Big Blue Bear in Denver, books and live music

Our “delightful” Bear

Denver Convention Center

downtown Denver “pebbles” ?!

We began our day with snacks and drinks and exploring a book store. The Elvis book, and Aretha Franklin book – those two generated lots of conversation. P looked at a picture of Elvis and said, “now that was a few years ago”, and J told us how much her mother used to like Elvis. S and I talked about Elvis and Buddy Holly and P reminded us of James Brown too – the early rock and roll stars who danced in their own unique ways. L did a mini-impression for us. We talked about what we like to read. J quickly said, “Murder Mysteries. I know that sounds strange but I love trying to figure out who did it”. I turned to P to ask what he likes to read and he said “Mad Magazine” so quickly we all burst into laughter.

T enthusiastically pointed out a Van Gough art book and also told Torrey, “I could stay here all day” He was having a ball .
J was drawn to the animal books, the science books, the music books – really, we had to pretty much drag everyone out of there to go to our next destination!
We went from the book store to downtown Denver, our first stop being the Convention Center and greeting the Big Blue Bear.  On our 2 block walk from the car  to the building, we passed by some artificial grass and  rock formations.  J thought the grass was a good idea – it stayed green and “didn’t grow too long” ha! And P liked the large rocks, which he referred to as “pebbles” . But then we came across what I guess is an artistic arrangement of those rocks and that struck P so funny, “What is that!?”
We posed for some pictures by the bear, and someone handed us an information sheet. So we discussed it’s height (40 feet) and the cost of construction ($425,000) and it’s name (“Blue”) and then then J pointed out that we assume it was a he, “why can’t it be a she?” S said, “it’s just delightful”, which sums it up for me, I love that big old thing. Walking there I held on to her  arm and  said, “I don’t want to lose you”. She said, “thank you. I don’t want to be lost”.
Our next adventure was lunch at Dazzle Jazz. I think everyone enjoyed the live music. The band played for the first half hour we were having lunch, that timing worked out well for us, having live entertainment as we waited for our food and as we began eating. J was impressed at how young the trio was, and when they finished,  L said, ” I’m loving this”, and when they finished T headed up to say hello to the band – Torrey joined him, and later said the drummer was  touched by T’s compliments.
A pretty magical day, actually. The cold wind prevented us from doing as much walking as we’d like, but we did keep moving – and air drumming, and laughing and exploring.

Two State Parks today! Roxoborough and Chatfield.

Roxborough State Park                        at Chatfield State Park                              Busy day!
We began at City Donuts in Litlteon, gathering, muching, heating up and …dancing! There was music playing overhead  which P so enjoyed that she went up to the man at the counter to compliment him! She asked Jennifer, “do you know the name of this singer?” then broke into her  very best James Brown OWW! So she’s now the best animal noise maker in our group,  but also the best James Brown imitator.  
We  then took a scenic drive through Chatfield State Park and that Jennifer! She made us get out for a quick stretch and walk, which was actually just right.  Some of our folks were cold but everyon was exceptionally appreciative of the beautiful scenery we saw. Torrey asked L if he was cold and he said, “Yes, but I’ll save my whining for later” !
Jennifer said P  was in the front seat next to her on the drive through the park, and along the foothills, and it seemed he couldn’t get enough of it. He kept pointing things out to her, saying how much he was enjoying the view, and finding trails, showing her which  direction they were leading. Really absorbed.  
The group looked out over the reservoir where there were a half dozen ice fisherman. Torrey asked T if he’d want to join them. T: “uh. Only if there is  a hut!”
Then to “the cabin” near the park, where we had lunch, walked around visiting the farm animals, and undertook a service project, packaging donations for a food pantry. 
The cabin is at the south end of Chatfield State Park, with lots of farm animals. P  and her animal noises!  At the farm she was chatting with the goats, and actually is sincere about how she enjoys communicating with animals, it was very dear.   And T  and a  goat had a bleating competition that went on for a few minutes, it made T laugh hard! Jennifer too – watching T stick his tongue out and go blahhh to that goat and the goat doing it back at him!
P and J took over prep work for our lunch, slicing and dicing, others were helping as well, we had motown music playing overhead, and a fire in the fireplace. Then we filled the boxes with crackers and canned veggies and apple sauces and pretzles, which took lots of organizing, sorting, counting, assembly, then clean up!  
The group next headed up into Roxborough Canyon for a very nice drive – J was just loving it. She was so appreciative, and said she felt lucky. 
 On the bumpy dirt road towards the State Park Visitors Center, an old mangy coyote crossed in front of the car and J  recalled once being faced by “two big cats” (mountain lions?) while on a hike.
Once at the Visitors Center we climbed out to do a bit more walking, get the blood flowing, everyone did great. Inside we chatted with the ranger and also were treated to their short film about the history of the park.  Thank you to the team at Roxborough State Park for being so accommodating, we thoroughly enjoyed our visit today. 
One more stop before heading home, out for hot chocolate. We visited Atlas Coffees for the first time. The tall windows gave us another good view and we were grateful for the comfortable chairs and quiet space. 

