Celebrating Colorado

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So , last week was the anniversary of my arrival in Denver two full years ago. TWO YEARS. What a significant amount of time! I mean, as you age each year becomes a smaller and smaller chunk of your overall life, so in comparison time seems to move faster, but STILL. How has it been two full years since I moved out of Nashville?

So much has happened since I came out here, it’s impossible to recall everything. Pretty much, things are just awesome no matter which way I turn, although I’m not without my fair share of hissy fits and down days, that’s for sure. But seriously, there’s no reason for bad feelings when things are this. good. One day my boss is praising me for a job well done (seriously? Best boss ever?), the next I’m dancing under a full moon with a crew of fun loving friends at Red Rocks, and then I’m mountain biking under a rainbow at sunset. It’s the best.

To celebrate my anniversary in this incredible city, I sought to accomplish something SO very Colorado – hike a 14er. This is one of the most popular activities to tackle out here, something that is distinctly challenging but very doable for the athletic folks who overwhelm the area. Since it’s close and not too hard, I chose to climb Grays Peak as my first 14,000 summit.

At 4:45 Saturday morning, I woke up and headed for the hills along with maybe 300 of my closest friends. We actually walked in a single file line up the initial ascent of the 3.5 mile climb because it was so incredibly crowded.

Truth be told, it was potentially one of the least scenic hikes I’ve done all summer. Sky Pond, Medicine Bow Peak, and the Meyers Homestead Trail have all been far more gorgeous, with streams and aspen groves and wildlife. Grays Peak earned its name – it was gray and rocky the whole way up, exposed and above the treeline. It was the hardest hike I’ve done all summer, without question, and my legs are still in pain from hiking straight up and straight down for 7 miles. I couldn’t breathe, and I live at altitude!

But here’s the thing: when you’re 14,000 feet in the air, you are on top of the world. Quite literally. And it is breathtaking no matter how winded you might already be.

Touching the sky.

Touching the sky.

The panorama of the earth stretches as far into the horizon as you’ve ever seen before on your own two feet. It’s the absolute best reward for a job well done.

AIrplanes don't count.

Gorgeous mountain ridge.

You can see Breck if you look closely.

See the peaks way far away?

While I can’t say I’m eager to do another 14er with all the crowds and the wake up calls and how I can barely walk right now, I am proud of myself for knocking a major To-Do off my Colorado list. It was an incredible way to celebrate two years of adventuring and exploring and generally loving life in this amazing state. I’m so happy to be here and so grateful to have such amazing adventures in my backyard. Living in Colorado is everything I ever hoped it would be, and more.

8.26

However Brief

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Well hello friends! Long time no chat.

Solid crew for the Westword Music Showcase.

Solid crew for the Westword Music Showcase

First of all, hats off to this little bloggy of mine. Today is officially my two year blog anniversary! This online diary that should be updated regularly and really should be a travel guide to Denver but is content to be an angsty afterthought has been so good to me. Two years ago I was leaving Nashville, headed West on a grand adventure that would change my life forever, and looking to document the transition. Today, I’m so firmly rooted in this city that has embraced me and enchanted me that I don’t think I’ll ever feel the need to leave and find something new. Every single day I’m here, I grow deeper and deeper in love with my life, my friends, my city, and my ongoing adventure. This life was exactly what I was seeking when I picked up and left Nashville, and I’m so grateful I had the guts to do it! I’m also grateful to have this blog as a record of that massive life change.

Anyway, I’m glad I still have this space and renewed my domain for another year. Hah!

When we last left off, I had just started my new job and was excited by it all. Now, over two months into it, I’m glad to say I feel like I’m settling in and becoming an asset to my boss, a friend to my cube neighbors, and a resource to my clients. My new agency is a whole different ballgame compared to my old one in SO many ways, but the change is refreshing and educational. I’m really happy with my boss and senior leadership, and I don’t think I’ve ever been busier, both at work and in my personal life.

Mid-week mountain biking crash at Bear Creek Lake

Mid-week mountain biking crash at Bear Creek Lake Park

The summer has been an insanely good time thus far, and I’m enjoying how varied and packed my days have been. My general schedule involves long-ish days at the office with little to no breaks in between meetings, calls, huddles, excel spreadsheets, word docs, lots of printouts, endless to-do lists and coffee; followed by packed evenings filled with errands, dinners, drinks, bike rides, trail runs, volleyball and volunteering; and punctuated by weekends away hiking, fishing, camping, dancing, drinking, partying, driving, and LIVING.

