Active Minds talk today and lunch by a Christmas tree, got us in the holiday spirit

december 2 sharing coffee and snacksOur day started with a wonderful surprise. I had asked E’s family if I could bring paper goods and snacks and start our day at her house. When we arrived, she had set her dining room table so beautifully for us and had a pot of coffee waiting! It was really great. Some sweet pictures area attached.
After our lovely time at E’s, we went on a 20 minute drive into the Willow Springs area, connecting us to Hwy 8 by The Fort in Morrison. We stopped to watch some deer, and commented on the beautiful neighborhood tucked back there, and how the homes were each built to take advantage of the views.  D got C, S, and J  laughing in their car when she heard a song that she obviously likes, come on the radio.  It was maybe 15 seconds into the song when she asked J if she would turn it up then sang the chorus with sass….”Bad girls talking about the sad girls, Sad girls talking about the bad girl” !  It was disco car for about 3 1/2 minutes ! Lots of story telling and singing in our cars today.
We had lunch at Homestead Grill which generally is a fairly quiet place with a amazing views. Yesterday we had called ahead for a table and were warned it would be crowded, but it turned out the other crowds consisted of a rather large holiday luncheon and the windows were closed I guess to keep the room warm, so we weren’t able to enjoy the views! But there was a Christmas tree, and people all dressed up, and a fireplace, and the ladies  said afterwards that they understand, “things like that happen”, and the food and service were given high marks.
We then drove to the Bonnie Brae for our next adventure, an Active Minds talk on the history of holiday traditions.
 I personally thought it was amazing. My comment to the speaker afterwards  was,  “I like Christmas even more now.” He provided such a depth of knowledge but kept it moving. I was watching all our ladies during that hour, they seemed engaged to different degrees at different times, and I think it was overall a nice way to relax at the end of our day.
Back in my car as I was driving my carpool home I teasingly said, “Well E, it’s Friday, I guess you’ll be going to all the bars tonight for happy hour”. “Oh”, said the quick witted E, “I don’t wait for Fridays”

 

Tattered Cover in Denver today, and a wonderful visit to the Butterfly Pavilion

Butterflies and The Boss
We had two separate outings today, one to the “Butterfly Pavilion” and one to Tattered Cover, where we got to shake hands with you-know-who. Two pretty different outings going on simultaneously today, really fun! The Butterfly Pavilion is a great place to visit especially on a chilly day, in the tropical, peaceful atmosphere.. There were zero crowds, we had the place almost to ourselves, and very knowledgeable staff kept us engaged and informed. Crowds at Tattered Cover? Well, yes. 1000 people were expected and at least that many showed up. Mr. Springsteen was as charming and natural as we’d hoped. What a special day this was

Out & About Colorado's photo.
Out & About Colorado's photo.

Java Café to start, as usual. Then on to a tour of Byers Evans House and lunch at Zaidys in Cherry Creek

Denver Art Museum

Denver Art Museum

Byers Evans House

Byers Evans House

I picked up D and C before meeting the rest of the crew over at the Java Cafe.  I had a bit of a sneezing fit in the car.  Several sneezes in a row, maybe 6 or 7.  When the fit seemed to be done, D  said ” You need to work on making the 1st one count!”  That was the 1st of several one liners out of him today, he was pretty sharp !

One of my favorite things to watch on Tuesday is each carpool come through the door of the coffee shop. It kind of feels like the TV show “Cheers”.  This groups greets each other with such warm and welcoming smiles followed by lots of laughs every week.

In the parking garage at the museum, B got out of the car doing the “Moon Walk” followed by D doing “Walk Like an Egyptian”followed by C  just dancing!
The Byers-Evans tour was terrific.  Our tour guide Stephan, a volunteer, was very good! He really knew his stuff and it was clear to all of us that he has a passion for history.  At the end of the tour D commented on how good it was and asked if it would be appropriate to tip him.  That told me that along with other reactions throughout the tour,  that everyone else thought it was great too.

Walking from the museum across the Denver Art Museum grounds we saw the dome of the capital. Today the sun was shining on but

we still had to look in the right place.     It was so fun to watch Ja try and point out the dome to us.   It took some persistence, but she was successful, and everyone let out quite a hoot when they finally spotted it!

