Saturday, February 28, 2015

Kicking the Snow Off Our Heels

We have solidified our vacation plans....well, mostly!
Airfare has been purchased and we are off to
You know what that means, right?
Hitting the gym...HARD!! 
My Abs class this past Thursday was all about those lower abs in anticipation!  This girl has to be ready for a bikini!  In just under six weeks!  Chris and I attended a TRX/Xbike split class together this morning.  (Followed by a wonderful, relaxing steam!!)
I am going to be more conscious about what I am eating and drinking.  I will do my best to exercise everyday, even those when I don't work.  I can either head to Matrix for a class or my own stuff on the gym floor (the heavy lifting) or I can do something in the apartment.  IF the snow and cold ends, I could even go out for a short run around the lake. 
We have yet to make our accommodation reservations, but that is at the top of our To Do list!  We want to stay on the west side of the island for the first few days to enjoy beach time.  We want to see the bioluminescent bay off the island of Vieques, so we made our travel plans around the coming of the new moon.  The bioluminescence is best seen when the moon is darkest.  We are going to reserve a place on the east side for a couple of nites, but we might have to double book on the nite we do the canoe tour because I don't think the ferry runs between Fajardo and Vieques after 6:30PM.  And then we want to spend our final day/nite in Old San Juan for a bit of a city experience. 
Who knows?  This might turn out to be a scouting trip!  We are giving serious consideration to moving to an island, so long as we can find some kind of work to keep us afloat.  And Puerto Rico is a territory of the States, so we would get any future benefits (should Medicare and Social Security be available when it's our turn, that is!). 
There is a university on the island for Chris.  Chris is also an amazing photographer and could take and sell photos online!  I can lead fitness classes and work at a resort ... hell, any kind of customer service-related gig.  I want to create an online business, which I can do anywhere at anytime.  What better motivation than island living?!  Whatever it takes to make a few bucks!!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

Denver is getting bands of snowfall all weekend long.  Yesterday morning, as I left for work, the trees were dusted with snow, City Park was awash in it, as were the skies above ~~ it was this magical whiteness.  I was disappointed that both of us were working yesterday (not a usual day for either of us) because we missed out on a magical morning walk.
We spent the afternoon, laying on our bed, watching Netflix!  We caught "Chef" first.  I had wanted to watch it and was so pleased to find it for free!!!  Jon Favreau is both a great writer and director, and not too shabby an actor!  John Leguizamo is almost always a riot!  We had "Silver Linings Playbook" in our queue for months (I kid you not!) and we finally got around to it, after we made grilled cheese sandwiches to enjoy with some chips and chopped veggies...and a few sweets Chris brought from work.  I think I hadn't felt like watching it because I thought it was going to be a tear-jerker.  Fortunately, I was wrong.  Bradley Cooper was so out of his norm and he did a fantastic job!
The snow had begun to fall again while we were in our cocoon.  We looked across to City Park from our kitchen window and, in the darkness of 6:30, we were beckoned.  We bundled up and headed out into a light snow that was coming down almost sideways!  I had to keep my head down to prevent it from stinging my eyes.  Laughing the whole way and regularly brushing ourselves off, we got across the street and made our way to the main building at the lake.  We took a brief respite under shelter and then walked across to the pavilion at the lake's edge.  From there, we could look across the lake, which appeared to be covered in fog, but was actually the falling snow.  Even the geese below had snow on them!!! 
The impending storm had kept many people at home, so traffic was very light and the park empty.  The snow-packed roads muffled any sound from the few cars out & about.  The snow covered ground of the park was footprints, save for the ones we had left behind.  The snow, both falling and on the ground, was glitter!!!  Further adding to the magical quality of it all.   
A walk around the lake was not to be; our faces were cold & wet.  But this little jaunt, this foray into the evening snowfall, so deafening in its quietness, was a special experience with nature.  One I am sure is much more grand and profound when experienced in the mountains...and one I may, one day, have the opportunity to enjoy.  But I won't waste my chances on "one day" and miss out on today!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

