Microadventures #44-#45: Meeting Seth and Nik in Mexico City

Microadventure #44: Chris, me, and Seth at GinGin in Mexico City

Before heading to Mexico, Chris introduced me via Whatsapp to a couple of his friends, Seth and Nik, he’d known from his Men’s group in Bali who were now living in Mexico City.

Seth was able to meet us the first night, right after arriving in Mexico. The restaurant he’d picked out, GinGin, was just a few short blocks from our Condesa hotel.

Seth was very easy to talk to and I took an immediate liking to him. First of all, he actually knew all about Agile coaching (my profession). It’s pretty rare for people to have even heard of the profession and Seth could actually explain Agile coaching even better than I could! Impressive!

Secondly, Seth was willing to put up with my yenta-like questions about his love life. He’s a cute, recently single guy looking for a smart, independent red-head. I took it on as a personal goal to find him a match. I am VERY serious about my goals, and I really did look for a match for him for the rest of the week.

The closest I got was a red-haired older chiropractor — I did ask him if he had any red-haired daughters, but he said they were half-Peruvian and wouldn’t fit the bill.

When I reported back to Seth at the end of the week, he was not discouraged. He had complete faith in me. I told him I’d keep looking. (Plan B is to dye my hair red and find a good plastic surgeon who can make me look 15 years younger.)

Microadventure #45: Nik, Chris, Seth, and me at Pad Thai, Mexico City

On our final day, we were back in Mexico City, and this time Nik was able to join us, as well. Me and 3 cute guys? Absolutely, a super-fun microadventure for me!

Nik is a life-coach with a popular podcast, LifeAthletics, which is all about using a training framework to find success in life. I’m very interested in coaching and the health and wellness industry, so I immediately subscribed.

Nik and Seth had been to a story-telling event the night before and shared the experience with us. At first, I’d felt a little envious, wishing I could have gone to the event, but was very happy that they shared their stories so it’s like I got a private viewing! It was really fun to get to know these guys more personally than I ever would have been able to at a story-telling event.

Like Seth (and Chris), Nik is very articulate, smart, and confident. He talked about the Men’s group that they were all a part of and it sounded so interesting that I wished I could be part of it, too. Of course, there are lots of women’s groups, but I think being a fly on a wall of a men’s group would be much more interesting… probably because men typically act differently when women are around.

I feel really lucky that I was able to have a little peek into “that world” as I watched the banter between Seth, Nik, and Chris. They had this great intellectual energy. I love debates and discussions, and, again these men all were masters of communication.

When I meet people traveling, I’m always a little sad if I think I might never see them again. In this case, though, I know I’ll be able to hear Nik on his podcast. And Seth? Well.. he promised to invite me to his wedding once I find his next girlfriend, so.. yeah, I’ll definitely see him then!

Full set of Microadventures in Mexico City / San Miguel de Allende:

Microadventure #41-#43: Learning from Chris

Microadventure #41: Practicing Spanish

One of the most fun things about going on an international trip for me is trying to speak in a different language.

Chris is probably the most worldly-wise friend I have. He’s lived in a bunch of different countries and knows Spanish (as well as Japanese, Indonesian, French, and, of course, English) fluently. He has a work-from-anywhere job as a translator in the Japanese financial industry.

Though he didn’t have to work much, I thought it was super-cool that he had the flexibility to even work from the charming Home Exchange Casita we stayed at in SMA.

I love languages and when I was young I imagined how cool it would be to have a job where I could travel the world and be fluent in multiple languages. Even though that didn’t happen for me (yet!) it’s fun for me to live vicariously through Chris by witnessing him in action.

Chris was such a supportive mentor and coach as I muddled through my own attempts at Spanish. Even though his Spanish language skills are far superior to mine, he was always encouraging me to practice.

Microadventure #42: El Charco de Ingenio

Another one of my favorite things about Chris is that he’s quite nerdy! He gets excited about the Moonset and Moonrise calendar, converting Celsius to Fahrenheit, Acre to Hectare, and finding a defect in this interesting Sundial contraption (Observatario Solar) at El Charco del Ingenio Botanical Gardens.

I wish I’d gotten a picture of Chris cupping the light in his hand at the Solar Observatory structure that’s behind him in this picture. The sunlight coming through a hole is supposed to tell you the date and time by it’s placement, as long as it was +/- 3 hours from midday.

However, Chris was able to determine that the description was not quite accurate. We were within the appropriate timeframe, yet the all important sun-dot was not yet hitting the floor.

