Monday, September 29, 2014

Much of Nothing

I make myself wait until the official first day of Fall to indulge in candy corn.  It is a love-hate relationship.  Because I will eat & eat (& eat) them, along with lightly salted peanuts, until I am sick!  I bought a bag Friday and am almost finished with it!  Sheesh!! 
The apartment is beginning to feel more homey.  I can't explain why, other than time.  We have almost "completed" two months of the 12-month lease!  Our sleep, however, is constantly disrupted.  We are at our wit's end with this issue, especially after finding out the guy upstairs is NOT a legal tenant!!  We will have to consider a realtor about February, so we can take our sweet time making a purchasing decision and not be rushed. 
I have only enjoyed ONE Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte.  I treated myself Wednesday morning before working at Halloween City. 
Today feels like Fall!!!  It shouldn't get above 75 degrees, but it has brought some rain.  I have some windows open and was snuggled under my leopard blanket, while eating my salad & then coffee with pumpkin waffle cookies. 
I teach my first Express Kickboxing class at Matrix this Wednesday.  It is without the benefit of heavy bags, so I am going to use very light dumbbells.  I will call out combos, plus toss in burpees, sprawls, jumping jacks, pushups, some abs.  All beginning with 4-5 minutes of intense warmup and ending with several minutes of abs followed by stretches.  I am being given the chance to teach this Mondays and Wednesdays at noon.  I would like to see if I can change the Wednesday TRX class to Kickboxing b/c there is already a 5:30 TRX, I had no one attend last week and I believe there are people who would like the chance to take it that simply cannot make it over lunch break.
We hopped on I-25 Saturday to find the IKEA store.  We enjoyed some food samples, got coffees (75¢ each), a cinnamon roll for me ($1) and a hot dog for Chris (50¢).  We bought a 99¢ bag of whole bean coffee and an orange-elderflower marmalade.  Yes, I said IKEA, not Trader Joe's or Whole Foods!  HA!!  We really aren't interested in adding any furniture to the apartment.  We want to wait until we are in a place we own again and decorate around that space.  Tho, if we found a free kitchen-size table (nothing big), we would snag it b/c it would come in really handy for laptop usage. 
We walked to the library yesterday afternoon to return the CDs I had checked out the previous Sunday.  Chris got some more and I checked out a couple of Goddess books.  There are FOUR floors in this place!!!  I could have spent longer, but we were both tired, had the walk back and we needed to get a couple things done at home before the weekend was over.  And by taking a little extra time, I made us get caught in rain with about a quarter of our walk left!  It got windy and pretty chilly ~ we were in shorts, tanks and light jackets!  The weather can turn on a dime around here!
Halloween City is becoming a bit more fun.  While they aren't playing Halloween music constantly (and I am hopeful that come Wednesday, the first of October that will change), they are getting in more stuff ~~ decent animatronics.  I didn't have to get on the register immediately Friday, so I was able to walk around, see what we have, orient myself, be a little more prepared for customer questions....and check out the masquerade masks, as I want one if we decide to attend the Exotica Erotica Ball!!
We are planning to get a membership at the Denver Botanic Gardens.  They have a Chihuly exhibit we want to see, which is also available at night with lighting directed at the glass sculptures.  Another nighttime event is a Ghost Tour.  Getting a membership affords us two free tickets to an event, discounts to others and the ability to spend as little or as much time at the Gardens as we like.  My first Halloween City paycheck is less than $2 shy of the fee.  Cool!!
I think that's all the random rambling rolling around in my noggin right now. 
How have YOU been enjoying the change of the season??  Are you working on your Halloween costume (or your kiddos)?  Do you plan to hit some haunted houses?  Have you been making any fall creations in the kitchen?