My good high school buddy and his band Moon Taxi

My good high school buddy and his band Moon Taxi

It’s been nonstop and even though I’m wearing myself out a little, I don’t know that I’ve ever felt more content with my life and more comfortable in my own skin. It’s a great place to be with no end in sight!

That’s it for now, hope your summer is going well! Hopefully it’s not snowing before I come back!!!

8.14.13

Hiking down Medicine Bow Peak

The Days Feel Long When You’re Not Working

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I have been trying to title this entry in my blog-turned-diary for the last several moments. How do I capture the past 14 days and all their incredible glory? So much as happened since we last spoke.

I can cut to the chase right now and say that I fulfilled the tasks I put to myself for the past two weeks. I worked out, I ate good food, and I read. Boom.

Let’s just put it this way: I like being unemployed. I could get used to it. :) Particularly when I’m still receiving a paycheck (yay severance!). The days feel full of endless possibility, open to the whims and fancies of the moment. There are no full calendars, no 40 (ha 50-60) hours to clock, no to-do lists, no high heels… it’s glorious. I went days without showering or wearing makeup. Gross, but liberating for sure.

Enjoying the day with my hiking buddy, Tuxedo.

Enjoying the day with my hiking buddy, Tuxedo.

I started cooking again, enjoying healthy favorites like nut butter covered parsnip fries, kale and eggs, chicken salad with grapes, and lots and lots of green smoothies. Simply, healthy, tasty food. My body is happy!

Such a rewarding view.

Such a rewarding view.

I also spent as much of the time exercising and burning calories and enjoying the feel of my body moving through time and space and not chained to a desk as I could.

Best. Day. Ever.

Best. Day. Ever.

From long hikes in Flagstaff to bikini skiing at A Basin to tough yoga sessions at Qi Yoga to personal bootcamp sessions with my BFF Tori, I haven’t been so sore or happy in maybe forever. I love challenging my body, mind, and spirit with therapeutic exercise, and I am glad I seized this time to max myself out and see what I can endure. Every single day I did something new and hard and BOY I was/am sore from it all!

To top off what was an already incredible break from the daily grind, I had a trip to my home-away-from-home, New York City, scheduled at the end of the two weeks off! After enduring two scorching (literally and well, literally) days, I was eager to head for the city where A/C and rainy days reigned supreme. I didn’t pack for it very well (it doesn’t rain here often, see above), so I spent a few days a bit wet and cold, but the trip was a success nonetheless!

Such an amazing skyline.

Such an amazing skyline.

It was the most authentic NYC experience I’ve ever had. For one, I stayed in Astoria, Queens, in an up-and-coming neighborhood inhabited by Tori, her boyfriend, and their amazing cats. I had forgotten how much I miss having a cat around…and how much they SHED! Haha.

We did so many awesome things! We visited Astoria Park (make sure you check out the size of the public pool!), Astoria Bier & Cheese (watermelon beer, yes please), The Strand Smokehouse (hellooooo moonshine and meat-by-the-pound), Milkflower (opened two days earlier, lines already out the door!), Dutch Kills (truly authentic Prohibition-style bar, if you count both the drinks and the location) and The Queens Kickshaw for, get this, affordable breakfast tapas. I mostly just ate and drank my way through this amazing neighborhood.

Sheep's Meadow, looking remarkably like Wash Park minus the historic high rises.

Sheep’s Meadow, looking remarkably like Wash Park minus the historic high rises.

I did venture into some other boroughs, like oh, Manhattan, where I did more eating and drinking. The highlight, though, was my visit to Central Park on Saturday, which was a gorgeous day and more than made up for the rain. It was a lazy, lazy afternoon spent lounging with most of my best gals from college, trying to muster up some energy to go eat lunch at 5:00 pm. Soooooo authentic if I don’t say so myself. :)

The visit ended with a sunrise trip to a street taco stand after dancing for hours at a warehouse party in Somewhere Random (okay Bushwick), Brooklyn, in what my girlfriends and I were pretty convinced is the same warehouse featured in that one Girls episode.  (I can’t believe that statement myself, just roll with me.)

