My day began with laughter, as G entertained me in the car with his disco dancing, done as well as someone strapped into a car can do it! He and Jane continue to bring joy to our days as they lose inhibition and dance and sing in the car, it’s so fun to watch. Jane today singing to Home, Home on the Range and the Barnie theme song among others, ha!
We had lots of goodies along with our coffee and hot chocolate at Tomari’s which is quite near Tiny Town. They are ALWAYS gracious to us, such an inviting place. I said the name is a combination of the owner’s, Tom and Mari, then P said something about “well we can come here tumarre”, then Jane sang a line from “Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya..” I asked P to pose in front of the Tomari sign with Torrey and they did a silly pose for the camera.
Back in the car for a beautiful drive on Parmalee Gulch. We sang and also talked about songs. The name Wendy came up then I asked if anyone knew a song about that name. P was the one to set us all straight and sang a couple lines from the song “Windy”, “not Wendy” . He was right on! He amazes us sometimes with what he remembers.
Torrey was driving at this point, and took us to O’Fallen Park where we had about 1/2 an hour to explore. This was one of the funniest moments of the day for sure, as we were walking there. It was a wide, even dirt path. As we were walking, I said to Jane, “I bet you like this path, there’s nothing in your way, all clear” “Yes!” she said, then swung her arms wide with a big smile on her face. BUT! she wacked her buddy E across the face accidentally. Oh my gosh, E’s reaction–at first sort of angry of course, to get suddenly slapped like that, but then when we told her what happened, she and Jane laughed and laughed. Then Torrey explained that Jane spread her arms wide like bird’s wings, so Jane had the nickname of “JaneBird” pretty much the rest of the day, the famous, beautiful JaneBird.
Torrey and Eleanor talked about old movies. She remembers seeing Snow White in the theatre, and Shirley Temple. Then Gary and Torrey couldn’t help themselves with a “don’t call me Shirley” routine.
Jane told us about her first concert, going with her godmother to see James Taylor. E told us about the 1924 Ford she had, “that must be sitting in a garage somewhere”. We asked how a car of that vintage would get it’s engine started, and P answered quite confidently it would be a crank start. He was sharp today.
Lunch was at Urban Egg, and we had the kind of server who totally engages with us, she’s helped us in previous visits. Josie. She remembers our names, “here ya go, Jane”, stuff like that, which is so dear. Some sass too, which can be important! At lunch – I don’t know exactly the subject matter, but Torrey and Bruce told me later that Jane was quick to explain her feelings on a certain subject. They described what she said and I recognized it as an Eleanor Roosevelt quote. If I’m correct, this is what Jane said : “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” So true.
Jane also talked about Philly and an upcoming trip there to see family. SO looking forward to seeing her mother, being in her home, and in her hometown, and eating some of the local foods.
After lunch, another walk in the park before heading home. Fun, fun day.
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Torrey and Bruce said the day went very well. Torrey was the host all morning, taking the group to a coffee house then, he said, “a long walk in the park”, then to meet our buddy James for an hour of croquet.
Coffee and goodies were at Solid Grounds. This has been a regular stop for us for years, and today the weather was good for enjoying their patio. Torrey had brought along a large container of blueberries and he said everyone ate cups full of them! We bought gluten free goodies to share and coffees for E and G. ( J was appreciative of the little can of chilled Coke he brought for her.)
Then off to the races. G said, “C’mon Grandma” to his friend E and she said, “well that’s just what I am!” They sang in the car as per usual, Torrey thinks he even heard E join in.
It was Elton John and James Taylor on the radio, a great pick for G and J.
J talked about her career today, and explained in in great detail to Torrey. She also mentioned looking forward to an upcoming family reunion.
G talked about college in Baltimore and E told her stories of long ago when “you could see a double feature for a dime!”
Bruce joined them after croquet and they all went to lunch at Raccoon Creek in Littleton, and sat under the awning on their beautiful patio looking out at the golf course. Then what a nice way to wrap things up after lunch, the group drove across the road to Clement Park and found a bench – in the shade – by the lake – and ate gf brownies with cups of ice water. Great!