Friday, September 26, 2014

Mabon Mashup Meal

For Mabon, first day of Fall, I made a delicious hash of sorts.  A mish-mash of squash, veggies & proteins.
I sliced an acorn squash, placed in a 9x13 baking dish, drizzled maple syrup, sprinkled cinnamon and rosemary and baked in 375 degree oven for 20 minutes.
I sautéed red bell pepper, red onion & celery.  (I may have added sea salt and pepper.) 
I sliced bacon and cooked it, along with chicken sausage, to crisp, and set aside. 
I removed the squash from the oven, sliced and peeled away the skin and cut into chunks, which I added to the sautéed veggies and continued to warm on the stove. 
I added a drained & rinsed can of cannellini beans,  a few generous spoonfuls of cooked quinoa and a splash of water to the skillet of veggies & squash and continued to warm to meld all of the flavors together.
I spooned the squash-veggie-quinoa into bowls and sprinkled, generously, with the bacon & chicken sausage.  We had cranberry-raisin-walnut bread from Sprouts, which I smothered with pumpkin yogurt I quickly made (Fage Greek yogurt, pumpkin puree, honey & pumpkin pie spice).
It has made for wonderful leftovers for lunch!!
Today, I am making my Sweet Potato Hash!  Mmmmm!!!
So, as I was looking back to find a post where I gave the recipe for the sweet potato hash, I found an entry from October 6, 2013, where I made both of these recipes!!!!!  I guess they are my Welcome Fall faves!  The link(s) will provide both recipes, tho I always encourage you to make the dish your own! 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014


Sometimes, life isn't kind.
Sometimes, a revelation is so hurtful.
Sometimes,  you have to ask yourself if you have been stupid, kept your head buried in the sand in denial, too trustworthy,  accepting the "happiness" of the familiar.
Sometimes, you have to look at yourself and wonder if WHO you are and WHERE you are is who and where you want to be.
Sometimes, you have to look to see if you have lost yourself, contorted yourself, compromised yourself.
Sometimes, you have to ponder if you are living YOUR best life....
or has it all been a ruse????? 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Denver Haunts

We have begun the search for the Halloween happenings in the city!
I found readings by dead authors at the Molly Brown House Museum, which satisfies the bibliophile in me!
We can attend 'Spooktacular! Spooktacular!', a concert by the Mile High Freedom Band.
So far I have come across a few party options:
~Tracks Denver is hosting Freakshow, for 3 nites!  We have been wanting to hit this club and Halloween nite is the perfect time for our inauguration!!
~Paranormal Palace, being held at the Civic Center on November 1st, features three floors of entertainment and alcohol is included in the $79 ticket price!!
~For a risqué masquerade, we can attend the Exotica Erotica Ball, the Saturday before Halloween. 
In all actuality, with the various dates for each event, we could attend
If it tickles our fancy.....

Sunday, September 21, 2014

"Lazy" Sunday

Begins with a homemade scrambled egg, sauteed veggie, bacon mash-up and coffee. 
Head out ON FOOT about 11: 
1st stop ~ City Park Farmers' Market where we buy a beet brownie and chat with our friend, Mark (Colfax & Esplanade)
2nd ~ Whole Foods for coffee to drink with beet brownie (11th & Ogden)
3rd ~ Denver Public Library to get library cards and check out some CDs (14th & Broadway)
4th ~ Sally Beauty for shampoo and a color charm (16th Street Mall)
5th ~ Happy Hour @Tony P's for Left Hand Milk Stout, mini meatball sliders and eggplant rotoli(17th & ...)
6th ~ Soul Haus to buy skull for decorating contest (17th & ...)
Home by 5!!! 
Sunny and cool; shorts & tee kinda day.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

"The Happiness of Pursuit"

"The Happiness of Pursuit" is the title of Chris Guillebeau's newest release.  I am sitting at Tattered Cover Bookstore reading and thinking and strategizing!!!
Our move to Colorado was bold!  After a short visit in 2011, we knew what we had been saving for!  We sold our home, got rid of many things, moved into a rental in preparation.  We looked and applied for jobs, to no avail.  We packed up in September 2013 and haven't looked back!
I left a career in the criminal justice field, the same for which I have a bachelor's degree.  I felt trapped, stagnant, uninspired.
I have embarked on a fitness career.  I have met many new people and made new friends.
I am filled with wanderlust....
Guillebeau's book has re-awakened that stirring to see new places.  Not a move (yet!!), but a vacation!  Our last vacation, June 2012, to Key West seems a million years ago!  I had gotten used to a vacation or two a year, when we were living comfortably with two decent paying jobs, a small mortgage, etc.  We can still travel, but I plan to be even more frugal when making our arrangements.  We have points on our credit card, which we can use for airfare.  We have our timeshare in Mexico and we haven't traveled back there since the purchase in 2006 or 2008.  (I need to research selling it, actually.  We didn't renew our RCI membership, which offers the ability to trade, and I really don't know if we are going to utilize either.)
We have struck out on our new path and we know that before us lie miles of roads, ones which we will consciously choose to travel.