What's my blog without a concert pic, eh?

Proof. 

Anyway, needless to say, in the City That Never Sleeps, I took my cues from Jay-Z and waited until takeoff from LGA at 7:45 am to finally pass out.

Which sort of brings me to now. And the part I’m sure you’ve been waiting for anxiously.

I got a job. (!!!!!)

Today was my first day and so far so good! I’m excited about the work, I’m eager to learn from some veterans in the industry, and I’m already making friends. :) I’ll try to check back soon-ishly and let you know how things are going. Hopefully my life continues along this awesome trend of awesomeness, because gosh I’m enjoying things right now.

Till then, xoxo Pamela

 

 

Funemployment…?

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So I’m officially unemployed.

It’s only been 3 days, but I’ve already experienced more ups and downs in that time than most people do in months. Perhaps that’s just how I operate, though? Life in my head is nothing if not dramatic.

What have I been up to since then? Well, the weekend was spent trying to distract myself from the fact that I no longer have a job. So I partied.

Sibling party!

Sibling party!

A bunch of my friends ended up at my fave venue, Cervantes, jamming to the funk sounds of Lettuce. What a good night! My brother and his buddy joined me, as did my my friend’s two sisters. Good ole fashioned family fun. :) Shots may or may not have been involved…

I actually had an interview first thing Monday morning (3 hours straight starting at 8:30 AM, shoo!), so that was a good way to keep myself focused and productive despite the fact that I had no office to show up at this week. Such a crazy feeling!!! I tend to think of my life as a calendar, which is totally empty after June 16. Just, nothing. Blank, open days. Obviously my fingers are crossed hoping that I have a job to fill the space starting on June 17th, but for right now it’s this endless stretch of availability that makes me feel exceptionally anxious.

Luckily, I have some great activities in place to distract myself.

1) Interviews

Whoda thunk that this was a great market to find oneself laid off? I’ve already had two interviews this week, and I’m hopefully going to hear back about one or two offers possibly today or tomorrow. I’m not sure if it’s the industry I’m in (advertising/marketing/digital), the city where I’m so fortunate to live (which, based on the amount of construction, is growing like crazy), or the difference two years makes on a resume (at a job where I did a LOT), but I’ve been landing interviews left and right! My last week at work, I basically wasn’t in the office because I had so many interviews scheduled offsite.

Now, I’m not tooting my own horn here, because I still haven’t locked anything down and I’ve been hunting for a job for about a month, but I’m just feeling so pleased at how the process is moving along so far. It’s stressful and demanding and draining to be looking, but it’s also affirming. I feel like a pretty solid candidate for a wide array of roles, and I’ve had enough companies interested in me to feel confident in that.

2) Daytime workouts

Is there anything better than taking a run through the park at 10:15 on a weekday?

Midday rainbow!

Midday rainbow!

I love the slightly subversive feeling I get when I’m out enjoying the world while everyone else is trapped in an office. The 9-5 (hah, more like 8 – 6) working populace doesn’t generally get to enjoy the odd hours of the day that I’m reveling in right now, and the feeling is so freeing.

Running, park exercise, and a free week of yoga at a local gym, Qi,  are currently on my funemployment schedule, and I plan to whip my butt into shape with the next two weeks off!

3) Eating good food

I also plan to tantalize my taste buds with good, healthy food while I have access to my kitchen and new, awesome places to explore. Just last night, I dined at local pizza sensation Pizzeria Locale, which is a neat Chipotle-style pick-your-own-toppings fast-casual dining spot new to the area. So tasty! I followed up the delicious meal with a stop at Sweet Action to indulge my ice cream desires. Also super tasty!

Monday night I found myself celebrating unemployment with my boyfriend at an AMAZING Japanese spot called Domo. The setting is supposed to echo a zen garden, and it truly did just that. We dined outside under the gorgeous sunset next to koi ponds and little bridges, stuffing our faces with gyoza, miso soup, giant bowls of raw salmon and tuna donburri, and 7 little side dishes that come with every meal. I can’t wait to go back!!!

Just recently I discovered my newest favorite banh mi in town from an authentic spot called New Saigon Market.

Look how big that thing is!!!

Look how big that thing is!!!

It was easily the size of my forearm and like $5 to boot! Delicious, fresh, filling, and simple – my favorite.

