Thursday, July 24, 2014

Happy Birthday, Paul!

Paul turns 14 today! 

This picture was taken last Thursday when we brought an ice cream cake to the karate studio where he is volunteering as a day camp helper.   He doesn't like his photo taken nowadays, so this one may have to do.  

He was surprised yesterday with some fun gifts from his dog friend, Gus, and Gus's guardians, and is looking forward to his first laptop, due to arrive in the mail any day now (and for which he paid half the cost).  There will be another celebration in early August when he sees his East coast friends after he attends karate camp in Virginia next week. 

But today promises to be a laid-back birthday, with flute lesson, karate class, and time playing x-box using Mom and Dad's gift, a new TV (with no cable hookup!), for his monitor.  

I'm sorry Paul doesn't want his photo taken because I'd like to capture the excited happy look I see so often on his face since we've moved to Boulder.  And I wish I could record the contented humming I frequently hear coming from his teen heaven downstairs.  He seems to be liking it here just fine so far. 

 Happy Birthday to my funny, kind, and interesting son!     

Monday, July 21, 2014

To Push or Not to Push

Paul has been volunteering as a helper at the karate day camp for little kids, working 9-3 each weekday, and coming home wiped out from all the activity.  We expect him to read each day and practice his flute, but otherwise pretty much let him decide how to use his time.  We invite him along whenever we go out, but most of the time he likes to hang out texting his friends, watching videos on his phone, and playing Minecraft.  

We did not make Paul go along with us on our hike yesterday.  It was a very hot day with temps in the mid-90's so I googled "shady hikes Boulder" and found there was a two-mile round trip hike about 30 minutes up Boulder Canyon that led to a small waterfall and a lake.  It looked promising, so Ben and I went off to explore.  The scenery was beautiful....

...but we walked right by the trail head and instead found ourselves on a hot forest road.

 We followed it for a while and then turned back and as we neared our car saw the trail head.    Yes, here was the shady hike we had been promised.  Too bad we were out of time and couldn't do the whole hike, but at least we know now how to get there.

We also didn't make Paul go to the concert by the Colorado Music Festival Orchestra that Ben and I attended with our friends Paula and Lotus last night, nor did we make him eat any of the wonderful salmon and scallops we grilled for those friends or eat the yummy cherry cobbler Paula brought for dessert using cherries that Lotus had given her.   

But we did make him go with us to see the Acro-cats show Saturday night!  I just knew he would enjoy it and overruled his objections.  When we first talked about it he said he didn't want to go.  Later I texted him:

Me:  Please be ready to leave at 6:15 to get pizza and gelato and see the Acrocats.

Paul: Huh

Me:  Yes, we are all going out together.  Tomorrow nite you will be home for several hours while Dad and I go to a concert.

Paul:  No I'm not going to c the show

Me:  Check it out at    Very fun

Paul:  Still not going 

In the end we pretty much forced him to go.  At first he was mad, saying we were making him do something he didn't want to do, which was certainly true.  But we hadn't done anything as a family in a few days and he'd had plenty of time to watch TV and play Minecraft.

He warmed back up to us during dinner --who can stay mad eating chocolate gelato?-- and when he realized that the show featured real cats doing tricks he was all smiles.  For some reason he thought it was going to be people dressed up like cats; clearly he did not pay any attention to my description of the show or look at the link to the Acro-cats web site that I had sent him.

In the end we all enjoyed the evening and loved seeing the cute cats doing silly things like skateboarding and playing in a rock band.  What can I say?  We three are just suckers for cats.

Sometimes Mother does know best.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

A Visit to Golden, Colorado

Doesn't this look fun?

It's tubing on Clear Creek in the heart of Golden, the first territorial capital of Colorado.  I drove over there yesterday to see an exhibit at the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum and was surprised to find the creek filled with tubers and swimmers.   Boulder Creek is currently very high and rough and since it is quite rocky, tubing is a bit perilous.  Clear Creek apparently can be, especially the further away you get from town, but yesterday it looked idyllic. 

I went to Golden to see an exhibit of quilts by members of the Front Range Contemporary Quilters,  a very active group of art quilters in this area.  I hoped to come away with inspiration for doing some quilting of my own.  

I used to be a member of the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum and recently rejoined, and was glad to see that the facilities were in good shape and that there were many visitors to the exhibit.

I enjoyed seeing all the quilts, but Cosmic Currents by Dianna Vanderdoes got me all jazzed up to do some raw edge applique.  Here's a detail from her quilt; love the colors, the movement, and the stitching! 

It was a pretty day so after seeing the quilts I walked through the town, much of which is filled with touristy "old West" places to eat and shop.  But I enjoyed strolling through the Clear Creek History Park, a replica of a 19th century ranch, with cabins, a one-room school house, a blacksmith shop, and a farmyard, all very photogenic.  