See The World

We have been discussing our next vacation for many months.  First, it was going to be St. Augustine, Florida, with a jaunt over to Orlando for the updated Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  Then, we changed our minds. 
We own a timeshare in Mexico and have several properties from which to make our selection.  We were considering Cabo San Lucas, then Mazatlan or Acapulco.  Chris decided it was unsafe in Mexico because of the brutality of the drug cartels.
Now, we are on Puerto Rico.  We have been researching the beaches, Old San Juan, rain forest reserves, activities, flights (using our credit card points) and accommodations with airbnb.  It's been both fun and mind-boggling.  So many things to consider:  flight days and times, staying at the beach or in the city, or mixing it up with a few nites in both, looking at all of the available housing options, deciding which side of the island might have the best beach(es) for us.  Whew!  I'm gonna need a vacation after all of this planning!
We also had the chance to attend a travel talk this past Sunday with the husband of one of the Fit Chick instructors with whom I worked over the summer.  They have traveled internationally on a limited budget and were sharing some tips and tricks.  While there weren't many in attendance, everyone brought a little information to share with the group.
Our wanderlust was further stoked!!
We have both been online, separately and side-by-side, getting ourselves more informed.  We are checking out Google maps and expanding our accommodation search to meet the needs of the sightseeing and exploring we have in mind.  Chris found out that rainy season begins in May (we had been looking for May 16th - 23rd).  Back to the drawing board I went for flights and we might go the last week of April instead.
We have also been discussing cutting the bow lines of Denver sooner than we may have thought.  While we are enjoying Denver and Colorado, we don't see ourselves settling down and buying a home here.  The City is just too darn expensive and we aren't that interested in the suburbs.  We are going to get a different apartment (August), which we hope to be cheaper than the current one and maybe smaller.  We will continue to see if there are jobs that fulfill us here, but we may expand to other states as it gets closer to the next lease end date.  So, we need to be focused on experiencing the places around the state that are on our list, like: Garden of the Gods, some of the hot springs, more of the mountains in the fall.
Much is up in the air and we are going to live for the joy, the adventure, the fun we make along the way.  I just have a strong feeling we won't be living a decade in Colorado, as I had thought. 
Ah, well, as the saying goes: "Breaking Hearts and Rolling Outta Town!"

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Living in the Woods

Have you ever wondered how fun it would be to own a campground?  One where you can have summer camps, hold family reunions and weddings, be the spot for photo shoots, host bonfires & hayrides!!!
There is such a place in Camp Wandawega.  A couple bought the campground where the husband used to go as a kid with his family.  They are both successful in other businesses and bring that expertise (design & marketing) to Camp Wandawega. 
Imagine decorating all of the cabins! 
Designing the tees and sweatshirts for summer camp! 
I don't know that I would want all that Wandawega has become.  I envision more of the camp I attended for a week in the summer before 6th grade (or was it after?).  I recently watched a movie on Netflix, Camp Takota, that is a great look into a summer's worth of camp.
I would take some aspects of a place in Traverse City, where Chris took me one fall weekend.  Harold's Resort sits just outside of Traverse City on Spider Lake.  A handful of cabins with use of canoes, firepits, bench swings.  When the sun goes down, it is complete darkness.  The cabins have no TVs or phones.  Just you & nature.
Coordinated activities would be available, seasonally.  Summer camps would have a variety of projects, friendly competitions and group meetings.  Since we love Halloween, we could offer a "course" on ghost hunting techniques!!
I could hold camps for Goddesses.  We would encourage fitness, meditation and enlightened spiritual groups to lead classes and seminars. 
I know how much work would be involved and that it would take awhile for any real income to be generated, but it would be a labor of love, self-employment, creating and learning everyday, physically demanding.  It would keep us young & vibrant, active, outdoors with fresh air!
And, of course, I would have to decorate with pinecones!  Which I would find in the woods!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