4) Reading

OMG it’s embarrassing how little I read these days. So, I’m resolving to get a library card and start reading again! No more Pinterest, Facebook, and LinkedIn! My brain needs some stimulation and I’m prioritizing reading as my entertainment avenue the next few weeks. I’ve started with this and am considering this as the follow up. Anybody reading anything awesome right now?

In between interviews, obsessively checking my email, and dropping off thank you notes, I plan to relax, read, refresh, and reinvigorate myself. I’m so excited for  whatever’s next in my life, but for right now I’m trying to live in the moment and appreciate the little things.

So now, off to yoga to get my om on! See you soon!

6.5.13

 

The Day I Became an Adult

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5.2.13

So let’s not get caught up in pretense and formalities and just dive right in.

I’ve missed this space. I say it every time I come back and visit, but gosh it feels good to hang out here every so often, particularly when my world is swirling around me. Upheaval and panic and doubt ensue, but here I can wrangle my thoughts and force them to assemble upon the page in some semblance of order.

And let me tell you, there is some serious wrangling in order.

Yeah. So.

I was laid off yesterday.

I want to say that again. It still doesn’t sound real. Or applicable – I mean, 26 year old women don’t get laid off. I understand, perhaps, the 45 year old man. That makes sense to me. I’ve seen it in the movies.

But surely not…me?

Except, yes, me. And so I was laid off yesterday.

How do enthusiastic, reliable, successful, and nice young women get laid off, though? I mean, how does that jive with my paradigm of my career? How do I wrap my brain around the fact that my job was literally just taken away from me, like a rug ripped out from under my feet? My life, once a series of questions marks and blind corners, has firmed up into something very predictable, very comfortable, and very good. I can’t understand why this must change in 6 weeks.

Except I should have seen this coming. I should have been better prepared.

We all knew that our biggest client wouldn’t be around forever. That if they left, a lot of good people would have to, too. Well, yesterday, the client left. And 15 people at my company of 40-something were let go. We were told as a group, given our packets, and left with some number of weeks of paid time to figure something else out. We were not fired, we were not failing at our jobs, and we were not at fault. My CEO cried as he delivered the news.

Denver’s agency market is suddenly flooded with good talent, in case the world is watching.

I have until May 31st to figure something else out, so gosh golly I’m getting right to it. My resume is straightened up and my big girl panties are on. I already have multiple leads to consider and a coffee date or two scheduled. I know that I can do this, because I did it once before. And now, unlike the last job hunt, my skill set is tangible and demonstrable, my digital knowledge is robust, and my confidence is unshakeable. I truly believe there is nothing I can’t do (besides maybe really hard math :) ), and I’m eager to learn from this experience and move upwards and onwards.

Wednesday, May 1st will go down as the day I finished with whatever scraps of naivete I still cherished. My dedication to a job, to a boss, to a team, may never quite be the same. My outdated resume may never again lie untended. My loyalty may never again stand without wavering. And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. It’s important to be able to see the positive in a job – the friendships, the growth opportunities, the great work/life balance – but it’s equally important to discard the rose colored glasses and assess the situation for what it really is. I saw the writing on the wall. I knew I was headed for the chopping block if the worst case scenario manifested. And yet for some reason I’m still sitting here staring at a computer screen for about the 12th hour today, polishing up a resume that hasn’t been updated in over a year.

I will miss my friends when I depart officially. I will miss the processes that I had mastered and found easy. I will miss the comfort of the known.

But I am eager to embark on whatever comes next and make this gravely adult experience beneficial and worthwhile. I relish this next chapter. It’s long overdue!!!

xoxo, Pamela

Cheers!

Cheers!

The Call of the Wild

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It’s been a good winter.

I’m lucky enough to have the funds, friends, and fervor to keep a really hectic ski lifestyle going on in this city. Basically, my weekends are ski adventures punctuating what is a fairly predictable and manageable workload the other 5 days of the week. While that all blurs together, my weekends are vivid highlights that I’m eager to document and remember.

Since January, I’ve skied almost every weekend (every weekend?) at practically every mountain in the state of Colorado.

