifestyle change supported by exercise.  Must find a trainer that I respect and who will challenge me.  There are options at the gym I am a member of.  I haven't been inspired by what I have seen in that department.  My experience is limited so I could research it more to truly form an opinion.  There is a girl that I believe would push me to my limit.  However, she is on maternity leave for the next three months. 
I arranged a pedicure which is always a necessity in my life.  Fantastic calf massage.  That is why I like pedicures.  Not so much for the painted toes.  I prefer that massage work.  It is such a treat!
Matt and I did a yoga class together.  It feels more natural now.  The language, cadence and rhythm of the class.  Eventually, I should focus on teaching only and not practice alongside.  However, I do enjoy feeling how my flow works.  If the transition is forced or organic.  After our class, Matt told me it was his favorite.  I realized that I designed the class to reach a posture and incorporated a build up to that end which truly worked.  As always, I started with many sun As and sun B's.  I prefer this way to warm up the core and feel that it works the best.  I do appreciate my astanga background.  Maybe I will find a class while in Columbia. I think Cody would be interested too.
Heading to Barre with Shannon.  She is my favorite instructor.  Always a challenging sequence and great music.  I love it!
Outside of that, I do have a few more days of preparation before getting my stamp.  It is time!  I think I might be able to do one of two more this year.  Why not?
Til then, enjoy your day.  Make the most of it!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

more thoughts on resolutions and interesting cues

2017 brings more decisions about cooking at home.  I think back on the last year and consider how much money I spent on take-out, dining out, etc.  It's more convenient to pick up a salad then actually assemble it myself. 
Last night after work I went to a yoga class.  It was a new instructor for me and I didn't know what to expect.  Her credentials suggested that she was highly sought after in the metro area.  I'll admit.  I was excited.  I arrived ten minutes early and watched as the class began to fill up.  She had some music playing until the class began. She started class by speaking of intentions and how great it was to show up on your mat.  Normal.  All things that I have experienced and expected. 
She did point out the importance of breath and how that should be the focus of the class.  Clearly, I appreciated that as I have found fewer instructors, here, cueing breath and breathing.  If you aren't focusing on the breath in yoga, it is just an aroebics  class.  Breath is essential.
We do a few breath with movement exercises and then she moves on with modified chataranga.  At this point, I was like--wtf?  wtf is this modification?  It was a new one for me and one that I didn't particularly like.  I was hoping for more of vinyasa sequence with sun A's and sun B's.
As there was no music to distract me, I became more bored.  I was surprised at how many people were attending this class.  Actually liked her class.  I kept looking at my phone to see when the torture would be over.  She had interesting cues.  She referred to the breathing as yogic.  Seemed childlike to me and then my all-time favorite cue--bring your nipple to your thigh.
That completely stopped me.  Like the time I was in Siem Reap and the instructor said--relax.  relax your private
I reached out to my mentor last night to see if she had ever used that particular cue.  Her response said it all.   She laughed.  See I am not crazy when it comes to cueing and or recognizing inappropriate silly cues in classes.  Thankfully it ended and I made my way out of the studio.  Today, I will return to Barre classes and pray for upbeat music.
I did resolve to enjoy my kitchen more.  Use it.  Update some of my cookery and utilize my apartment.  I could invite friends over as opposed to dining out and being forced to endure bad service.  My last two experiences support that claim.  The first I had a snarky server.  I can overlook that as the food was great.  However, when her manager came over to open a bottle of bubbles and did not know the correct wine service, that was it.  I love wine service.  I love that aspect of dining even it is with a screw cap.  I still prefer the appropriate sequence.
So, yes, more dining at home.  With the holidays over, I have more friends available to entertain.  Perhaps after Columbia, I will make an effort to entertain once or twice a month.  Maybe more.  I do believe that I would enjoy using my space to have people over.
Off to run errands, stay warm and work out.  Columbia is in two weeks.  I cannot wait!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Happy 2017

Ringing in the new year in style....with some bubbly.  Best way to start off the year.   And thinking of how to maneuver it.  With kindness.
Yes, seems simple but it is the most honest way to start the year. I observed a lack of compassion and harsh judgment last night.  People make rash judgments without even knowing the other person they are tearing apart.  It made me sad and reaffirmed that I want to be kind.
My friend, Sharleen, got married last night in the Bahamas.  At one point this past year, I thought I would be able to attend.  I looked at flights and considered homestays.  Until I switched jobs and that no longer was an option.  I did contact Shar and convey my well wishes.  I met her in 2008 in Chile while on my six month venture.  I am sure that I have mentioned her multiple times on my blog.  I visited her and her friends in 2010 and then we went to Cuba in 2014.  She is a like minded travel junkie.  Kind, compassionate and gracious. I hope she visits me sometime in the States. 
Her photos looked pretty freaking amazing, too.  I saw a few from their day on social media.  Gorgeous!  I am hoping to research a little more of Columbia before departing in two weeks.  It would be nice to have some sort of game plan.  In my life, I have always been a little more aloof when it comes to concrete itineraries.  I buy tickets and go from there.  This time, it would be nice to have a little more structure.  It will be the first time I travel with Cody and so I don't know her particular style yet.  When I vacation with Shari, Sara Jo or the Goddess I know there will be great food and many drinks involved.  They all know that I prefer to day drink.  I think Cody will be a little more adventurous with night time activities.  She is a connector, too.
We will fly in and out of Bogota with a few days in Cartagena and Medellin.  If not both of those cities, at least, Cartagena for sure.  I have heard many great things of that city and who doesn't enjoy a little beach time? 
Speaking of travel....maybe another passport stamp will be in my future.  Europe keeps calling.  I have a friend in Morocco currently.  His posts inspire me to make the commitment to a European adventure this year as well.  Los Angeles will occur in February. Then, I have some free time to breathe or maybe head to the Valley for some yoga and a spring training game.  We will see.  I could be enchanted again.  I do so love visiting Santa Fe.
Or head to Oz to see my "cousin" Emma and nephew, Mason.  I am excited for the potential of travel this year.  My older sister is supposed to celebrate my birthday with me.   I want her to either travel to Denver or meet me in Las Vegas or Texas.  In Texas, we could see her bestie from childhood in Houston or maybe Austin.  I loved Austin the one time I visited.  I could definitely do another go there.  Check out new restaurants and see friends.  Maybe I could convince Michaela to meet me in San Francisco.  I have not visited that city in a while.  I always love it!
I want to make an effort to take better care of myself.  Hire a trainer.  I have been thinking about it for a few months.  I don't know if I will contract an independent trainer or consider one of the options from my gym.  I go back and forth with enjoying the gym and having a difficult time going.  I am not in love with the classes or quite a few of the instructors.  I miss the yoga scene in Phoenix for example.  Great music, challenging sequences and consistently great.  I should make the best of my situation here since I love being in Denver.  I will make an honest effort to find a studio that I enjoy. 
Returning to kindness....I think that is my best option for a resolution.  That goes hand in hand with compassion which I also find lacking in the current state of affairs.  Enjoy your day and whatever comes your way.  Smile and be fierce!