Preschoolers, croquet, walk in the sunshine and lunch at Breakfast on Broadway

 

 

This was an exceptional day.

The weather was nice enough for us to take about a 1/2 mile walk before lunch, we attended croquet for just an hour, but what a full hour it was!, we had such a fun time at lunch it’s hard to even explain…it includes us staying until five minutes before the restaurant closed, with their other last remaining customer literally throwing her head back and bursting with laughter as she enjoyed the antics and conversations at our table, and then silliness and singing in our cars, including  my car full of men singing along to Kenny Rogers …”You’ve got to know when to fold up”,  (The Gambler) and later to “These Boots are Made for Walking!”

And somehow, for some reason, my favorite moment of this amazing day was a very simple one. Jennifer and I were walking with the group after croquet, and we came across a playground filled with children playing in the fall leaves, kicking a ball around,  running…you can picture this. One of the balls flew over the fence and I saw R bend down, pick it up, and throw it back to the boys. It was just one of those quick moments that exemplified what our days are  like. We come across strangers, we pet the passing dogs, we laugh with other customers in a restaurant, we share stories with our waitress, we see people we haven’t seen in a while, we tease and laugh and sing, and sometimes simply throw a ball back over a fence to a waiting child. I have learned over the years a great deal from the people in our care, and one of the most important things I’ve learned is how to be present in the moment, like them, and to be open to whatever, or whomever,  comes our way.

I wrote down lots of funny quotes from today, but I think I ‘ll keep it simple instead, and let you know that some of the subjects we discussed were pecan pie, fraternities, chocolate chip ice cream, back seat drivers, our hearing problems, preschoolers, roller skating, birthdays, mansions, high school football, tattoos, and racing cars in Minnesota and Greeley!

Jennifer and Bruce and I appreciated all the interactions between the guys and look forward to next Monday!

Community Service today and a great lunch at Spanky’s

It was a beautiful first day of November and a perfect day to be of service. 

After picking the guys up we went to Einstein for bagels and coffee. G and I had a funny conversation about bagels and whether or not they really are that much better in New York City. I told G that my son had recently visited NYC and how much he raved about the bagels there.  G assured me that my son was absolutely right, New York has THE best bagels but the one in front of him was “pretty damn good too!” We were sitting at large table and we’re chatting away when someone, who had noticed J’s George Washington HS Swim and Dive team t-shirt. The man who joined us had GW  gear on as well and was surprised to see Jerry shirt. He was the phys-ed teacher for GW from the early 70s to the early 2000s, coaching football, basketball,  swimming, golf, etc. It was an interesting conversation, talking about the rise and fall of GW’s reputation as a great school for sports, chess, and drama.

 

From there we went to Wash Park for a good long walk around both lakes before heading to our leaf raking project. T  noticed a very large bird standing on one leg on a rail that appeared to fishing.  I took a photo, if anyone has any thoughts on what it is we would love to know!  If was unfamiliar to all of us! T, the tree climber also made a couple of attempts at a large cottonwood. The ornamental grasses at Wash Park caught both J and T’s eye today too.  J said that he some growing voluntarily at his house right now.  He isn’t sure how it got there, but he is just going to let it go.  Just before leaving the park we ran into James of Jiminy wicket. He spotted us first and hollered as we were loading up in the van. J hadn’t met James yet but T certainly knows him well.  The greeting that gave each other was warm, heartfelt, and very touching for me. Is a very good reminder about how important these connections are in this community.

 

The Leaf Raking Project went great! The guys knew exactly what had to be done and jumped in as soon as we got to the backyard. There was a thick blanket of leaves that needed to be cleaned up and we filled at least six containers, taking turns raking bagging and blowing.

 

Lunch was at Spanky’s in the DU area, soon as we walked in the waiter recognized our group immediately, greeted us with a big where have you been?!?  We were pleasantly startled by the greeting, G said it’s good to have a reputation !  J followed that with “Well, it depends”, T followed that with “Ah, it doesn’t matter!”  This was the start of a very good lunch.  There was a colorful conversation about politics, which we try to avoid, but clearly these guys are of the same mind so we went with it for a bit. Then after lunch G told us, very poignantly, about his families visit to their Synagogue after last week’s horrific events. He did not dwell in the negativity of it all but told us about the overwhelming support the community experienced.  G was directly across from me, T and J were sitting on both side of him.  G had all three of us wrapped up in the telling of this experience making eye contact with all of us, maybe a little misty eyed from time to time. It was another wonderful moment in a really great day of touching peoples lives. 

