Running Away From Home

Rockies

Between the last post and this one I ran away from home.

Bear in mind, I’m not an advocate of running away from home (nor life) and there was much more involved in this impromptu foray than tying a makeshift hobo bag on the end of a stick, slinging it over my shoulder, and taking off for the wild blue yonder.

Let’s just say it was a realignment of my life…

A much needed one.

On the heels of the ‘mysterious cookbook project’ I’ve been editing since last Spring (more on that in a post or two!) and despite the contented musings in my last post, the same ol’ same ol’ was becoming all too familiar.

Don’t get me wrong! I love editing and I’m at peace with my Sis’s sudden passing. And, life on the lake with TMOFW is still wonderful… but… I was beginning to feel “at my wit’s end.” It was time to do something off the wall.

Different. Spontaneous. Grown-up girl.

And just plain fun!

After submitting my last-minute RSVP to Google+’s VIPCON2014/Denver HIRL (Video In Person Conference/Hangout In Real Life), I packed up the Jeep and hit the road. Truthfully, it was the first long trip I’ve taken by myself in 15 years… other than “the trucking years,” of course!

For three glorious days and nights, I hung out with online buddies I’d only hoped to meet ‘someday,’ visited with folks I’d never met in person until then, and parted as lifelong friends with all of them. We laughed uproariously, cooked, danced, sang songs, sampled complimentary cocktails and wine from our sponsors, cooked some more, and talked into the wee hours of the morning. Basically it was an ongoing slumber party… er, business meeting. (Who says business can’t be FUN?!)

Wood fire pizza oven at All American Johnny's Pizza Grill

My first night in Denver began with dinner at a wood fire pizza grill — All American Johnny’s. (Why I didn’t take a photo of my ‘customized’ pizza made with the tastiest gluten-free crust I’ve eaten to date, topped with house-made San Marzano tomato sauce, artichoke hearts, wild mushrooms, freshly-made Mozzarella, and spicy Italian sausage is beyond me.) Yup. I ate the evidence.

Also included in the event were a tour of the Breckenridge Brewery which I missed out on due to an unexpected travel delay, but they saved a T-shirt for me — (thanks!) — plus a tour of the Spring 44 distillery in Loveland. Good spirits abounded!

Did I mention cooking?

Chef Larry Fournillier whipped up his amazing Shrimp Stir Fry with Fried Rice one evening (swoon), Shelley Pierce made her fabulous bhindi Masala (again no photo, but soooo appreciatively savored), and Wayne & Dawn Nix shared their Louisiana-famous Gumbo, much to my taste-tester’s delight! (FYI, click on the blue links for visuals. ;)

There was also a ‘live’ HOA (Hangout On Air) featuring the lovely Azlin Bloor, who made Smoked Salmon Fish Curry. Oh my… it’s on my must make list! (And please pardon my ‘deer in the headlights’ gaze… there’s a first time for everything. LOL!)

I was so inspired I decided to stretch my culinary wings. Pictured below are some of the dishes I threw together (made possible with much appreciated assistance from ‘sous chefs’ extraordinaire, Larry and Debi) ~~ Pepper Steak & Eggs, Oven Baked Cinnamon Swirl French Toast, and a Lingonberry Reduction made with Spring 44’s Honey Vodka. Mmmmm…

After the VIPCON 2014/Denver HIRL (thanks for your generous-hearted hospitality, Hermine!) I stayed an extra couple of days with Debi Davis — couldn’t bear to leave — and Debi was gracious enough to open her home (and fridge) — to me.

More cooking & revelry ensued!

Here’s one last peek at “running away from home.” Such fun! (Thank you for letting us crash your kitchen two nights in a row, Mia Voss — hugs to Greg, too.) And, thanks, Halter Ranch vineyard and Tangent Wines. Exceptional sipping!

On the way home (all good things must come to an end…) I stopped in Trinidad, Colorado before making the final trek. Here’s the view from my hotel room…

Room with a View

And this was dinner ala room service. Ahhhhh….

Salmon Salad

When all was said and done (including driving 12 hours the next day to get back for choir rehearsal that night), I felt uplifted and entirely prepared to dive into life… and ready to be me again.

(Not that I wasn’t before — just a ‘subdued’ version of me.)

Plus, I was met with these upon my arrival…

Roses from Russ 1

When you celebrate life — when you celebrate YOU (!) — folks just naturally celebrate with you.

(You don’t even need to run away from home.)

Celebrate you today. xo

Enjoying real life revelations,

~ Kim