The only question now is:  Where do we want to go?

 "I'd like to repeat the advice that I gave you before, in that I think you really should make a radical change in your lifestyle and begin to boldly do things which you may previously never have thought of doing, or been too hesitant to attempt.  So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future.  The very basic core of a man's living spirit is his passion for adventure.  The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun." 
Journal entry by Chris McCandless
excerpted from "The Happiness of Pursuit" (pp 84-85)

Personal Growth

My new fitness gig at Matrix has had me a tiny bit on edge.  I was immediately handed my own classes to teach and have been asked (and accepted) to sub for others.  With all of that, I have had to create workouts for abs, TRX and small group training.  Soon, I will sub for a treadmill class and a Power Sculpt, an hour-long class devoted to strength training.
I have been trying to attend many classes to get a feel for what each entails, plus learning new techniques while also being reminded of exercises I have done in the past at LAB/UFC Gym. 
Coming up with what I hope will be a hard class is....well, hard!  I have boards in Pinterest.  I have watched some TRX videos.  I have pulled from my brain.
All in the hope that I give the kind of workout I would want to receive.  That said, the fitness levels of many in attendance are probably lower than my own, yet, I want to keep them progressing and the best way to do that is to get them to push beyond their self-imposed limits!
It's a tad difficult to read these members, tho.  At UFC Gym, I knew the crew.  We pushed, we wanted new exercises, we encouraged one another (instructors included).  We were sweaty messes at the end of every class and we LOVED it!  (That has been my hardest loss....)  I have hit the (one) heavy bag for a personal workout and I believe I need to get in there and work out some of my stresses, at least once a week.
When leading Power Abs, I am doing the exercises with the members.  When doing TRX, I have been working right alongside the members.  However, when I teach (sub) Power Sculpt and/or Cardio Blast, I will do the warm-up, demonstrate the exercises and do the stretches.  Similarly, when I do Group Training, I am instructing the members on what I want them to do, at times doing a couple reps in demonstration. 
One other reason for me to be a "student" of other trainers' classes, so that I can get the fitness results I want & need!
So, I am just sharing some personal insecurity here....that I am a bit stressed over making effective & fun workouts.  I want people to want to attend MY class!  I don't want them walking out (which I had happen in an abs class last week:  about mid-way thru, a lady walked out...she said it was because she had eaten late, taken a cardio class before mine, her stomach was a bit "off" and the structure of my class that day was a fast-paced crunchless cardio abs.).  I do believe that many who attend group exercise classes don't like to be challenged or try new things too often ~ they want to work in "traditional" exercise fashion, using a few tried & true movements (but expecting continued results).  It will be interesting to see how my Express Kickboxing classes go for the lunch time crowd! 
I will continue to speak with my fellow trainers for tips.  I will take classes to push myself and to learn new techniques.  I will give myself a break and know that I am working hard, always learning, continually improving.  I will step outside of my fitness comfort zone to teach and grow.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Do I Have a Personal Style?!?

I enjoy checking out people's fashion choices.  Some I admire, others, well, they aren't for me, but, hey, be uniquely you, right? 
I know a couple people who exude mad individual style!  I envy them that!  I see what they put together and think to myself, "I would never have thought of wearing something like that."  or "I couldn't pull that off, but she looks awesome!"  I will wonder if I have anything similar in my limited wardrobe.