Center for Arts Evergreen, on a beautiful Colorado day

Morning snacks at Corner Bakery in Highlands Ranch, then a visit to the Happy Dog Ranch

Tour at Fort Logan today, what a special place.

Bruce told the group at lunch today, spontaneously he simply said, “I want to tell everyone something. I woke up feeling blah today, and now that I’ve spent the day with my friends I’m feeling so much better. ” It was a very sweet and sincere thing to say. Everyone was quiet for a moment, then G started clapping! Perfect.

This tour was super interesting today. Fort Logan has national, local, state, military and architectural history all wrapped up into one. The tours are free and open to the public every 3rd Saturday from 1:00 – 4:00, if you ever want to check it out. (I think I’ll go back!)

We learned that the house we toured was built in the 1888, not long after the Native Americans had left the area, having lived in teepees. Amazing. The military officer Logan, (who was instrumental in establishing what we now call “Memorial Day”) was a nationally recognized figure, and the military base was named in his honor. The property was a good location due to it’s proximity to water (Bear Creek) and a railroad. It was utilized in both World Wars, and between and after them so yes, lots of history. The particular house we toured was over 4,000 square feet and had 7 bedrooms. We kept the tour to 45 minutes, though everyone was comfortable lingering a bit longer.

We then headed to lunch on the patio at Homestead Golf Club, but the winds forced us to move indoors. The views from there are exceptional, so I was disappointed we had to move, and sure enough as soon as we got settled indoors, the winds stopped. Oh well, that’s how it goes sometimes.

Bruce and I each took our carpools on abbreviated “scenic drives” on the way home, since we were already at the base of the Rockies, Morrison, etc. Then home. I was telling my group that I’m often amazed how quickly our days go, and A said, “that’s because we do so much in one day!”

A few moments that stand out for me today:

S told a story during the tour today and he laughed at himself when he started out like this: “My grandfather used to drive a truck. He had – oh, I’ll never forget this.” pause. “I just forgot it”. We all chuckled, but it wasn’t long before he was able to finish his thoughts. And he sang a bit in my car today, which he doesn’t always do. Especially to “Let it Be”.

G of course sang too. A bunch. We love that about him. He told me stories of his father, “what a character”, and his granddaughter, her school, and her volleyball playing.

One minute when he had stopped singing, E told him assertively, “keep singing” G said, “only if I get paid.”

I overheard A telling the tour guide today, “I am thoroughly enjoying this. Thank you.” And I liked when he said to me towards the end of the day, as we were driving in the foothills, near wide open fields, “you’d never guess we are looking at all this, but we’re so close to town.”

J had a ball, Ms Enthusiasm. She asked me (a few times) where we were going today, and always replied along the lines of “sounds fine to me. Better then staying home doing puzzles”, or “it’s always good to go out, I don’t care where we go”..etc. Just up for an adventure. She’s an appreciative, fun person. However she also told me my nails are too short! Ha! Then she told me she remembers her mother painting her long nails red before she’d go out to play Bridge with her girlfriends. What a nice image of days goneby. I picture ladies all dressed up spending an afternoon together, and J as a child being impressed.

K and I had many laughs over the coffee house I chose today. Long story, but it was a bit of a hassle parking, paying, ordering, getting the coffees to go, getting back in the car, seatbelts…and then the coffee was extremely hot, almost impossible to drink, the cups were so full that coffee was bouncing out and some fell on S’s new shoelaces which he’d just shown us, and no one liked the taste of the coffee! Ha! He and I laughed about it all day.

Looking forward to next week’s adventure!

Harvard Gulch Park today, and lunch at Annie’s Café on Colfax

It was a little bit of history today for ladies day.