Such a nice lunch at The Bent Fork, and good weather for our walk at a state park

lunch at the Bent Fork in Aurora                                     
Bruce had time off over the holidays and took it easy at home. He told me after the outing today  how “being back with these guys refreshed me. It picked me up. I needed it.”
The group came to the office for snacks and drinks, and it seems to me we laughed about every second they were here.
Bruce showed us a dance his daughter taught him then he did the twist (sort of), then he and Torrey did a Lawnmower Dance, it was awesome, very funny.  I later asked Bruce to do his  “wierd dance move again ” for the camera. He asked “which one?” and L said, “they were all wierd!”
I stayed put and everyone left from here to tour the Aurora History Museum. Lots to see there, they didn’t even see  two of the rooms. We had Dave as our guide, he’s helped us before. What we liked in particular was how he could “go with it”, Bruce said. When some of us wanted to wander away to check out a particluar exhibit, he’d follow and point things out,  or make  himself available for questions. He connected well with our group and the grand finale was the restored trolley where everyone climbed aboard. It brought back memories for J, she said, of riding on one. We learned that the trolley could run down Colfax but would stick to the middle of the street which made it necessary for passengers to either wait in the street or run across it to get onboard. So electric buses which could more easily move from one side of the road to the other, eventually replaced the trolley.
E commented on the display showing photos of people wearing their head to toe swimming outfits, back in the day. And a historic photo of a  couple of gals walking into a restaurant “too dressed up. They look like trouble”. J was amazed by the display showing Aurora’s old  main water line pipe made of wood, D liked the pictures of old Colfax businesses, the theatres and restaurants.
They stayed in the museum, walking around for about 40 minutes, then walked back to the cars which were a little distance away. Fortunately the weather was chilly but not windy.
Lunch was a bit upscale for us, The Bent Fork. I knew this group would appreciate the menu. Torrey had called ahead and was able to have a special table in the back room reserved for us. It’s in sort of an enclosed patio, and that meant a lot in particular to J, as it was similar to a room she has in her own home, and she enjoyed looking at the indoor plants and  out the windows.
After lunch we  headed to Cherry Creek State Park. The temps had warmed up and we were able to get a walk in. D pointed out the camping area. He shared memories of being there for a long weekend, and  “hooking up the RV”. They walked almost a 1/2 mile. They found a helicopter drone field, watched that then got to talking about airplanes, (E: “HOW do they fly!? They’re so heavy?”) and J pointed out the moon was already up. Next they went to place that sells  dairy free ice cream, “Sweet Cow” at Platte Park, which   everyone enjoyed. We parked 2 blocks away so snuck in another walk!
Thank you Torrey, for discovering a youtube of music from old T.V. shows and movies. He was alone with P for the last 1/2 hour or so, and they played guessing games in the car as they listened to this music.  Torrey was amazed when P said, “listen, that’s Chopsticks”, playing in harmony with the My Three Sons theme. Whoa!

I was so happy  to see the group here around the table this morning, we talked about New Year’s resolutions (E, “I never make any. I guess because I’d forget I made them!”). We talked about games we played as a child (which was initiated by something P said. I had asked him what sport he was best at and he said, “Tiddlewinks” Ha!), board games, Shoots and Ladders, card games. D told us how much the “kids enjoyed” (but I think he did too) spraying Silly String all over each other one day at his home over the holidays. P blew the horn, E popped the poppers, and Jennifer threw confetti all over us!
P – Torrey told me – ‘Laughed like crazy all day today”. He was indeed joyful from the minute we saw him. He made everyone else laugh at lunch with a funny head twirl he did in imitation of the waitress, she thought it was great too. We ate at “Malones” in Arvada, a good spot for us. Nearby is Van Bibber Park and Trails, and by this time in the afternoon the snow had melted well enough to make for an enjoyable walk. J pet every dog we passed.  Some of us  zipped ahead with Jennifer and the whole group was amazed at this house under construction. D:”a triplex?” J: “it has three porches!”. So great to stop and really look at what we’re seeing sometimes.
This was a nice long walk today, and D in particular expressed how much he appreciated it.
We visited the Quilt Museum today and were lucky to receive an impromptu tour by one of the artists. His enthusiasm was contagious, P said, “he sure likes what he does!”
We learned a lot about the art of quilting, the way it portrays our American history and the many different  artistic  styles.
We didn’t have a tour scheduled, but the guide overheard E asking ‘How…?” – which is so her ! – love that curiosity. He came over to answer her question then spent time with us, which was wonderful.
A main theme of the current exhibit is  hexagons, they were everywhere. J noticed a sign that said there were 1300 in the one quilt and Jennifer said she was afraid he was going to try and count them all! D noticed not only did one quilt have many hexagons in it, but the quilt was in the shape of one.  And P knows that his buddy Torrey loves puns, so grabbed his attention to show this funny sign to him (attached).
J  had a great day too, Torrey recalls one funny thing he said. Torrey was complimenting his full head of hair and asked, “is it called salt and pepper?” Jerry:” just salt”.
Happy New Year everyone, see you in 2020 !