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 overs...so 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~