Having spent time in quality assurance, I wished I could have politely noted the inaccurate description with a sticky note for other patrons. Chris used his Spanish skills to make a young intern aware of the errant description, who undoubtedly will get it corrected immediately. At least let’s hope so!

Since I come from a big engineering family, I am most comfortable around smart people who love to calculate, problem-solve, and question. I love it when Chris “talks nerdy to me.”

But, as someone who spent too much of her childhood in libraries, I had the most fun playing on the slide at El Charco.

Microadventure #43: Swimming at La Gruta

Pool at La Gruta Hot Springs

La Gruta Hot Springs was another outing recommended to us while in San Miguel de Allende adventure. We thought it would be interesting to experience a Temazcal Ceremony which was one of the services advertised on their Website.

Unfortunately, maybe because of Covid, neither the Temazcal Ceremony nor massages were available, but there still were relaxing, warm-water pools, including one that ran through a tunnel into an enclosed pool.

Even though the closures were a bit of a let down, I still loved swimming in the warm pools. My swimming skills are a definite “growth opportunity” and it turns out that swimming is another one of Chris’s many talents!

I took the opportunity to get some tips from him on how I could improve and I’m already seeing a little difference. I’ll be ready to hit the pool all summer!

So Spanish, Science, and Swimming are all skills that Chris helped me improve on this San Miguel soirée!

Full set of Microadventures in Mexico City / San Miguel de Allende:

Microadventure #40 Dancing to Mariachi Music in San Miguel de Allende

Though I have lots of pretty pictures of colorful San Miguel de Allende, this is not a “travel blog” post. There were many scenes that I savored, especially the iconic La Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel, viewing in varying lights during sunset from a rooftop bar.

OK, I’ll include just one of my photos of that gorgeous church, with the recognition that none of my photographs (nor even those of the professionals) can capture the feeling of awe it inspires.

Microadventure #40 – Dancing to Mariachi Music with Chris in front of La Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel after dinner at Hanks.

The moment that was the most special to me in the presence of this pink masterpiece, was with Chris on our final night in SMA. We had just enjoyed a delicious seafood dinner at Hanks, a memorable “New Orleans”-style restaurant, recommended by Kathy and Vic, an Australian couple we’d met earlier that day.

Chris was in a particularly smiley and satisfied mood. When we left the restaurant and were strolling through El Jardin, he spontaneously grabbed my hand and twirled me around to the music of the mariachi players.

It was just a little dance move, but I love dancing, and the sweetness of that spin in such a romantic setting was a fairy-tale moment.

Full set of Microadventures in Mexico City / San Miguel de Allende:

Microadventure #39: Rebecca’s Herbal Apothecary with Cathy

After listening to music at the Boulder Creek Festival, Cathy and I strolled along one of my favorite places in Boulder – the Pearl Street Mall. However, even though I’ve been up and down the Pearl Street Mall dozens of times, I’d never been to Rebecca’s Herbal Apothecary – a unique store at 1227 Spruce Street, just a block North of Pearl Street.

Cathy said she wanted to show me the store and as soon as I saw it, I understood why! It’s wonderfully unique with the neat variety of products ranging from teas to books to essential oils with every imaginable scent!

I immediately thought of the Only in Your State – Colorado newsletter I subscribe to which sends out a daily article about unique places to visit in Colorado. This is exactly the type of place they’d feature. And here I’ve lived close to Boulder for over 20 years and I’m just discovering this special place now!

I loved the old-fashioned mystical feel of the place – almost as if it were a store on Diagon Alley from the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Everything was so neatly in it’s place that it did almost seem as if it was a fictional setting in a movie – yet everything here was real!

I tried the sample of the mint tea that was available to patrons and it was the most delicious tea ever! So sweet without sugar – apparently it was the licorice that created the sweetness. I purchased a bag to share with my daughter-in-law who is always on the lookout for healthy sugar substitutes.

I was curious about exactly what the definition of an “apothecary” would be – an old-fashioned pharmacy? Actually, after researching a bit, my interpretation is that a modern-day apothecary is one that goes a bit beyond traditional Western medicines using herbs and other natural ingredients to create a variety of wellness products. This article lists other modern-day apothecaries.. One more publication that I will be making aware of Rebecca’s Herbal Apothecary.

And, of course, the fact that the store is local owned by a woman is cause to support and celebrate. I have a lot of admiration for store-owners that have survived and thrived throughout Covid and the many other challenges of the times.

How fun that Cathy shared this unexpected Microadventure with me and made me aware of such a magical place!

