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!

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.