We started the day at Harvard Gulch Park, enjoying pastries,fruit and sparkling cider next to the children’splayground. Then off for a little walk through the park- which is next to a golf course-on our perennial search for restrooms. We decided to use the one in the Clubhouse of the Harvard Gulch Golf Course. Here is when wewe stumbled upon the history of the area.! Who would have guessed!?We learned from the golf pro that the land used to be a dairy farm as well as the Colorado State Orphanage. As many as 17,000 orphans resided inthis facility. It was stunning newsto all of us. We talked about the many reasons so many kids would have been orphaned in the early 1900s,World War 1, World War II, the Depression, the Dust Bowl, and disease. E had lots of questions about all this! The man who was telling us about this history has lived in the area for quite some time. He’s actually met and have had conversations with a few of the orphans who came back to visit as adults.

From there we drove downtown to visit and poke around the Brown Palace Hotel which is 127 years old. As we were driving downtown JM was reminiscing about the years she spent working downtown. She spoke fondly of the“husltle and bustle”, and having lunch on the 16th Street
Mall.  The Brown Palace was as beautiful as expected. Flower arrangements filled with orchids were everywhere. We simply wandered the lobby,
the 2nd floor, and the bridge over Tremont Street for about 45 minutes, exploring, oohing and aahing.
 
Lunch was at Annie’s Cafe on Colfax, a favorite.  Again, a lot of history. There were black and white movies playingon the TV’s, displays of collectable lunch pales which C noticed right off the bat (particularly the covered wagon one), and old game boards. 
On the way back to Littleton I told the ladies that Mary would be waiting for us with dessert, but we probably didnt have room after that bug lunch. E said “there is always room for desserts” and JM immediatley said “oh, thank goodness for E! ” Ha! 

Keys on the Green for lunch, in Evergreen, and a walk at the lake

Good day, this group gets along very well.
I made some notes about things people said, and I see a theme here. I noted their observations  which meant to me they were “actively engaged” rather then “passively participating”.   It might be quiet in the car for a while, for example, but then someone says something and I realize we’re all paying attention.
Examples:
When we were on Highway 74 and approaching Evergreen,  J said, “these trees are so beautiful”, and “that sign says Taco Bell. Is that where you’re taking us to lunch!?”, or V pointed out a baseball diamond which I hadn’t noticed,  or when we were  looking at the honey bee hives and G told  us a story about his wife coming across a hive one time… those comments mean a lot to me.
I enjoyed the conversations I overheard too. J in the backseat of my van saying to A, “so where did you grow up”, and A giving her a detailed and interesting story about his childhood. Or S telling the group, while we were at the gardens in the morning, “I can’t hear well out of this ear”, then  G walked over and pretended to shout into it, making S laugh. Or –  this was cute – I handed J a water bottle and said, “I know you’re good about drinking water, but here’s some more”. J:” Yes, water is all I drink.” And rV, sitting a ways away from her, throws in: “yay, right, only water!” That made J laugh, and she instantly said, “you caught me,  I’ve got a stash of something else in my pocket.”
Lunch was at Keys on the Green in Evergreen. J said she’d like to return sometime and bring her husband. It’s a nice atmosphere, with decent food. The highlight for G  was probably our waiter, a young man who is an enthusiastic Oriole’s fan and noticed G’s hat.
We chatted about golf, since our restaurant was sitting on a golf course.  We talked about motorcycles too, V told us he and his brother  used to own one. We talked about tattoos and French fries and twins and elk and lots more!
My line of the day award goes to G, and though he had a bunch of one line zingers, this simple thing he said is what touched me most. We stopped at a gas station on the way down the hill to use the men’s room. S was still in it, G had come out, J and I were waiting in the car. Ga came up to the car and said to me, “I’m going to wait  for S”
It just meant a lot to me, that G was being so thoughtful, and even that he remembered his buddy’s name.
One of my happiest memories of today was in the car when G and S both sang along to the radio, with dramatic flair at “captian kaaangaroo”, who Jerry and I both remember watching on T.V.!