I love the tattooed, the wild hair colors, boots, hats ~~ everything put together just so.
It got me I have a personal style?
I have been disliking ALL of my clothes.  I am completely uninspired when I get dressed.  Our stuff is kind of here & there with the new space and that might be part of my hindrance.  However, I think I'm in a funk and/or in desperate need of an overhaul!

I am not even sure if I know what I want for MY style!  I like so many, like steampunk, parts of the gypsy (think Stevie Nicks) and the bohemian, and others for which I have no name.  See, I feel like I'm scattered. 

The other thing...the BIG not wanting to spend money.  Or, at least, too much.  Those of you who have read my posts over the years will know that I am a fan of resale, Goodwill, Salvation Army, so I know I can find pieces now and again for a really great deal!  The problem, I feel like I gravitate toward what I already have and I am SICK OF IT!  Ugh!


Another of the changes we have made since moving from the suburbs to the city is no satellite tv.  We had DirecTV, but satellites are not allowed at our apartment building (it is an historic structure), so with a little finagling we were able to get out of our contract without penalty.  And we aren't going to pay Comcast prices.  Instead, we have opted to simply have internet service, which we complement with two digital antennas (one for the living room, the other for the bedroom) and access to my mom's Netflix account. 
The most time we have the television on, I would say, is the mornings when Chris is getting ready for work.  We like to have the local news on, even tho (thankfully!!) we no longer need to know the weather & traffic reports.  I also have to have it on to fall asleep, so I set the sleep timer for 60 or 90 minutes and am usually out for the count in plenty of time (except those nites when the upstairs neighbor isn't remembering he doesn't live in his own single-family home).
When we do actually watch programs, it's been "Breaking Bad".  We are on season 3, I think.  We started watching in Longmont and have been catching an episode or two here & there since the move.  I think we will move on to "Weeds", but I'm not sure.  I will also pop in my "Northern Exposure" DVDs.  I watched a few "American Horror Story: Coven" episodes from the internet last week.  I need to finish a few more to complete the season. 
 I find that I am not that interested in paying attention for too long.  So, another change I am experiencing post-move is losing interest in tv programming.  I'm not sad about this change, tho.  I like spending more time writing blog posts, researching fitness, exercising at my new gym and walking all over Denver with Chris. 
Last nite, tho, we were very excited to be able to get NBC thru the digital antenna, so that we could stay home to watch our beloved Chicago Bears!!!  It was great b/c we didn't have to spend money on food or drinks at a bar, we could be comfy in our pajamas ... and I napped for the mid-part of the game, apparently my lack of sleep slammed in to me when I took a moment to sit & relax!  I was up for the end of the game and thrilled when they came back to win!  Da Bears!!! 
I know that there isn't much on mid-day for free tv and I was mindlessly watching cable channels back in Longmont.  I am glad to be rid of that vice!!   
And once we remember to take our IDs and proof of address on one of our walks (that is part of this week's plan), we will hit the downtown Denver library to obtain cards ~~ then, I will be in reading heaven!!!  I've been jonesin' for books in hand!!!