Microadventure #38 Boulder Creek Festival with Adam and Cathy

I have to admit, I haven’t been blogging as much about my “Microadventures” since I’ve been back home in Colorado. To be honest, I’ve been kind of moody. My winter in Florida was full of sunshine, new adventures with unlimited time to explore.

Since I’ve been home, I’ve been dealing with the responsibilities of home maintenance and chores. And it was colder in May than it was all winter in Florida! I also had some work (I taught a class and had a writing assignment) and had some goodbyes since my son and daughter-in-law moved to North Carolina.

We’ve had so many sad events going on in the world. Somehow I’d imagined that once Covid was no longer a threat, things would feel “normal” again. But now two of my three kids have moved from Colorado. Many of the friends I used to hang out with regularly have ‘moved on.’ I’ve been seriously thinking of selling my Colorado home and following Matt and Stella to North Carolina.

Then I went to the Boulder Creek Festival with my good long-time friends, Adam and Cathy, and remembered how much I loved Boulder and being able to spend time with friends who know me well.

The weather has finally warmed up and the festival is full of music and dancing. Boulder is so eclectic with people of all ages unabashedly being themselves. I’ve always been grateful that the culture here has always seemed to me to be one of acceptance.

I told Adam and Cathy how I was considering moving and how conflicted I felt about it. Adam (who is good with quotes) recited one of his favorites:

If we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change.

I like the quote and it’s a reminder that things do change. Unfortunately, even with change, we can’t get back to the way things were. I know I’m mourning the loss of connectedness I used to feel with family all around. I’m mourning the loss of my home before I’ve even moved, because I know it’s not the same.

But as I was sitting listening to music, taking in all the sites of the Boulder Creek Festival, and enjoying the company of good friends, I savored the familiar feeling of being ‘home.’ Just like in life, knowing that my time here is limited, makes me more determined than ever not to take a minute of it for granted.

Microadventure #37: The Dr. Seuss Experience with Diego and Reneya

Diego, Me, and Reneya with The Cat in the Hat at the Dr. Seuss Experience

Every May, my daughter and son-in-law take a getaway trip to celebrate their wedding Anniversary and I get some quality time with my two grandkids, Diego (almost 13) and Reneya (almost 11).

When I saw that an immersive “Dr. Seuss Experience” was open in Centennial, I thought that might be a fun microadventure for us to do together. I was a little concerned that they may feel like they had outgrown Dr. Seuss (they’re much more interested in Harry Potter and Star Wars these days).

The description said it was fun for all ages, so I took a chance. Reneya, who’s going to be in the musical, Seussical, this summer was on board, but Diego was not exactly jumping up and down with excitement about the suggestion. I was probably the most excited and happy to have a chance to wear Seuss-like attire.

It turns out, we all agreed, the experience surpassed all of our expectations.

The experience was creative and colorful and… just magical! It was whimsy at its best!

There were several different rooms representing different Dr. Seuss books. Each of them created this surreal feeling of stepping into an imaginary world filled with the curious characters and scenes created by Dr. Seuss.

Ah! A chance to be tall!

There were lights and illusions throughout the whole experience. I especially liked this artistic display full of black cut-outs of Seuss characters and objects.

However when you stand in the designated “Stand Here” spot and look at the display, THIS is what you see!

Here’s what really generated the “That is SO COOL!” comments from the kids:

We were all surprised when this Cat in the Hat had an actual conversation with us! He clearly was not a live person and so at first we thought whatever he was saying was a recording. When it became clear that he could see and hear us (somehow!) we were amazed!

If you love creativity, color, and the magic of Dr. Seuss, you’ll love this at any age!

Will you like it, young or old?
Yes you'll like it, shy or bold.
You will like it, you will see!
You will like it, just trust me!

Microadventure #36: Kentucky Derby / St. Paddy’s Party with Ed

Ed Zitt with his friend, Tom, at the 2022 St. Paddy’s / Kentucky Derby Party

I met Ed Zitt, the host of this week’s Microadventure at the Boulder Kinetics Festival in 2014.

I’d been in one of my pity-party lonely moods. I’d invited about 10 different friends, but no one wanted to go with me to the festival. I remember very clearly setting a goal for myself to meet someone and that maybe that someone would become a life-long friend.

It’s definitely out of my comfort zone to talk to strangers, but thanks to my ‘goal’ at the Kinetics festival, I said ‘hello’ to Ed and we started talking about the band, The Vinyl Underground, that we both enjoyed.