Thus far this season I’ve tackled: A Basin, Breckenridge, Beaver Creek, Copper, Keystone, Steamboat, Winter Park, Vail and Telluride. I’m stoked to ski Monarch this weekend – that’s a totally off-the-beaten-path mountain that I’ve heard is spectacular.

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No matter what has happened in a given week, how I’m feeling the day of the trip, what the weather is like, or how much snow has fallen, nothing makes me happier than strapping into my boots first thing in the morning and hopping a chair lift to the top of a gorgeous mountain.

Nothing can compare to the feel of that first run of the day. I’ve been hungover, grumpy, cold, annoyed, uncomfortable, and sore, and it all suddenly disappears when you take the first big deep breath of mountain air. Suddenly, the only thing that matters is feeling the rush of the wind past your cheeks on a fun, challenging, and exhilarating run down a bright white hill. Image

The best part of this season has no doubt been how quickly I’ve advanced in this game. I joke that while I don’t have much skill, I have lots of heart. I want to be out on the mountain every weekend getting better and better. I want to take a tough run down some bumpy trees. I want to listen to feedback on my form, my skill, my speed. While it’s not surprising that I’m striving every day to get better, it is surprising how much passion this sport has sparked for me. 

I always say yes. I’m always down for another run, for a tough patch of trees, for an out-of-bounds hike. Just this past weekend I borrowed bigger, fatter, longer skis than what I’m used to and challenged myself in some deep powder with some advanced buddies. No, I can’t quite keep up. No, I’m not nearly as fast as they are. No, I can’t actually stop in the powder. Details! What matters is that I’m out in the wild as my visceral, physical self without a care in the world. Image

The settings are gorgeous. The landscape is alien. The air is dry. And when I’m floating over a patch of powder dodging between a clump of trees with good friends flanking me the whole way down, life is good. There is nothing quite like being a tiny, happy human on a giant beautiful mountain to put everything right in the world.

This is what Colorado is all about.

Keeping Up

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I’ve never been a particularly good diary keeper, which I think has translated poorly to the maintenance of this blog. When I was cooking and obsessively reading food blogs and living a life conducive to photographing my food, documenting my accomplishments on this blog was an easy thing to do.

But now I live like a nomad, sleeping in this hotel or this couch or this mountain home virtually every weekend, skiing till I’m too exhausted to function on Mondays, then moving too quickly through the week to get it all in order before guests fly in, cars drive away from the city, and the crazed weekend begins again.

A perfect bluebird day.

A perfect bluebird day.

I’m not going to lie, my life is pretty awesome right now. Things are charmed, there’s no other way to put it. I live somewhere where I can pack up my gear and friends and energy and head for the hills for a 48 hour vacation every single week, and it is amazing. Beyond that, I also just really really really enjoy skiing.

Ali shredding some mogule-y trees!

Ali shredding some moguly trees!

This past weekend, my cousin Hannah and my gal Ali (yay yay yay for cool new girlfriends yay!) drove up to Winter Park, a brand new mountain to all of us. The best part is they had just received like 23 inches of new snow, so not only was the terrain incredible, the conditions were perfect! Blue skies, powder to my shins, close family, and great friends – there is nothing better.

Yay skiing with cool girls! Boo on looking short and stumpy... I swear we're all tall!

Yay skiing with cool girls! Boo on looking short and stumpy… I swear we’re all tall!

So I’m essentially nothing but a weekend warrior ski bum these days, which means I’ve fallen to my poor diary-keeping habits from the past – writing only when I’m emotional and still enough to jot something down. Which is, to say, infrequently.

But rest assured that I still love to cook. And EAT. So while I actually do prepare many of my meals (breakfast always, lunch rarely, dinner sometimes), my food has become increasingly less photogenic as my culinary time has become limited and efficient.

Minestrone soup with mirepoix, zucchini, cannellini beans, ditalini pasta, crushed tomatoes and parm.

Minestrone soup with mirepoix, zucchini, cannellini beans, ditalini pasta, crushed tomatoes and parm.

See what I mean? This is a deliciously tasty, super easy, incredibly healthy, and SERIOUSLY UGLY dinner that is exclusively the type of meal I’ve been making for several months now. One pot meals are where it’s at! Lots of vegetables, leftovers for days, and quick and easy to boot!

Ravioli with zucchini and onions in a sun-dried tomato yogurt sauce.

Ravioli with zucchini and onions in a sun-dried tomato yogurt sauce.