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We actually had a fair amount of time outdoors today, despite the heat. About 20 minutes in Morrison alongside the creek, with our ongoing discussion is it “crik” or “creek”? We all think we’re saying it correctly!
Jennifer told the group in the morning that we’d be attending a demonstration later about..”.oh, what is it called…people who study outer space?” P helped her out with his quick answer, “martians”.
We never did make it to that demo, lunch was slower then we’d hoped but just fine. We had lunch at a golf course restaurant that was crowded today, understandably. But such good food, and such nice service. I’m told the chef himself brought out our lunches and made sure everyone was happy. Thank you to Fossil Trace Golf Course’s “Schnepfs”.
G was happy all day, singing more then his norm. When Jennifer was telling them how she and her husband came across three little mice at their house, G broke into “Three Blind Mice” and when she told them it might reach 100 degrees today, he sang a round of “100 bottles of beer on the wall!”
P had a great day, laughed easily as usual. They passed by a truck with a cloth cover on it, “do you think that truck is cold?” he asked? Steve told me, “P was cracking me up all day”
And T had motorcycles on his mind. When one past them quickly on the highway, T put up his arm and said, as clear as could be, “I had one and I’m gunna have another one!” And what really surprised us was this. G’s next door neighbor had a motorcycle in his front yard, seemingly untouched, for months. Then it was gone. You’d think out of sight out of mind, but no. It was in that yard today and when they pulled up to G’s this morning T shouted, “it’s back!”
Though it’s rare for us to hear J sing, today he was at least telling us the lyrics, and proudly, saying “I know every word” of Steve Martin’s King Tut (which really made him laugh) and “Bye Bye American Pie”. JM sang too, but asked permission first! “Anyone mind if I sing along?” of course not. And sing she did, to James Taylor’s You’ve Got a Friend.
E impressed Steve with her enthusiastic words of gratitude, as they were driving on a mountain pass, to the people who made that road possible.
We had dairy free gelato at the end of our day, I didn’t know there was such a thing! We had fun tasting each flavor, talking about our favs. T was so excited about the chocolate that he tried convincing another customer to buy some. This was in the Bel Mar shopping district, where we also took an easy paced walk. So many beautiful flowers there, it felt good to – you know, – stop and smell the roses.
Nice day with our buddies.
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We had a morning picnic under a couple of trees in a neighborhood park. Julia Roberts’ name came up, and that she was married to Lyle Lovett. P, so famous in our group for his quips: “I love it” then J: “boy that’s a mismatch”.
We talked about mice and hawks and the tarantula L had for his kids, and how much we like the sound of running water. We talked about how good the shade felt…and then..I asked everyone to stand up so we could “get in maybe a 15 minute walk before it heats up?” Slowly we rose, and our walk ended up being closer to 25 minutes along that creek with that sound of running water.
Then to lunch, where Jennifer met us. As we were driving, I hit a big dip which made L, in the back of the car, shout out “umph”. I asked how he liked that! and T, next to me said, “do it again! Do it to him!” As we were climbing out of the van L -from that way back seat- grumbled. I asked him sarcastically, “how old are you!?” and he said, “87 when I’m trying to climb out of a car”.
Big Bill’s pizza was our lunch spot. Big Bill himself came over to say hello, what a good man. We felt so welcome. The waitress was super, engaging every single person. Steve said, “she made it special”. But the baseball game on T.V. above our heads is what made it special for J, what a fan! After our meal, T made a point of thanking her. There is so much to see in this restaurant, the food was good and that welcome service we received was exceptional.
Conversation included mom’s cooking. L said what makes it special is “she adds the essence of mom”, sweet. P messed around with Steve, distracting him and grabbing something off Steve’s plate. And outer space was a subject, since we were about to see a film about the moon landing. Jennifer asked if anyone had a gazillion dollars to spend, would they pay to go into space? J said “yes, but not for a whole week. Something could go wrong”. P said, “it could go wrong, or it could go right, or it could go left!” funny guys.
