What a great tour at the Inter-Canyon Fire Station in Conifer

Lunch at Spanky’s, what a fun day

We had such a good day today !  Sunshine, music, art, laughter, and friendship.
After the morning snack routine we  just had to enjoy the spring-like weather. We  found the perfect park nearby.  Great views, dry pathways, a dog park, and exercise area.  Everyone except J tried out a  piece of equipmen. Pull ups, bicep curls, leg lifts, etc.  Knowing that J has been going to the gym recently I teased him and said “Oh you must be sore from yesterday’s work out right?”  He smiled and said “Yea, that’s it” HA !  I never did get him on one of the machines.
We had an early lunch at Spanky’s in the DU area.  We go there fairly regularly and are always very warmly greeted by the same waiter who recognizes us immediately.  When he was taking our orders, L asked him if the Reubens were good.  Our waiter’s response was “Have you ever had a bad Reuben?”  L had to admit that he hadn’t and after he finished it told the waiter it was one of the best !  It was a very musical lunch ( and day for that matter).  I have a habit of starting a sentence and pausing for a few moments then finishing my sentence.  Well, the “Jukebox brains” L and S would fill in those pauses with the lyrics of a song.  For example I would say “everything”, then  pause and either or S would fill it in with “Everything she does is magic magic”.  They did this all day long!  
J got in on that too, only not with music.  I ask L” Did your mother”, I paused thinking about how I wanted to phrase the question. I guess my pause was too long and J said “What!??”  with this tone of like are we supposed to guess or what?  It was hilarious and the timing was perfect! 
After lunch we visited the Denver Public Library to see a performance by the “Bookshop Band.”  What a treat.  The duo is from the U.K., and they perform in bookstores and libraries.  They are on a tour of the U.S. now, Tattered Cover, etc..The songs they perform are those they have written which were inspired by  books they have read.  It was wonderful.  They would explain the premise of the book then play the song.  We took a front row seat and were able to watch them up close and personal as they  played  the cello, ukulele, and guitar.  It really was a treat.  They  tour the US with their twenty month old daughter who, as L pointed out that she   “provided some great background vocals.”  J and both said it was great, T said about 5 minutes later it was still giving him the “shivers” and he  wiggled a bit ! After the show, we had T led the way to “The Table” on the 7th floor of the Library which was used by the  Summit of 8 that involved President Bill Clinton, and other world leaders.  The 7th floor has great views of the Denver Art Museum, the City and County Building, the Capitol Building and Civic Center Park, and the halls are  filled with great art.  Steve and I just let the guys gravitate to what drew them in for 15 minutes or so before heading out. 
Terrific day !https://youtu.be/2U0nREncdFU

Lunch at Hickory House, and an Active Minds talk on Sinatra

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.
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.!