Arrowhead Country Club

Fun day with our guys!
We had really great weather for our  morning walk at Clement Lake. First off snacks and drinks at Einstein Bagels in Littleton, then our walk at the adjacent lake. L did a partial walk, then he and I plopped ourselves down at a bench and enjoyed watching the fish jumping  and the hawk soaring. Such a nice morning.  It was just pleasant, sitting there relaxed in the sunshine.
Bruce walked with K and V and R, at an easy pace, and they covered 3/4 of a mile.
V and I left after this, and  had some time to ourselves for another little walk at the park in his neighborhood, and I dragged him on an errand with me, where of course he proved to be helpful!

Bruce took the three other men to lunch at Arrowhead Country Club, which is nestled right into the gigantic Red Rocks.

The restaurant was very quiet today  and the scenery fantastic, which  works well for us so we can converse and hear each other, and when things are quiet, look out the windows at the views.
  Bruce told me later he thought he’d remember their conversations, but you know how that goes – we are immersed in the moment and by 5:00 it’s gone! But he does recall talking with R about Bandimere. And with the other guys about their hometowns.
And he took the group on a scenic drive afterwards, throughout the Country Club neighborhood and Chatfield State Park. (aren’t we lucky to have these beautiful places practically in our backyards?)
Bruce  said “K really came alive as we were driving to lunch”-he was appreciating that Roxborough area, and after lunch noticing how the “houses have those rocks right above them! I like this area, but I wouldn’t want to live here.”
Easy going day.  It went along quite well and we were able to have lots of time outdoors.

Nixons Coffee by the Platte River, and lunch in Evergreen, beautiful day

Hello everyone – Terrific day!
Our day began at such a beautiful place I didn’t want to leave! The outdoor coffee café at Hudson Gardens, alongside the Platte River. Brian brought an amazing morning collection of drinks and foods for us to snack on, we had a big table, partially shaded, very comfortable.
In the afternoon we took a  tour of a historic home in Evergreen (Humphrey House)  and had  lunch in a private room at an Italian restaurant. Yay! ALL GOOD. Our waitress pulled me aside as we were leaving and pretty much begged me to bring everyone back again soon. She was laughing and enjoying our silliness, and said it was such a great group of people.  Yes it is.

A visit to the Colorado Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at Red Rocks, perfect for today

We had a ball at Silo Park in Greenwood Village this morning. This was a large group, we met at the covered picnic tables with the multitude of snacks we had prepared – cold drinks, hot coffee, cheese, nuts, fruit, cookies etc. We were able to take quite a decent walk together after that, the temps didn’t get too hot this morning!

We then broke into smaller groups for the remainder of the day. My group and I started heading up to Morrison, to see what was happening, and take in some of the Colorado Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. We drove up to the top, under the arch, and took in the view from the grand plaza. Through the haze we could see part of downtown, and could even make out the white tents of DIA out in the plains. We studied  a rock that G said looked like a lion roaring, and it did.  We watched folks running the stairs, T being the only one who thought it looked any sort of fun at all.

Then we walked down to the Red Rocks Hall of Fame. A couple of things that stick out, are T coming to get me to show me a poster of Lyle Lovett. He pointed at it and said “I love that guy”, and then he wheeled and pointed at a pic of Stevie Ray Vaughn, and said, “him too”. We did find out that  isn’t a Lovett fan, but at one point J and G were looking at the Springsteen display, and that was the one we could all agree on. We talked of seeing him live, or wishing we saw him live, and G telling us stories about seeing him in small places on the East Coast.

They was  a video going with clips from shows, and I think J would have been happy watching those clips for a few hours. They also have a lot of dinosaurs stuff on display, and as we were examining a T-Rex jawbone, we tried imagining Dino’s out running around. I brought up The Morrison Museum, which is a great little dinosaur museum, T remembered being there, and J and G were both interested. We will have to do that one soon.

We loaded up and left the area to get lunch down in town. We had a choice of Mexican on a rooftop patio, sandwich’s along Bear Creek, or the Red Rocks Grill with all the mounted animals on the wall. Yep, the stuffed animals won out, and we sat between a mountain lion named Bobby, and a reindeer who’s name slips my mind.  After lunch we loaded up, got a cup of ice cream for the drive, and headed down the hill.

The afternoon with the three guys was terrific. All three are quite close in their abilities.  We had a great talk about sports at lunch, and all 3 guys were engaged and participating. Nice to see.