Then to the Denver Museum IMAX film about the Moon Landing and the era when it occurred, 50 years ago this month. Johnny Carson theme song etc. The guys all liked it very much. L said “it brought back vivid memories” and J said, “my mother watched that moon landing for 36 hours straight!”
A highlight for Jennifer was when T, “like I’ve never seen him do it before”, rocking out in the car to Aerosmith’s Sweet Emotion in the car on the way home. Great group of guys, looking forward to next time.
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Bruce and Jennifer hosted a fun day for our group. They all met at a small park in the morning for a picnic including a pot of coffee, juice, water, fruits, pastries and nuts…but moved on quickly afterwards to a 10:30 tour of the Cathedral. The official name is Cathedral Basilica of Immaculate Conception. It was built in the early 1900s, the style is French Neogothic. SO much to see here, and I’m told our guide was so good, telling all kinds of stories of interest to us. Julia Greely is buried here, awaiting possible sainthood, Pope John Paul II has stayed here, Mother Teresa has visited, Mother Cabrini, Buffalo Bill Cody have visited and Molly Brown was instrumental in funding the creation of it! A was seated in Molly Brown’s own pew, in fact, as we sat listening to our guide.
We then headed to City Park where we hoped we would be able to take a long walk, but the heat was too oppressive. We got out for a stroll, however, watching the Cormorants and observing many statues in the park.
Then to lunch, quite near City Park, at Syrup. It was earlier then we usually go to lunch but we needed the break from the heat. The restaurant always has good food but was on the noisy side today when we arrived at their rush hour. But it’s a nice place for us, and a great location.
And then the temps cooled down and we went to Platte Park where we knew the large trees would shade us. They have a historic mansion at the park called The Fleming House. Bruce and J were standing next to it when Bruce pointed to a sign that made J laugh. “No stopping or standing”. Oops! And then we even had time for one more visit to the park, at Ruby Hill, but this time we didn’t get out of the car. This is a park with unique bicycle ramps and challenging trails, which we checked out. AND! Even one more stop this afternoon, the group came to our office for a quick dessert, stretch, bathroom break and cold drink before heading home. We served up lemonades and ice waters, and had chocolate chip cookies.
I was really tickled to hear their stories about the day. The tour seemed like a special one. A gave me some terrific details about the stained glass windows and the Julia Greeley story, and told us about bishops and candles and saints and other details about the Catholic religion. D said he enjoyed the tour too, and had compliments for the tourguide. I asked him about his trailer which is for sale then we all started singing bits and pieces of the song with the line, “Trailer for sale or rent”…nobody could get much more then that, at least not for a while…but it was hilarious as we all gave it a try. Even J sang, which is a rarity. I asked him to do it again!, and he plugged his ears, saying “you better do this if I’m going to sing”. T was laughing and laughing at this silliness. She was also laughing at Bruce’s teeshirt with a banana on it, and enjoyed his story about a banana stand from a scene in “Arrested Development”, which just made her laugh all the more.
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Well the hot hot temps in the afternoon zapped our energy somewhat, and looking back maybe the Denver Botanic Gardens wasn’t the best choice for today, but we did well. The group walked through the gardens and on, to “The Hive”, which is an outdoor restaurant under huge trees. So we had shade and fortunately breezes too. We sat overlooking a water feature and ordered cheeseburgers for all, to keep things simple. Jennifer was teasing the guys about “hey, no more jeans, it’s time to wear shorts” but L said, “you don’t want to see my white legs”. “Excuse me?” asked J, then he rolled up one pant leg to show us that L had serious competition!
The subject of 4th of July came up. We asked if anyone recalled traditions from years past. J said they couldn’t have fireworks when they lived in the parklands, “but Zion? I wouldn’t have traded living there for doing fireworks.” P made everyone laugh with his precise answer. “Nope. No fireworks for us as kids. They were strictly prohibited“. HA! that wording sure made his message clear. Nice image he gave us after this when he then said, ‘but we played horseshoes. My dad was the best in town.”