No matter how hard I tried to make that look appetizing, I’m pretty sure I failed spectacularly. Oh well, I guess I’m really not trying to impress anyone, and this is nothing if not an honest blog. And honestly this stuff tastes great – if only everyone could try some!

Perhaps one day I’ll slow back down and have the time to cook, photograph, and write again in an meaningful way. Perhaps not. In the meantime, I’m enjoying my momentary brushes with prosaic creativity through whatever avenue brings me here.

Solitude

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Memphis on New Years

Memphis on New Years

So, sad day. I have no photos from the past weekend because my phone memory was totally full with music. This is very fixable, but required me actually sitting down and fixing it…and I never got around to it, so a very fun, jam-packed and exhausting weekend went undocumented. Actually, two weekends went by with no photos. (And boys, who make up majority of my social groups, really don’t take pictures.) Which is fine. Why do I need all these photos, anyway? They’re fun but are essentially just adding to the digital clutter being amassed by my generation.

I do, however, use my photos as a way to ground and guide my blog posts, which are otherwise meandering and pointless.

So while these weekends were great fun (a lovely 4 day adventure in Steamboat Springs with lots of company and skiing and a 3 day visit from Nashville friends who just wanted to ski and dance), I don’t feel super compelled to write about them in detail. These weekends, which comprise the majority of my 48 hours of freedom, are generally full of alcohol and skiing and dancing and dining out and cramming as much as I can into my two days off, without a lot of time spent alone being reflective or personally productive.

I had a conversation with my good friend Pat today about solo time and its role in our lives. He made the point that he is really focused on his career right now (he’s in med school), so being alone and introspective gives him the mental space to think about all the decisions he’s making, day in and day out, regarding the rest of his life.

Wow.

In contrast, I don’t have a lot of major decisions or goals fueling my everyday existence. Should I ski Saturday or Sunday? Should I spent my limited funds on a trip to Tahoe or Snowball in March? Where should I eat for lunch? Do I want to see RJD2 on Friday?

There’s no reason I should be complaining about this – and I’m not. I’m totally down to enjoy being young, unencumbered and liquid. I think it’s partly Colorado’s laid back influence and partly my own choices, but I’ve situated myself somewhere where I’m fairly happy and rather content. I’ve got more then enough, too much even, going on, and the whirlwind is satisfying and enjoyable and absorbing. It’s hard to slow down once you’ve sped up.

And it’s what I’ve always wanted! This lifestyle, one of privilege and opportunity and extraversion, is what I came to Denver seeking. Well, I honestly don’t know what I came to Denver seeking but I definitely wasn’t this busy or committed or popular when I lived in Nashville. I think Denver has filled something inside me I always knew was missing in Nashville.

But then I hear wise friends tell me how important solitude is to their mental health. I see people doing amazing things with their personal time. I see determination beating all the odds.  And I can’t help but wonder if I’m doing something wrong. Am I favoring a life of easy decisions, of contentment, of shallow endeavors instead of truly challenging myself to be the best possible version of Pamela?

And this begs the question – what is that? I’m generally happy right now – isn’t that the ultimate goal?

Unfortunately, it’s hard to find “fun” a worthwhile endeavor when many are helping others, educating themselves professionally, or seeking career success. I feel underwhelmed by my innate lack of drive, lack of passion, lack of focus. I yearn for whatever it is that motivates people to work so hard for a tangible goal that they can concretely achieve.

I guess I’m just feeling disappointed with the fact that I feel like the exemplary boring rich white girl, when I take so much pride in somehow being different from them all. I want to be something necessary, something unique, something notable, and instead I’m just floating through life from one fun thing to the other. Again – I don’t know if that’s a bad thing.

But is it the right thing?

Still figuring that out.

Till then, xoxo Pamela

New Year’s Resolutions

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1.15.13

Oh my it’s been a while. Every time I’ve had a deep thought over the past several weeks, I’ve planned to put it on the blog with depth and emotion and insight, only to hurtle quickly into the next thing without every setting foot in this space. It’s tragic. My Catholic upbringing makes me feel so guilty for not following through with my intentions, but really, I don’t mind visiting this space only infrequently. My life is very full and honestly, my computer and internet are slow, so this takes a lot of time I don’t often have. Also I’m good at making excuses. ;)

Somehow since I last blogged, it became 2013. Sadly, as the clock struck midnight I was on the floor of a bar picking up glass from a champagne flute I carelessly knocked from a girl’s hands, kicking off the year in a way I hope is not reflective of the next 12 months. Oops.