Lunch at Zaidy’s was very good, followed by a walk along Adams Street. Later, while driving, we had a wonderful conversation that related back to our tour.
As we approached our meeting place, I told them that we were “so on time today”. R  said”some days are just like that, but…90 percent of the time they’re  not !”  Ha! Oh so true! Great day.
 

 

lunch at Luciles today, in Denver, and time at the Golden History Museum

on our walk today in Wash Park
Hello everyone –
Really good day today. For most of the morning Brian hosted the ladies in downtown Golden, for morning snacks, a walk along the river, and about a 1/2 hour inside the History Museum there. He said the walk was particularly nice, much of that was because of the good weather, but also the holiday decorations were being put up in the trees and so there was a lot of activity but not a lot of crowds.
Brian brought the gals to me at lunch time, and he went on his way – he had an afternoon of caregivingahead for a private client. I took us ladies to “Luciles” for lunch (on Alameda and Logan),C seemed familiar with it. I was glad  they were able to seat us in the smaller room in the back, that made it quieter for us with less commotion, but even better than that was the young family we shared the room with who had a 10 month old with them! That is fun for all of us!
The ladies told me about their visit today to the History Museum, we talked about their Thanksgivings,and since we were in  a Cajun restaurant we got on the subject of New Orleans and different cities we’ve traveled to. On the subject of Thanksgiving, we touched on kitchen utensils we all use or have used. J told us about a grinder she used this week on the cranberries and we went on from there….flour sifters, family recipes, etc. S gave us a lot of detail on how large their celebration was this week, how very much she enjoyed having family around and especially being with her baby granddaughter.  The ladies enjoyed the food at Luciles. We had a friendly server and all went well. We were relaxed and feeling very comfortable in each other’s company. After lunch I grabbed a picture of us standing out front of the restaurant.
We had more time together and got to take a walk in Wash Park. My goodness the temp was so perfect! I grabbed a couple more pictures at that point, which are attached.
 Brian told me, when he was describing their morning together, about how kind all of these women are, and how great it is to simply walk with them on a path, or beside them in a museum and be able to share the day with them. So true.

 

Mizel Museum today, what a wonderful place to visit

Mizel Museum

Mizel Museum

Our day started at the Mizel Museum,an art museum dedicated to Jewish history and culture. The displays are very colorful and imaginative. The Garden of Eden, Noah’s Arc, the collection of Menorahs, the diorama, for lack of a better word of Yiddish Jew (think Fiddler on the Rood), a large painting of the Jewish calendar, paintings of child survivors of the Holocaust living in Colorado today, Jewish business (Samsonite and Rockmount), and much more. Our tour guide was good, though she did cover a lot history and culture and it was a lot to try to absorb. It’s a special place for sure, and is a regular stop for our program.

From there we had a lively lunch at the Egg and I. Almost all of us had breakfast, it’s great to have breakfast for lunch on a cold day, comforting I think. There was lots of banter back and forth up and down the table! Lots of talk about Thanksgiving dishes, we teased C about her love of French Toast and the incredible size of J’s apple pancake, D had a breakfast burrito with a little heat to it and he got some teasing too.

In the afternoon it was just too damp and chilly to stop for a walk, so of course we stopped and had frozen pumpkin pie custard and ate it in the car. We all giggled at the silliness of that, but enjoyed the treat with some nice conversation.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone !

IMAX film at the Wildlife Experience on our cold day was just right

Still boggles my mind that we were running around in shorts yesterday, and driving through slush today. It was one of the days where you get some twists and turns, and adjust on the fly. The guys have been friends long enough that they fall into rhythm quickly. After picking up the guys we headed to Lamars for our morning coffee. I think it was needed. We all perked up a bit and enjoyed our conversation. As you might imagine, a lot of it centered on the storm. We definitely enjoyed watching the snow blow from inside with a warm coffee. We got there and it was nice and quiet, gave us a good chance to get caught up. Our conversation was everywhere. We talked family, football, dogs, all the usual topics. Both B and D were in good spirits. They both started a bit slow, but once we were able to relax and talk, they both sharpened up. We braved the snow and loaded up the car and headed over to the Museum of Natural History. We had tickets for the planetarium, but after only 10-15 minutes in the museum, kids just came out of the woodwork. You could tell it was too much stimulation, so as I was trying to figure a graceful exit, B looked at me and said “I think this is too much, I’m gonna knock one of these kids over on accident”. That was all I need to here, we left and went to get some lunch.