The group slowly made their way out of the gardens after lunch. Jennifer pointed out bees in a particular flower area, which mezmorized J. He does not like the heat, but he forgot about that when he was watching the bees hard at work. They came across a buckeye tree, and P threw his arm up in the air, remembering his days in Ohio, yelling. “Go Buckeyes!” There was one of the exotic Cholula glass art pieces on display which certainly caught everyone’s attention, (as Jennifer said, “enough to pause”), but the hot air convinced them to keep on moving.
The morning was spent as we pretty much always do, over coffee and treats (today chocolate croissants). Jennifer’s group found a very comfortable patio at Spinilli’s, where a little girl was walking in and out of a nearby shop bringing her dog water and treats, so that was entertainment enough. Then they met up with L and Torrey at Wash Park for a walk, where they stayed close to the water channel. No one took Jennifer’s dare so she went in the water up to her ankles by herself!, but there were bunches of preschoolers also in the ankle high water with life jackets on and nets to catch whatever they could find. Adorable, and again – quite entertaining. The group was fortunate to then find an open picnic table under a Cottonwood tree and had waters and cookies before heading to the Botanic Gardens. T was a help to Torrey as they refilled our water jug. They walked over the Wash Park Rec Center to do that, I am pretty sure this was a first, the group guzzled every drop we had brought with us.
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We had Plan A, Plan B and Plan C all ready – the forecast was so iffy in regards to rain, but we really lucked out.
We met first at Panera Breads for our morning goodies, then headed to “Iris 4 U” to check out the acres of colorful iris. If you have time this week, you might want to check it out before it’s too late. A very easy place to get to, no charge and a hidden gem. J’s comment “I love colors” is something I can relate to, and at these gardens we even appreciated the pretty grasses and learned a bit about them from the owner. He, Bob, is exceptionally kind to us, and remembered us from last year (By the way, JM did too. She asked Jennifer, “didn’t we come here last spring with Brian?” Right on! JM was happy she brought that memory up, so were we) Bob invited us all to stand right in the middle of the field of iris for a group photo. We told him we might accidentally crush a flower or two as we navigated our way into position, and he said he didn’t mind at all.
Steve imitated T for me, at the office later in the day, he said it was really cool when they first arrived at the gardens. There are a few rows of iris, then as the group walked forward it opened up to a large field, and T’s jaw dropped as he opened up his arms as if saying “Wow”. At one point T bent down to pick up a pedal, and he didn’t let go of it the rest of their time there, protecting it from being stepped on.
Steve also said, “T and G together are hilarious. They do such a funny Kung Foo fighting thing. Like brothers, goofing off”
There is a lookout post that requires climbing a few steps. T and Jennifer went up there. She invited P and he – Mr Quick One-liner Guy – said, “No. I like to be grounded”.
Steve enjoyed hearing P’s stories today about when he ushered for the Rockies. P speaks so highly of those days, he said, “it was relaxed and it was really great”. P also spoke a bunch about his days in marching band. The group had driven past a high school where the band was practicing. It brought up some really clear memories for P, and he told us about “220.127.116.11…marching in place and marching across the field” and about the bell of the trumpet, and how he played trumpet but also sometimes baritone.
G and JM enjoyed singing today, as usual. We get such a kick out of listening to them, and JM is to the point where she sees him and starts right in!
After the iris farm we took a drive up into Ken Caryl and into Deer Creek Canyon. The weather was still cooperating, so we were able to get out for a decent little walk in the park there, on Rattlesnake Gulch. Someone asked if there were any rattlesnakes and G very quickly said, “yes, there’s one right there”, making Jennifer jump! They were on a wide, open dirt path and walked a loop, each at their own pace, and doing well.
Lunch was at Chilis where JM had a funny line, when Jennifer asked her once they were seated, “are you chilly?” JM: “No, but that’s where we are!”
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JM started it! She put her cute pink hat on sideways and called herself a rapper.
E asked, “I don’t understand. What are you wrapping?”