Last year, after we had been in Longmont a few weeks, I applied at Spirit, a Halloween store, located in the soon-to-be-torn down Twin Peaks mall.  I was quickly called for an interview.  I showed up (in a Halloween-themed tee, no less) and the "manager" told me he was unable to hire at the moment due to an HR snafu.  Hmmmm, I'm thinking, why did you call me for an interview, number one, and why didn't you call to reschedule or cancel said interview, number two?!?  This was a Thursday afternoon, he said he would have it straightened out by Monday and would call me.  As you may guess, he never did!  Long story short, I took the barista job at Starbucks.  And while working there, who walks in but that "manager" ~~ I get out of him that he is no longer working there!!!  I also got a call from a new manager, but I never called him back!!
Anyway, for my love of Halloween, I applied to Halloween City, here in Denver, this year.  And, as expected, I got a call.  While they wanted me to be an assistant manager at another location (Aurora), after making the drive there, I immediately decided that no way was I making that drive for $9 an hour!  It would have been great to get management on my resume, but it wasn't worth my gas or time!  So, I asked to be an associate at the closer store in Stapleton.
I didn't, yet, have the fitness trainer gig at Matrix when I accepted, but by the time they called to give me my first week's schedule, I had to inform them that my availability had changed, but if they were willing to work around my permanent job and give me no more than 15 hours a week, then we were a go! 
I worked one shift last week, on register and watching those lame training videos.  I also froze my ass off!  It was one of the two cold days last week and they left the doors propped open (one set of exit doors is broken and won't close!) and I was stuck trying to work the register with cold hands!  My body was already sore from the previous nite's workout and there I was stiff as a board from the cold!  It was ridiculous!  I was also thirsty, having drank my water bottle, and hungry (both managers were eating and then I was stuck getting off half an hour late!).  I work one shift this week and fully intend to do whatever I want!  Fortunately, the temps will be in the 80's, so I don't have to wear a coat and my fingerless gloves to make it thru!  But when I want a break, I am getting one!!
This Halloween City is located in a former Circuit City building, so it's enormous.  Unfortunately, it doesn't feel like Halloween in there!  The ceilings are so high that what merchandise they do have is underwhelming in the space.  And when the hell are they going to play Halloween music?!?  That question is on tap for a manager on Wednesday!  Come on!  People will be even more in the mood to spend if you give them the ambience!!! 
This gig is only temporary, of course!  I don't plan to work there the week leading up to Halloween, as I don't want to be forced to work all Halloween nite!  {Besides, I am going back to the job boards to find another trainer gig to coordinate with Matrix and/or a medi-spa part-time job!}  Chris and I can get a 30% discount, but I don't even know if we are displaying much of the Halloween décor we have already own, so it would be silly to buy more.  Tho, there is an animated skeleton cat we both like!  I know we have room to store it in one of our existing totes! 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Feeling Autumnal

It is almost mid-September, but the weather here in Denver for the past two days has been downright wintry!  I was chilled to the bone yesterday while working my first shift at Halloween City (more on that in another post) and today is even colder!  We woke to temps in the mid 30's and were told we could expect to wake to some snow this morning....thankfully, it seems to have missed Denver!  For the first time in I don't know how long, I am wearing jeans, a long-sleeve shirt, jacket and boots ~  very fall-like, as I refuse to bring out a warmer coat!!!
There is only radiator heat in our apartment, which won't be turned on until mid-October.  It wasn't unbearable, tho, and we have plenty of blankets ("hello, my name is Jennifer and I have a blanket addiction!) plus our electric fireplace should we need to ward off the chill.  The place in Longmont had a gas fireplace, which we would turn on some mornings to just get a bit of warmth to the main level before Chris left for work~ we rarely turned on the heat all winter!  Longmont also had newer windows and better insulation than the Denver it will be an interesting winter, one I am hoping isn't as cold as last year with the Polar Vortex.
However, by tomorrow, we will be back in the 70's for the weekend and we can truly enjoy the approach of the autumnal equinox!
That said, my beautiful friend, Nikki, asked me to re-post my list of things I love about fall.  I found this post from 2012.  After looking over that list, I am still in agreement with every single one!  To add to it.....
~Pinterest posts for recipes & decorations both fall and Halloween-inspired
~Enjoying the Denver fashion scene for fighting the chill
~Sipping coffee on our portico, with a blanket wrapped around me
~Halloween cards
~Wearing all of my lightweight jackets: corduroy, jean, cotton
~Colorful scarves
~Watching my Northern Exposure DVDs (truth be told, I have been watching them off & on for months, tho)
~Catching up on pagan, wiccan readings
~Fun knee and over-the-knee socks, with skirt & stockings & boots
~Fingerless gloves  {I just got a hot pink pair}
~Making pumpkin butter for the first time
I hope we have more than a passing glimpse of fall and that I can revel for several weeks (or more...a girl can dream, right?!).  While "true" Coloradans may anticipate winter with baited breath, to hit the snowy slopes for all the wicked activities, I would prefer to defer the cold, white stuff as long as possible and then "suffer" it for the shortest duration.  We are lucky, tho, that the snow doesn't stick around long here, so winter is far, far different from northwest Indiana and Chicagoland. 
The equinox is less than two weeks from today and I need to put together a simple meal in celebration (thinking winter squash, beans, bacon, steamed veggies).  This weekend, I am making a small batch of pumpkin butter, a cranberry pork roast in the crockpot (to eat with mashed Yukon gold potatoes) and pumpkin-dark chocolate chip muffins! 
I am also hoping we take a drive to Boulder to walk along the Creek and see some of the leaves changing.  A drive along the Peak-to-Peak might reveal even more, but I don't know if we are up for it....there has been snow in the mountains already!!!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Neighborhood Eats