We had a nice lunch at Annie’s on Colfax. We had a super server, (in fact Brian brought her up several times later in the afternoon.)  We decided to go to Wings over the Rockies after lunch  and look at some of their space displays. Well, it was closed for a private party. Luckily, Mary is working on updating her outing book and was able to offer a few suggestions. We went to the C.U. Wildlife Experience to see an IMAX on space exploration. At least we were able to keep the planetarium theme going. We had a few minutes so we were able to get a small coffee and talk some more. I thought it was great that Brian and Dave were able to get some quality time with each other, and they really seemed to enjoy it. The movie was about our mission planning to go to Mars. Needless to say that dominated the conversation on the way home. The first group of Mars astronauts are going to have to go on a three year mission, and NASA expects it to be by 2030. They also mixed in some actual footage of Mars taken by the rovers sent there. We couldn’t understand why anyone would even want to go. Desolate and rocky. While we had a obstacle or two today, I felt it was more about the company than the activity.

today an interesting tour at the U.S. Postal Distribution Center and lunch at the Olive Garden at Northfield

U.S. Post Office Distribution Center

U.S. Post Office Distribution Center

Our new friend at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal

Our new friend at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal

 

What an interesting day !!  The 3 carpools met at our usual coffee shop, got caught up with each other, and headed north to the US Postal Service Distribution Center.  We were split into two groups for a really interesting tour that lastedabout an hour.  We were given tons of information…
It really was very cool.  Everyone  interacted with our guides, asking how long they worked there, thanking them for their work, asking appropriate questions.  D shared that she has a family member who works as a carrier,  when the guide talked about a processing plant there.  B commented on  how clean the Center is, and that he expected it to be grimy and smell of diesel. J was really checking out the various conveyor belt systems and asked specifically about a 3 step system that cut open bundles of bulk mailing for sorting.  And D talked about the people aspect…how much more social it seemed to be to work at the hand sorting centers vs. keeping an eye on the automated machines, as well as the mechanics that rode 3 wheel bicycles to various problems spots around the plant.Lunch was at the Olive Garden. Everyone was pretty pleased with their meals. As you know they bring out lots of salad and bread sticks. Everyone had multiple helpings of salad, R commented a couple of times how great it was.  I did notice that about half the table doesn’t each black olives though !

Mary met us at the restaurant  and left with one carpool after lunch.  The rest of us had a little time before returning so we took a drive through The Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge. D  apparently has been there before, he pointed out a grouping of trees that had multiple nests in them, he knew about the bison and birding, and was pleased to be back. The refuge is about 16,000 acres and was designated a wildlife refuge in 1992. There are 330 species of wildlife there, but we saw Bison !  I am guessing there were 20 or so off in the distance but then we came across a couple of big boys right next to the road!  Fantastic!  These beast sre-energized everyone after our big lunch, as  we made out way back home.

lunch at DWs 285 Diner, one of our favs, and thanks to a volunteer we learned some geology today!

Er, J, and I started out day with a long walk on the Stone House Trail along Bear Creek in Lakewood.  The entire length of the trail is 2.3 miles and I’ll bet we did three quarters of it in about 50 minutes.  It is a lovely dirt trail which parallels the creek, both J and E were game to continue after about 30 minutes and did terrific.  We came across a small inlet of water that was a fairly wide step, E said oh, not a problemand literally hopped over, then put her hand out to help J across! I wish I had my camera ready.

When we got back to the parking area Mary arrived within a few minutes with D, L, and a few snacks.  Mary and L left and the 3 ladies and I had our refreshments next to the the historic stone house which was built around 1860.  The conversation was very easy, mostly about we were all ready for the election to be over and that none of us were really paying attention to the noise of it anymore.