Thank you to Great Harvest Bread in Greenwood Village. They are always kind to us. We like their gluten free chocolate chip bread and their coffee, plus a free sample or two!
After our morning break there we explored the Highline Canal, before it got too hot out. Oh those massive Cottonwood trees, they provided much needed shade, and we enjoyed walking along the canal watching the rabbits and the passing children and dogs, and a couple of us saw it as an invitation when the sprinklers went on!
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Bruce came back to the office tonight enthusiastic about today’s adventures! He said the day “went very fast, we were very busy”
Torrey and Bruce hosted the guys to morning snacks and drinks at Whole Foods, then to croquet at Wash Park. Torrey left the group after this, and Bruce took the group for a walk in the park, then to lunch in Morrison, (sitting by the river, on the patio of “The Cow”) then they made a spontaneous stop at Bandimere Race Track to walk around and reminisce. John Bandimere happened to there, and spent time chatting with us, telling us we were welcome to back for a visit anytime, fantastic!
G’s been singing more these days, he started off the morning with “American Woman”. He played croquet and got to know James who owns the croquet program. (“Jiminy Wicket”) They shared quite a lengthy conversation – James is British and they chatted about London and G’s time there. Croquet is always a good choice for us, some physical activity and lots of socializing!
Conversation the rest of the day continued regarding London, Europe, travel. When a stop at Bandimere was brought up over lunch, R lit up, since racing was such a big part of his life. Bruce asked him if he ever raced against a woman driver. R said, “I did, but I don’t remember who won”. He also talked about his father, “I wish you could have met him, he was fun to hang out with”, and how everyone in the group thinks of themselves more as sports fans and players then musicians.
The guys had a terrific day, we were outdoors a bunch, took some decent walks, socializing…good stuff!
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We don’t recall exactly how this happened, we’re guessing A started it. When Jennifer had the group pose for a picture, they all held hands! We also got a beautiful picture of the park, and both of the “Devil’s Thumbs”. E couldn’t figure out “why there would be two devils!” See the two thumbs in this photo?
We spent about 40 minutes at Chataquqa Park today. Great views, as you can tell. We walked around the park and into their Visitors Center. Before we arrived in Boulder the two carpools had separate coffee breaks. Bruce and the ladies went to Observation Park and had a tailgating sort of start to their day, with goodies and juice and some fresh air. Then they met K and Jennifer in Golden. Jennifer said she and K had been discussing solar panels – she told him about the ones her family got back in the Carter era. He told her about when his were damaged by hail, then they talked about hail, then weather, and she said the theme kept to those topics as they met Bruce and the ladies and started driving together towards Boulder. They passed the windmill fields in Golden, then the brand new housing developments – one of which has solar panels on each home!
Then onto Chataqua Park for some exploring and walking, then to lunch at Walnut Street Café, where they are always so so good to us. E sent 1/2 of her sandwich back to the office for me at the end of the day and it was still super good! Bruce and Jennifer told me the conversations at lunch focused a lot on women – how they struggled to get an education in certain eras, how it wasn’t always assumed a woman might want to further her career, how things have changed.
A told the group about a recent trip to California, for a family wedding, and also of a distant memory she has of the day WWII ended. Angie said she was a very small girl, and her mother grabbed her and danced with her. She said they danced so much that the clock fell off the shelf.
And they got on the subject of names and rhymes. Couldn’t find a rhyme for the names E or A, but for J there was a bunch!
Then to our 1:30 tour of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, which is very tourist-friendly. We started with a 10 minute orientation video, then the guide showed us around for 45 minutes. She was kind and patient with us, and quite scientific, but her passion for science was refreshing. She was good with our group, though some of her information went over our heads. I like the picture of K smiling on the tour, however. He soaks this stuff up.
So the thread of conversation K and Jennifer shared earlier in the day, continued…weather, climate change, hail storms, here we go again!
Cups of water back at the car, and then we hit the road. I’m told the rides home were pretty quiet, this was a full day and everyone seemed pretty darn relaxed!
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