We found ourselves headed out to dinner last nite.  Something in walking distance, as we like to put our leather to the pavement over rubber when we can...being city folk now!  Our original plan was scrapped when it began to rain a little and got a tad chilly because the place we had in mind was a mostly outdoor atmosphere.
We changed our minds when we got to Fat Sully's and The Atomic Cowboy, which share space with Denver Biscuit Company.  We knew we could enjoy pizza and a drink inside the fun (dry & warm) restaurant/bar.
Since we hadn't planned to have an adult beverage, we only had some cash and a credit card on us.  Chris walked the couple blocks back to our place to get our IDs!!
After being told that a 12" pizza pie would take about 45 minutes, we chose to each get a slice.  These are BIG slices ~ they are NYC style!!! 
Unfortunately, we missed Happy Hour by less than 20 minutes, so we each only enjoyed one drink.  I tried a cider and Chris an agave wheat. 
It was the perfect amount of food & drink and helped prepare us for a good nite's sleep (something you know we have been struggling with if you read a couple posts ago). 
I would definitely go back....preferably during Happy Hour!  I'd like to give the Amber a try, plus they have Left Hand's Nitro Milk Stout on draught as a regular!!
We considered going back tonite, actually, to watch the Michigan v ND game.  Since Chris is only now on his way home from work (required for this weekend; tomorrow, too), I don't know if that will play out.  Maybe he will want to hit Happy Hour after the long day! 
Or, maybe, we will head outdoors to enjoy this sunny, 70-degree day!  It will be a deliciously cool evening!!  Perfect for boots and a sweater!  (Then back in the 80's tomorrow.....)

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Endings. Beginnings. Change.