I found an entry from my journal from that day, June 22, 2014: 

It turned out I loved going to the Kinetics Race and hearing the band, even though I was alone.  I met this man — Ed Zitt (who was hilarious about his name!  He talked about how people would ask about Mrs. Zitt and all the little pimples!)  Ed also loves Vinyl Underground and told me that every St. Patrick’s Day his friend hosts a big party and they were going to hire them to play.  He told me to ‘friend’ him on Facebook and he’d invite me to the party.  Ed’s married so there was no hint of anyone ‘hitting on’ anyone, but it was so cool to strike up a conversation and meet someone new with no agendas…  I realized that in some ways, going to the festival was more fun going alone than if I’d gone with friends…  It helps me feel more comfortable with meeting new people and/or worrying whether the people I invited are having a good time.  I can just focus on enjoying the atmosphere and the music and the sunshine, which is exactly what I did!

True to his word, Ed put me on his distribution list for his annual St. Patrick’s Day Party! And it turned out, he’s also friends with one of my best friends, Cathy Kerry!

Ed co-hosts the annual party with another “Ed” and I’ve gone every year that I’ve been in town for it. I soon learned that this tradition had been going on for decades!

Cathy and the St. Paddy’s Hall of Fame

However, because of Covid, both 2020 and 2021 parties were cancelled. In 2022, they decided to have a combined Kentucky Derby and St. Patrick’s Day Party on May 5th. This worked out great for me! I was still in Florida on St. Patrick’s Day, but back in Colorado just in time to attend. Plus, I love ‘theme’ parties and fun to dress for both St. Paddy’s Day and the Kentucky Derby!

Ed is an adventurer and someone who is the epitome of someone who lives life fully. The years I’ve attended his parties, I’m always greeted with such welcoming friendliness and enjoy hearing the stories of the parties of the past.

I don’t see Ed much in person, but thanks to Facebook, I do get to see his photos and experience that fun sense of humor of his. I’ve also been grateful that he’s been a contributor and supporter of my ALS efforts. A true Carpe Diem Connection!

So whenever you get in one of those situations where you feel alone, meet someone new – if you’re lucky like I was, you’ll meet someone like Ed.

Microadventure #35 Walk at Pella Crossing with Glenn

Glenn and me on a Walk at Pella Crossing Near Hygiene

The first few days I was back in Colorado, the weather was very cold and gloomy. I was colder in the first week of May in Colorado than I’d been all winter in Florida. It was downright depressing! In fact, I’ve seriously been thinking about selling my Colorado house. But I digress.

I know that when I start feeling depressed one of the best remedies for me is to get outside and walk. I checked Meetup and saw that Glenn Pinkerton, one of my favorite Walk/Hike Buddies, had scheduled a walk in a place I’d never been: Pella Crossing Near Hygiene.

Glenn is the primary leader of the Grey Wolves Meetup Group – a group that I’ve been a member of for at least 15 years. Only one other person, a nice guy named Lance, showed up for this walk. That ended up being great because Glenn and Lance were both excellent conversationalists so I was entertained and interested the whole time we walked.

The walk itself was much like a Florida walk, flat with ponds and water-birds. In fact, I would have thought I still was in Florida except the weather was cold!

Despite the cloudy, cool weather, by the end of the hike, I was no longer depressed at all. Walking, nature, and good conversation are the perfect recipe for improving one’s mood!

Microadventure #34: Road Trip Home with JJ

I’m back in Colorado, thanks to my friend, JJ. I actually call him “Jim” but since everyone else calls him JJ, I’m trying to get used to it. I actually called him “James” during this trip since that’s such a “chauffeur” name.

I met him first over 20 years ago because he worked for me at Sun Microsystems. We have a long history and I count on him as one of my best friends. How many other people would agree to make the long road trip back to Colorado with me?

JJ got into Tampa on Tuesday and the first thing we did was check the Flamingo Art that’s in the works. I’d been hoping to see this before heading back to Colorado and knew it was scheduled to be finished in the Spring. Not quite complete, but it’s getting there!

JJ grew up in the Ft. Lauderdale area and loves the beach. Even though he had to work (via computer) during the days, we got out in the evenings to the nearby beaches to eat, drink margaritas, and see the magnificent sunsets.

While we were picnicking on the beach Tuesday evening, JJ was admiring the 6-pack abs of a couple of guys playing frisbee. (I once read in “Men’s Health” that the first thing women notice about men are their abs. I totally disagree with that, but I guess men notice each others’ abs.. or at least JJ does, probably because he’s always working on his own.) Anyway, it turns out one of those guys with the good abs was Bill Brodie, son of former 49’er quarterback, John Brodie.