Actually, the holiday at home was exceptionally pleasant. It gave me a much needed break from the hustle and bustle in Denver while reminding me of the special and incredible people I have in my life down South. I am blessed to have friends from my various pasts all over Nashville, a network that has taken years and years to build. I have to remember that sentiment as I struggle sometimes to find my niche in this new city. In contrast, visiting Nashville also reminded me how much I love this new town that has become my home, so utterly and so thoroughly, and I enjoyed the time to breathe and reflect on all of these realizations.

The past year has been nothing if not formative, challenging, and blissful. I am by turns passionately in love with the people around me, the work I do, the talents I posesss, and the love I feel; and hopelessly sad, lonely, unsatisfied, and doubtful by others. I am not the same girl I was a year ago, and while I’m grateful for the growth 2012 inspired, I wonder if the Pamela I want to be is the person I’m cultivating day by day.

2013 is a year of big things. I will no longer be on my mother’s health insurance (26 here I come!). I will be closer to 30 than 20. I won’t be “new” to Denver. My mother will be rehabbing from surgery and my brother is planning to graduate. Life is speeding up in ways unimaginable, and I will probably spend the year trying to slow it down. I have plans virtually every weekend until March, and on into May and even October. This year will be over before I know it. So I hope I have something to show for it on the other side.

Yes, there are resolutions. Well, resolution, singular. Make mental health a priority. This is broad. Good, because it gives me options. Bad, because it lacks focus. It encompasses a huge number of actions I could take, and I hope I do, but this also means I might favor easier choices than harder ones. Thus, I’ve made a list to hold myself accountable.

I’m getting real honest up in here. Bear with me.

1) Find a therapist. An unbiased, reasonable figure who has no choice but to listen to me and possibly offer advice sounds like the best thing ever. I’m prioritizing this for February, when my new health insurance kicks in.

2) Cut back on substances. I’ve decided that I like me more when I’m living in an unaltered state, just existing and not forcing the issue. Not only is it healthier and cheaper, I feel like a better girlfriend, employee, and individual when my head is clear. Plus, waking up without a hangover on a Sunday is AWESOME. I definitely want to enjoy myself, but not at the expense of well, myself.

3) Keep doing yoga. I’m usually good about going to my free Thursday night class, but as of Jan 1 it’s been moved to Fridays. Sooooo bummed out. Thus, I need to find a new class and make sure I’m actually going. I’ll be good for a few weeks, but then I fall off the bandwagon for a while and basically have to start all over with my practice. Yoga is my meditation, exercise, and me-time all in one. So necessary!

4) Be intentionally creative. I want to learn to paint, I want to pick my violin back up, I want to read more, I want to write more, and I want to cook more. Instead of just wanting and wishing and hoping, I need to intentionally DO. Being talented or recognized or successful isn’t the point. Doing is the point.

5) Value good memories in the midst of bad. I let any negative thing that happens to me gain more power than it should and eat all of the pleasure out of the rest of my life. I struggle to recognize this as it’s happening, but with practice, intention and that therapist from #1, I’m hopeful I can remember all that is amazing, wonderful, exceptional, and good in the face of bad.

Shoo! This is a big list!

So, here goes nothing. This is truly a year-long resolution, because actually executing on everything will take a lot of effort, a lot of determination, and a lot of focus on the final goal. But I’m okay with that. For the first time in my life, I’m okay with the fact that my big hopes and dreams are actually pretty small. I don’t want to be famous. I don’t want to be the CEO of anything. I don’t want to go to grad school. I don’t want to be filthy rich or amazingly beautiful or married with children (yet).

I just want to be mentally healthy. Right now, that’s everything. And that’s enough.

To 2013! Best of luck in your own New Year’s resolutions. :)

xoxo, Pamela

Getting Caught Up

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As all of you know if you’ve been following along for a while or have spent any time with me in person, I’m an emotional bundle. Since the day I was born, I’ve been a dramatic individual with tendencies towards one extreme or another. I speak in hyperbole, I emote deeply, I get excited and disappointed very easily, and I have trouble seeing the bad when I’m happy – or the good when I’m sad.