I am not one who historically handles change well.  I have had to get much better at it over the past few years!  Selling our home in Hobart was the start and it continues to this very moment.
I thought the biggest change, other than the downsizing, of living in our apartment would be parallel street parking and/or a claw foot tub.  Well, Chris is an awesome parallel parking teacher and I am doing far better than I had expected already!  Yay, me!  Showering in the claw foot tub has been just's actually a bit easier to shave than in the Longmont shower (weird, right?!).  So, the biggest change has been dealing with a bad upstairs neighbor, whom we have had to write the management about twice just this week!  He is noisy during the required quiet hours and he seems to lack common sense (he was squirting his porch with a hose the other afternoon, thereby getting our things made zero sense!). 
We knew apartment living would be temporary and have pretty well decided that this place will only be for one year, rather than the two we had hoped so that we wouldn't be moving every year!  We are going to look to buy in Denver, most likely.  We aren't opposed to a house again, but it would have to be much newer than our place in Hobart.  We like the idea of a townhouse or some type of side-by-side with a small yard.  We will still consider a condo, but will be very particular to the sound-proofing and would want to be in nothing more than 3 stories with us at the top!  Hopefully, owning would bring our monthly payment back to something we like better (rent is crazy ridiculous!) and we can begin regular transfers to our savings account, which we will have used toward the down payment and will need rebuilding.
Moving 30+ miles south to Denver, basically, ended my relationship with Fit Chick Express, in the sense of my physical presence.  I considered driving up on Thursdays to teach two morning classes, but just don't see it playing out.  I wouldn't have made the trip during winter, or bad driving conditions, so it really only left this month and, probably, next month.  I miss the Chicks ~ working out with them, instructing them and socializing with them!  But, I knew pre-move....just like leaving UFC Gym.  Endings signal beginnings, tho, and mine is about to start.  I will be working at Matrix Fitness & Spa beginning next week.  I am going to be introduced to members and the business by working the front desk, but I am also taking over a 45-minute TRX class!!!  I am going to also get more classes, like Group Training, maybe another group fitness like Power Abs and going to learn Xbike to be a sub!  The staff whom I have met so far are pretty spectacular!  The management is enthusiastic about me and really working with me to create a schedule that fits my life and that utilizes me in the best way, like more teaching than front desk.  It's kind of exhilarating!  I think we feed off of one another's excitement, passion, commitment!  This should be a wonderful fit and challenge! 
By entering the working world again, don't know yet if I will be working PT or FT hours, my "free" time with Chris will be impacted.  We anticipated this, of course, and will adjust accordingly.  We will both take advantage of the time away from one another to pursue our individual creative outlets, as well as our shared time to experience Denver & its surrounding sights and to work on our joint creative pursuits.  And by working, I will, once again, contribute to our bank account!  (Especially with training pay over front desk pay!!!)
My years of working out at UFC Gym and the months working out and teaching at Fit Chick Express saw me in whatever workout clothes I chose to throw on.  I have a handful of workout capris (black and gray) and lots of tshirts of varying colors, both solids and with images.   The preferred color scheme for Matrix, however, is red & black for trainers and black with touches of white or red for front desk.  They aren't too pushy on the trainers, so I will do my best with what I have and then slowly add ~ and, quite honestly, most of my things are old, not tattered, but old, so I can do with updating, especially since they will now be work clothes, not just workout clothes!! 
My meeting today with the vice president for Matrix has me very excited about this new company!    They are looking to get me in the mix of teaching ASAP and even have ideas for down the road.  That makes a girl feel pretty damn special! 
There have been lots of endings followed by lots of beginnings over the past three years and plenty of changes to roll with.....I'm pleasantly anticipating this next endeavor which is helping to lead me down the path of career change I have been envisioning for myself.  Like they say, surround yourself with positive people who have your best interest in mind and you will soar!
The winds of changing are a-blowing.  My wings are unfolding.  Flight is, once again, on the horizon.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Taste of Colorado....more like, 16th Street, Denver!!