Bill chatted with us a bit and then went back to his frisbee playing. I don’t follow sports, but even I was excited to meet the son of a football star.

On Friday, JJ wrapped up work early and we hit the road. Google Maps estimates the route as 28 hours, going through Atlanta and Kansas City into Colorado.

JJ drove the whole way. (That tends to happen when I go on road trips with people who have experienced my driving.) Admittedly, I’m a nervous driver, especially with a passenger, so I don’t argue with people who want to drive.

It only would have been a couple of hour detour to stop by Quincy, Illinois to visit Aunt Nancy, and if I ever drive this route myself (or with someone who can afford to take it slowly) I’d love to stop for a visit. As it was, though, JJ wanted to get back home. In fact, if it was up to him, we would have driven straight through, but, wimp that I am about getting sleep, I took advantage of my Marriott points and reserved hotels in Atlanta and Topeka.

We made it home by about noon on Sunday, May 1, with absolutely no problems with the car or weather. There were a few slowdowns when going through Atlanta and Kansas City, but overall, it was incredibly smooth and absolutely the fastest of the 4 times I’ve made the journey by car.

I’m super grateful to JJ for his friendship and for getting us home safely!

Microadventures #32-#33 Poetry with Pat Williams Owen

Microadventure #32 Poetry Reading at Bookstore1Sarasota

Poetry! I love it. It’s like a puzzle that gives you that extra sense of satisfaction when completed. More than a puzzle – it’s wordplay. Wordplay combines two of my favorite things: Words and Play! Though poetry might not always be considered “playful,” I find it intriguing in its nuanced subtlety.

So, of course, when Becky asked if I wanted to join her for a Poetry Reading at a Bookstore1Sarasota earlier this month, I said, “Of course!” Even better, was that Becky personally knew one of the authors, Pat Williams Owen, who would be reading from her latest book of poetry, Bardo of Becoming, at the PoetryMic event.

Becky embraces her good friend, Pat Williams Owen, author of several books, including “Bardo of Becoming.”

Though I have a lot to learn about poetry, Pat’s poems certainly resonated with me, in that they were relatable and remind me of my own similar experiences.

This morning, when I was on the phone with my sister, who was telling me how frustrated she was that she couldn’t find her passport, I said: “Oh! Let me read you a poem by Pat Owen! It’s titled “When I Think I Have a Problem, I Generally Don’t.” (I love that title!)

The poem is about a lost earring, and the obsessive search that follows, ending with the earring being found “over layers of lint, there it was, glowing like a treasure.”

Michele noted that Pat’s earring was found the next day and that she’d been looking for her passport for more than 24 hours and would not be able to go on her planned trip without it, so… she still has a problem. (She wasn’t really in the mood for poetry. If she were, she’d undoubtedly write a poem titled, “Why Don’t You Believe Me? When I Think I Have a Problem, I Do!”)

But enough about Michele. Back to Pat.

Pat often introduced her poems with a question like, “How many of you have parents?” or some similar question that made us all chuckle. She’d go on to read a poem about her father with many of the mixed emotions so many of us have about our own parents. Feelings that our children may have about us.

The adventure continued yesterday with a privately hosted event where I was able to not only hear more of Pat’s poetry, but personally chat with her and others about her poems.

Becky did a wonderful job of playing emcee of this event at a beautiful home of Helen and Beatty, neighbors and friends of Pat’s. (I really think Becky should consider talk-show host as her next career.)

What a treat to actually be able to talk to Pat! She answered questions about the creative process and explained her thoughts when writing some of the poems. As I said, I think poetry can often seem like a mysterious puzzle with double meanings. How fun to be able to ask the author what she was thinking as she created her pieces.

Since April is National Poetry Month, I’d been meaning to learn more about poetry. Listening to these poems and buying Pat’s book has inspired me!

Microadventure #33: Private Poetry Reading and Discussion with Pat Williams Owen

I was inspired not just by Pat’s book and poetry, but by the post-discussion by all those who attended. This picture doesn’t show everyone in attendance (and excuse the poor photo where I cut off the head of the one male, one of our hosts!)

Each person has a story worthy of a book! What varied experiences from this learned group! I was so impressed with their accomplishments, wisdom, and creative endeavors!

They also had the humility to downplay their stories to which I’m afraid I may have been a little too harsh in my response, reminding them not to sell themselves short.

I know how much the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves matter. These people are incredible role models to everyone and I felt so lucky to have been able to share the afternoon with them all.