I feel like a walking melodrama.

 

Peace and sunsets.

Peace and sunsets.

So sometimes on this blog, you get peppy upbeat me and sometimes you get depressive me, but no matter what you get super emotional me. This space turned a long time ago from a food blog to a Denver blog, and recently to an online diary that I tend to about as well as I tend to my plants. But no matter what, this is a space that gives me joy, pride, and a personal corner of the internet to treasure whenever I choose to visit.

My lovely new Indian rope plant!

Speaking of plants!

So today I want to get all emotional about something random. Look at my new plant!

Such an interesting thing!

So interesting and unique!

This new guy is called an Indian rope plant, or a Krinkle Kurl, which I cannot possibly bear to call such a lovely thing. It is very clearly my lack of a pet or hobby or sanity how much I’m love with this new guy, but I’m pretty sure I’ve gotten mushy gushy to strangers about this plant since I got it last week. My relationship to my plants has become pretty serious, except when I forget to water them for a week. One day, I really want to have an apartment full of plants – they keep your oxygen fresh, they make a room feel so cozy, and they are such good decoration! One day, I may also have an apartment full of cats, and that’s when you should really be concerned.

Other things I’ve been stoked on recently? SKIING.

Sunday Funday.

Sunday Funday with some new friends.

I’ve skied 7 days this season (so far!), and although I could easily be skiing every day if my schedule and lifestyle permitted, I’m pretty durned pleased with how often I’ve been able to get out. Almost every weekend since Arapahoe Basin opened! Each day I’ve felt more confident than the trip before, to the point where even my boyfriend (a badass snowboarder) commented on how much better I’ve become since last season. I feel better, which is the most important part of a sport where confidence and courage are half the battle. We’ll see what happens when the backsides of the mountain open up, though! I may end up being far less skilled that I imagine when push comes to shove. It’s finally snowing here, so I’m hopeful when I return from my extended Christmas vacation I can put my ski legs to the challenge!

Changing my life!

Changing my life!

Other new things that have been rocking my world outside of greenery and white stuff (erm…) include this amazing butcher block table I found on Craigslist a few weeks ago. I have little to no counter space in my new apartment and had been working on the charming but low vintage ceramic table that came with my kitchen. It made cooking less than enjoyable, honestly. Adding all this usable workspace to my routine has revolutionized my cooking in the past month. I’ve been photographing food again!

Hot oats in a jar with fresh strawberries.

Hot oats in a jar with fresh strawberries.

Despite the fact that I never blog about food anymore, I still do cook many of my meals.  At the very least, I make a legitimate breakfast every morning, including concoctions like the one above. Whipped banana oatmeal (courtesty of Kath) dumped hot into an emptyish almond butter jar and topped with fresh strawberries is a recent rave, along with my most favorite of breakfasts, fancy pancakes.

Sauteed apples with protein pancakes and

Cinnamon pears with pecans and eggy pancakes. 

I need to make more time for pancakes! So good! This past weekend I made sweet potato pancakes that were really stinkin’ ugly but super deslish and filling. I have been on a potato kick recently that started when I made Jenna’s potato chowder and probably ended when I overdosed on my friend Andrew’s gutbomb amazingness of a tartiflette, which I thoroughly enjoyed despite my suspected lactose intolerance. 

I roasted chiles for this and everything!

I roasted chiles for this and everything!

So anyway, earlier tonight, I had a really lovely dinner with a dear friend who is about to have a baby, and being around her was infectious. She is positive and upbeat and excited about the coming changes in her life, and it felt very nice to be around someone so pleasant and peaceful and grateful. Her new baby will be brand new at the beginning of 2013, which seems like a lovely date to mark the huge shift her life is about to take. I’m a big fan of new years, with new chapters and resolutions and celebrations to be had (my big 26 is coming up and woah that’s practically adulthood), and I’m ready to embark on 2013 and see what’s next for me, too. I’ve felt stagnant, I think, and something about January 1 gets me all revved up to tackle whatever is next.

I’m ready for it.

12.17.12

Bring it on, Denver.

If I don’t visit this space again before the holidays – I hope everyone has a lovely time. See you on the other side!

xoxo, Pamela

 

 

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