January 2015 'Been There, Done That' & a Sneak Peek into February

A peaceful scene at City Park this morning.  The blue of the sky just before sunrise is now giving way to some bright pinks.  The lights around the lake are still reflected in its glassy surface, part water, part ice.  Tho all of the beautiful snow that was captured by the trees Saturday nite into Sunday morning melted yesterday, there is still snow on most of the grassy areas, reminding us that even tho we are getting close to 60 degrees today, it is, technically, still the winter season. 
I miss the beach at Ogden Dunes and the mountains in Longmont most poignantly during the Full Moon.  Like last nite, this morning, and tonite.
I think I will plan a stay in the mountains during a Full Moon once winter's icy grip finally lets go of the Rockies.  I am sure the scene is a winter wonderland right now with all the recently fallen powder (and more coming down there as I write), but I am afraid of the terrain to drive up there.  It instills a great deal of fear in me when we have driven them with not a speck of precip on the roads...there are so many twists and turns and steep declines.  If someone else, in a very reliable car and a very safe driver, were to offer to take us up to one of the ski resorts, I would strongly consider going.  I would still be uncomfortable during the ride, there's no doubt!
I MIGHT feel better when we have an AWD vehicle, but don't be so sure about that! 
Here we are already into February.  January almost a blur.  Ringing in the new year seems so long ago.  During those 31 days of January, we enjoyed brunch with our new friends, Ted & Dan, to usher in 2015.  We have also enjoyed dinner & a movie with them (tho, I wouldn't recommend paying money to see Into the Woods in the theatre...wait for Redbox!!).  We tried a couple new restaurants and can highly recommend both: Hopdoddy Burger Bar, just outside Union Station, where we ate the Buffalo Bill bison burger (mine without Frank's hot sauce b/c I won't be putting "that shit" on anything!!).  The service was very attentive and, being winter, they have hot tea on the bar to serve yourself!!  Nice touch!  We also hit The Abbey Tavern on Colfax for Happy Hour.  We enjoyed $3 Breckenridge Brewery Avalanche Ale draughts, $7 appetizers and shared a $13 Shepard's Pie entrĂ©e.  It was a fairly light crowd when we arrived, but, boy, did it pick up!  The place is small (bigger when the outdoor seating can be utilized), so the chatter can get pretty loud.  The lighting is low and the place has an almost secretive feel, probably more so if you sit in one of the booths over the high tops. 
We visited the Denver Museum of Nature and Science on one of its free days.  Pretty crowded, of course, but we made our way.  It was a lot bigger than I thought.  The displays and exhibits, to include one on whales, were very well done.  It reminds me of a small version of a cross between Chicago's Field Museum and Museum of Science & Industry.  There was a more educational area, the science part, which we didn't visit.  It seemed geared more to kids and we were around enough of them in the nature aspect!!! 
We had our first laser hair removal appointments!  Yep!  I scored us an awesome Living Social deal last year!  We have a year's worth of treatments, each taking place every 6 weeks.  I definitely believe the hair on my legs and underarms is significantly less!  But it is killing me (and Chris, more so) to not be able to do some very strategic plucking!  It is of great importance to let the hairs grow in order that the laser can kill the follicle, which must contain hair for the treatment to work!  I look forward to the changes and not having to use a razor every single day!!  I will have to run it over my ankle tattoo, as you do NOT get the laser over that!  One, it would hurt like hell b/c the laser is seeking out darker shades of skin and, two, it would begin to fade my tattoo, which I don't want! 
I had hoped to pick up a second training job at a beast mode gym, but it didn't work out.  Not because they wouldn't have loved me, but because it required a $200 in-house certification.  I have already spent several hundred on my Group Fitness cert and another couple hundred on my TRX cert, both of which already have me employed and make me employable to any gym/fitness setting.  While I can appreciate the training protocol to keep all of the trainers on the same page, I can not get with paying $200 for a certification that means absolutely nothing anywhere else on the planet.  I was pretty bummed b/c I had taken one of the group training classes and it kicked my ass!  I hadn't worked that hard since LAB /UFC and I LOVED it!  It was a leg-specific day and I was sore for many days thereafter!!!  However, the class didn't go to waste as I used it as a basis for my Group Training that same week! 
Live and learn...and apply that knowledge!!
I almost forgot...there is an annual Stock Show, which begins with a parade downtown.  Chris took a long lunch so we could go watch it together!   Long-horn cattle start the procession!!!  It was surreal ~ 20 or so long-horn cattle coming by us on 17th Street in downtown Denver!!!   
Which brings us back to the beginning of February:
We started the month by getting new tattoos!  We met a female tattoo artist, Sam, at a holiday party we attended at the home of some new friends, Markie & Beth.  I got a siren/mermaid on my left side/ribcage (to bookend with the seahorse on my right side) and Chris got a raven on his left forearm. 
This Friday, we will see Danny Elfman in concert at the Colorado Symphony doing the music from Tim Burton's films!  A gift we bought ourselves around Christmas.  VERY excited!  It is how we are going to celebrate Valentine's Day and Chris's birthday (early).  We are going to hit another new spot for Happy Hour: Russell's Smokehouse, an underground spot a la Prohibition speakeasy.

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