 

From there we headed to Conifer for lunch at DW’s 285 Diner followed by a scenic drive over Pleasant Park Road toward Deer Creek Canyon Road with a side trip up Kuehster Road.  At the top of Keuhster Rd there are is a very good view of Lower North Fork Fire burn area.  The fire was 4 years ago and it is amazing to see how the land and people have recovered.  There are also beautiful views of Sphinx Park and beyond.  As we got closer to town we had about 20 minutes to stretch our legs so we pulled in to the South Valley Open Space Park.  This park is noted for is beautiful big red sandstone spires that are part of the geologic formation that runs from Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, up to the Boulder Flat Irons, and include Roxbourogh Park and Red Rocks.  We were going to walk a bit when a Jeffco Open Space volunteer asked if we had any questions. E asked about the rock formations and we quickly found out that  geology is this guys passion!  We didn’t get to walk but we got a thorough education! Did you know that the Andes in South America are still growing taller!  As we walked away, D commented that it was really nice of him to talk with us and we all agreed.
This was a laid back, e
asy, and very pleasant day. I very much enjoyed my day with with everyone.

.

Colorado Freedom Memorial today

Colorado Freedom Memorial

Colorado Freedom Memorial

Happy Veterans Day!
Our way of expressing gratitude today was to visit the  Colorado Freedom Memorial in Aurora. The memorial is made up of glass panels that have the names of nearly 6000 Colorado men and women killed in action dating back to the Spanish American War. It was a beautiful day to visit and we were able talk, linger, and learn. There was one name that we were hoping to find listed.  D’s Uncle
.  There is a computer kiosk at the memorial site that has information about the memorial itself as well as listing of all names and where they are located on the panels.  With some patience, we were able to locate his name exactly where his name was on the memorial. D, of course,was thrilled and quite moved.  As we made our way back to the car I heardmany comments about how really nice the memoral is and that it is a wonderful tribute.

For lunch we went to BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse. They were busy (free entree for Vets today) but we had called ahead and were able to get seated quickly for a terrific lunch. The brusselsprouts were enjoyed by everyone…well, almost everyone!

After lunch we went to Cherry Creek State Park for a 45 minute walk in the Wetland Preserve along Pipeline and Wetlands Loop Trails.  Part of the trail parallels Cherry Creek, which had a surprising amount of water in it ! The area is a really nice wooded area and the light and temperatures this afternoon were practically perfect. As usual, we spread out along the path, talking individually, and two by two. It was a peaceful and relaxing way to way to end another great day together.

 

Rambler Ranch – wow! – what a great place to visit

Rambler Ranch

Rambler Ranch

Hello Everyone,
Wow, what a cool day we had. After coffee and donuts the guys and I  headed to the Rambler Ranch!

All of our guys had been there before, but it had been quite a while, over a year, and yet when we were talking about it on the drive, everyone had specific memories of their last visit there. Dave  told us about seeing one of his wife’s first cars, while B was able to tell us all about an RTD bus filled with mannequins, and  Dave  remembered the funky AMC cars that they have. It’s a huge property out east of Elizabeth. They have several large garages filled with Ramblers, and some other old brands like the Hudson, and my favorite, the AMC cars. They have all been either restored, or are  original and in wonderful shape. The mechanic was our tour guide for our visit today. He was great. We could touch, get in, just about anything but drive them. They do all run, and they all had the keys in them. Being as we are all kind of car geeks, it was perfect for us. We even enjoyed their display of vintage appliances  called Kelvanator, which were built by Renault, which owned Rambler. Our tour guide let us go at our own pace, linger where we wanted, and had great stories to tell. We might still be there if our stomachs hadn’t started to growl. Lucky for us, Mary had set us up with a nice picnic lunch to eat in the sun at the ranch. The ranch does not do tours this late in the year, (yet fortunately they did for Out&About Colorado) so we had the big picnic area to ourselves. As you can imagine the conversation revolved around cars. We were able to enjoy the sunshine, friendship, and some fond memories of cars past. We finished up and hit the road for the beautiful drive back into town.

Great Day, good to see everyone have fun and enjoy the camaraderie.