On Monday, I finally got to meet Chris's friend, Jess.  The Taste of Colorado was happening all weekend and we had decided on Sunday that we would head downtown to Civic Center Park to check it out.  Chris suggested we check to see if Jess wanted to meet up with us, as we had been trying to connect with her since our arrival in town. 
We headed out from our place around 1:30, after hanging some things on the walls and getting the place more "us".  It wasn't a super hot day for our couple mile walk and we don't mind stretching our legs.  Along the way, we stopped at a liquor store where we bought a Mike's Margarita in a can!  Chris had brought along a disposable coffee cup and we poured half the drink in there to start, so we could enjoy it for the remainder of our walk to the Park.
About a block past the liquor store is where Jess was seated at a table of a hot dog joint awaiting our arrival, which is only a couple blocks north of her studio condo.  Introductions made and off we went.
The Taste of Colorado was a bit of a disappointment for a foodie.  The food vendors, save one or two, were the standard fare of every other festival we have been to.  I was hoping for the restaurants of Denver, lots of wild game selections and any other dishes that would scream Wild West.  There were the usual retail vendors and a small midway with kiddie rides, as well.  So, we made the rounds, but being unimpressed, we made a beeline for the 16th Street Mall.
Jess has lived in Denver for awhile (tho, how long exactly I don't know) and as we were walking along she suggested stopping at Yard House for some happy hour drinks and apps.  We were game!  Very cool place!  They have, I believe, 137 taps + 6 rotating!  The beer menu was 4 pages long!!  Divided by type, which is so helpful!!!  Jess made sure to show me the pipes in the ceiling which keep each beer to the exact temperature recommended by the brewery!  I look forward to another happy hour visit! 
We had our first Moscow Mules ~ this drink is offered pretty much everywhere in Colorado, I have discovered.  Don't know if it as an official or even unofficial drink of the State of Colorado, but it very well should be!  The Moscow Mule, if you haven't had one yourself, reminds me a bit of a mojito.  I like the Mule better, but that may simply be for the reason that I like ginger beer, which is one of the two ingredients (Russian vodka being the other...well, some mint leaves, too). 
While enjoying our Mules, we also had the spinach artichoke dip with homemade pita chips.  Chris and I split an order of 2 blue crab cakes, while Jess had chicken lettuce wraps (to be honest, we should have ordered those to share instead of the crab time!). 
As we headed back out to 16th Street, Jess asked if we had had Little Man Ice Cream, yet.  Nope, haven't even heard of it.  She hailed an uberX ride and we were shuttled off to the Highlands.  Coincidentally, our driver had moved to Denver from Chicago (South Side!) just 6 months ago!!!  Back to the ice cream.....this place is super well-known as there was a line (which never died down while we were there!).  It moved pretty quickly, as there were 3 windows within the super-huge, larger-than-life metal milk jug that is the building!!  Jess already knew what she wanted (Salted Oreo), but Chris and I did two samplings:  me, Mexican Chocolate and Malted Whopper and Chris, Mexican Chocolate and French Toast.  Both of mine were fantastic!  I tried the Whopper first and was certain I would go with it for my tiny scoop, but then, the chocolate and cinnamon won me over (as it always will!).  Chris went with French Toast.  Tho I didn't taste it, I suspect one cannot go wrong with any choice! 
We sat across the street from the milk jug, to sit in the grass while enjoying our chilly desserts.  We then leisurely walked back to LoDo, crossing the Platte River, which was a very beautiful and peaceful park area.  While strolling, Jess told us about different buildings, to include showing us where she had once owned at the Spire Building.
We walked Jess back to the hot dog joint and then continued on our way, along Colfax, back home.  (Jess was pretty concerned for our safety and wanted to hail us another uberX car, but we assured her we had done this on other nites, so she asked that we call her when we arrived home.)
It was a much longer day than I had anticipated, but well worth it!  We enjoyed back-to-back evenings with new friends and it was only our second full weekend living in Denver! 

Monday, September 1, 2014

BBQ & New Friends

We were invited by our new friends, Tina & Olivia, to a barbecue at one of their mutual friends' homes in Aurora, a very close suburb of Denver.  Tho we were both feeling impish and not exactly social after the issues with the noises from the nite before, we didn't want to miss the gathering (or let our new friends down). 
We ran errands in the late morning/early afternoon and then came home for a few hours.  Chris mostly napped, while I made a half batch of my cornbread casserole for the party.  We were asked to bring chairs, our own beverages and a dish to share.  We also bought a bread & butter pickle, carrot, red pepper combo (from Walmart) as part of our offering. 
We were enthusiastically greeted by Tina, who just exudes positive energy ~ if we had special glasses I think we would see it radiating from her fingers & toes!!!  She was so very happy that we made it and was so excited to introduce us to the host, Antonio, who was expertly manning the grill, and her partner, Mylea, along with several other guests.  Olivia, too, was glad we joined everyone and it was a time to meet more of her friends and to celebrate a couple birthdays, Olivia's being one of them. 
What a joyous evening we spent with strangers who have easily become our friends!  We dined on delicious foods, shared in many  & varied conversations, watched hilarity ensue during beer pong and warmed ourselves by a bonfire (one of our favorite things in the world and something which is connected to a very fond memory of our getting together oh-so-many moons ago!).  We are invited back anytime they have another get-together!!! 
What a true miracle that Tina & Olivia stopped at our table during Happy Hour at The Center just two weeks ago!  We made instant connections that nite and are meeting so many wonderful people via their friendships.
We are so glad we remain open & welcoming & ready for opportunities to experience life through new environments, new people.  It is with fresh eyes we observe the world around us and it is with eager anticipation that we step forward to engage. 
May this first day of September, 2014, be the time when you grab that broom to sweep away the dust & cobwebs and clear a path that you can follow to moments filled with bliss.  It is the unexpected ones that instantly make your heart flutter and it is all of them that keep you alive & vibrant!!

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