Denver Botanic Gardens and at the Highlands Ranch Mansion

I quickly scribbled down some notes on a scrap of paper this afternoon, to remind me of some of my favorite moments today…
…when we were approaching the Denver Botanic Gardens we had to drive around the block a few times looking for a parking place. E was sitting in the car up front with me, and I said to her, “E. I know you well enough. I bet  if I gave you a quarter, you’d stand in the street and direct all these cars out of my way, right?” So quickly she replied, “Of course I would.  I’d do that for a dime!”.
Her retort made us all laugh, but it also led to an interesting talk between E and J about how far a dime used to go when they were younger. As they were talking, I realized the connection between them, not only their similar age but that they both spent much of their youth in New England, and I brought up that similarity to them. They could both tell me stories of going “into the big city” (Boston) when they were children. L has spent time in Mass as well, (Wilbraham). I hadn’t connected those dots until today. We had some discussion about the “Park the Car” Boston accent, and other comparisons of east and west coasters – For the most part,  L and I refer to ourselves as the “California girls”.
First thing this morning, the four of us enjoyed a walk in L’s neighborhood, around the Highlands Ranch Mansion property.  We then got drinks to go and drove to the Denver Botanical Gardens where we spent the remainder of the day. It was so perfect for this group, we all were appreciating the beauty there, plus the weather was quite cooperative.
We had lunch at a table which we all agreed was the absolute best one in the restaurant, in a quiet corner, a round table under a massive tree, overlooking the water lily pond which attracted a lot of small children!  How perfect. The food was really good too, and I noticed how quiet our chatty group was while we were eating. The plates seemed to be made out of an unusual recyclable material, so we asked our waitress and she said yes, they were made from leaves. She also pointed out the vegetable garden where parts of our meal had been grown.  E was amazed at how small her potato chips were. She wondered aloud a few times where such “small potatoes could come from”! So we decided they were cut from little homegrown potatoes from that same garden.
E  made a few observations like this today which were right on – good questions, including, yes, how is it possible that  the potato chips were so small?  After our walk around the outside of the Mansion in the morning, and as we were heading down a path with a good view of the mountains, she stopped in place, put her hands on her hips and said, “You know what? That mansion is facing the wrong way!” (and this is a 25,000 square foot mansion we’re talking about) “They built it the wrong direction!” We all agreed with her assessment…why doesn’t the front of it face that view of the mountains? I love it when anyone is so engaged with what we are doing, and is making such observations. L always reminds me, she has done this to me for years now, to literally stop and smell the roses. She’ll frequently  stop in her path as well, to bend down and touch a flower, and I should be more like her.  Or she’ll do a little dance when she hears music which I hadn’t even noticed. J – I snapped a photo of this today – often stops in her path too, to say hello to a child, or read a sign, or to wonder. Today, for example,  we all stopped to admire some  blueberry bushes, and E told us stories about collecting blueberries as a child, when I said, “sorry ladies. I just noticed the sign here, these are actually Oregon Grapes. ” Oh well. Those  blueberry collecting stories were still
 good!
august 12 highlands ranch mansion

our day at Wash Park and so much more

august 5 Wash Park august 5 along the highline canalAnother Lovely Ladies Day ! I picked up E first  and on our way to pick up L and D we had a terrific conversation about golf, her love of the game, and how much her husband taught her. 
When I picked up D she opened the car door, peeked in with a big smile on her face and said “Hello Friends!!”  I loved that and it set the tone or the day.  D filled us in on her trip to Frontier Days and is looking forward to the Rockies game this weekend.
During our morning refreshments E and D had very touching conversation. There is friendship and trust between these two.
We then went on a walk along the Highline Canal Trail for about a mile and half.  I looked up the history of the canal, when and why it was built, and how long it is.  When I told everyone that it was 71 miles long, E said she would probably only make it 70!   There are many enormous  Cottonwood trees along the path, one in particular that is wider that L, E, and D together.  Another thing that got our attention was a horse eating chokecherries!

Lunch was at Smash Burger.  E and D had the burger with fires (gluten free buns!) and Louise had a fantastic looking salad with grilled chicken.  We talked a lot about how very different Southglenn Mall is now, how it seems like a small city, and planters filled with such beautiful flowers. From there we made our way to the Eugene Field Library in the Bonnie Brae area for an Active Minds talk on the history of Denver.  When we got there, it was packed and people were standing in the door way to listen.  So, on to plan B.  We drove over to Wash Park, walked around the Mount Vernon Gardens and along the lake.  It was a perfect weather for this stroll. Lotsto see and talk about.  It was fun for me to watch who was drawn to which colors and varieties of flowers.  While sitting on the park bench we talked about the park itself and again I looked up a quick history of it.  It was built in 1899 and with design help from the the “Unsinkable” Molly Brown.
The day seemed to go by very quickly. Everyone was so observant of our surroundings, high energy, and very quick witted!
I love spending time with these women!