Wednesday, July 16, 2014


I was so happy today when Ben figured out a way to raise up the dorm fridge six inches....

...using these bed raisers we found at the local hardware store.

And I was happy when he hung my star mirror up in my studio.  I love that little mirror.

When the workmen installed a remote controlled motorized shade in the skylight window above our bed this afternoon, I was all smiles as I watched the bright sunlight fade away and felt the room begin to cool.

And when the van with our new refrigerator drove up, I was so glad that I opened the front door and did a happy dance to let them know they were at the right house. 

But the thing that's made me the happiest today was seeing my son's face when Dad said "Time for a driving lesson,"  turning a the few minutes before karate camp started this morning into an exciting time of learning something as grown up as how to drive a stick shift.

After a few false starts, he actually got the car to move ahead a few inches.  Go Paul!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A Bit of Beauty

It took a great big snake to fix our drain, but it's done now and we can go back to enjoying the beauty of our new town.

Here are a few views taken on a hike in Chautauqua, which is just a half a mile from our house.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

A Little Improvement

The kitchen sink backed up Friday night which caused the plumbing underneath to weaken and basically fall apart, with water spewing everywhere.  This after cooking a great dinner for friends so there were dirty dishes everywhere.  What a mess!  After about an hour of hard work we got things under control so we were able to get to bed, but we got up knowing that we either needed to call a plumber ($$$!) or work on the problem ourselves (&#@!)  

In the morning we decided that Ben would give it a try.   I've been acting as Assistant Plumber, buying parts, finding towels and buckets, and generally keeping the Plumber company through the repair process.  After working with a lot of Drano yesterday, this morning we are going to run a snake through the pipe in the wall.   Meanwhile we are congratulating ourselves on keeping our tempers and working well together.  Go team!

Actually, the timing for this problem is pretty good since we still don't have a refrigerator and now with no sink we're pretty much down to not having a functioning kitchen.   We can still make coffee, and we do live in restaurant heaven, so all is not lost, but we are looking forward to getting our new refrigerator on Wednesday and getting the kitchen back to normal!  

Anyway, my plan for yesterday had been to organize the entry/laundry area downstairs and I was on a mission to get that done regardless of my new role as Assistant Plumber.   So while we waited for the Drano to do its thing, Ben helped me downstairs. 

If you enter the house through the garage, you come into a room that holds the laundry and a big open closet.  It's connected to a small bathroom, Paul's room, and the area containing the furnace.  Here's a photo of the laundry back in May.  Dark and gloomy, right?  

Since then the plumbing was reworked so the valves are behind the machines, the wall cabinet was removed, the walls were painted yellow,  a wire shelf was installed above the machines, and an additional light was added.   Much better.  

In this photo you can also see the relationship to the  adjacent furnace area; the blue tape is holding up a cushion a workman put up to keep people from bumping their heads on the venting as you walk into the furnace area. 

The photo below shows the open closet, used previously as a little kitchen area for renters who lived in the basement.  The big brown cabinet held the microwave and kitchen supplies.  When we moved in we just dumped things in there, but I planned to use it as a place to hold cleaning supplies and as a launching pad/entry way, holding shoes, gloves, jackets, shopping bags, and school backpacks. 

It's an odd closet, with the metal pipe for the furnace running across the top,  dry wall for half the back wall and concrete block for the other half,  not to mention the quad electrical outlet positioned in the middle.   The closet is also extremely deep, meaning that things would end up way in the back of the cabinet never to be seen again.  

So yesterday, when he wasn't working on the plumbing, Ben helped me move the cabinet to one of Paul's huge closets and install some Metro Commercial shelving on the left side of the closet.  On the right side we put white recycling bins, perfect for holding all these grocery bags and soft coolers we use nowadays for shopping instead of paper or plastic bags --I think these bags reproduce when humans aren't around!-- as well as gloves, scarves, baseball caps, and other small things that get taken on and off when you come into the house.

Now the depth of the shelves/baskets is manageable and the extra depth is used for storing the vacuum cleaner, brooms, and mop.
Ben also hung up a coat rack we'd brought with us from Maryland.

Here's a view of the entire space.

Some day I'll spray paint the wood screen white; we're keeping it to block the view of the furnace which is sitting right behind it.  

I think we may have conquered the shopping bag problem but not the shoe problem.  The white bench has a broken leg, now supported by a brick, and is hard to use as storage since you have to lift the whole top off, which no one does, so I'm thinking of replacing it.   The Container Store is selling this bench  which is the wrong color but otherwise looks perfect for our needs.  Or maybe a chair will do.  Meanwhile I need to find a cute basket for shoes since all of us seem willing to throw our shoes into baskets, and do something about all that blue tape!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Keeping Our Fingers Crossed

Fetcher has asserted his place as an outside cat, despite the threat of the foxes, skunks, and mountain lions that prowl our neighborhood after dark.  

After a month as an indoor cat he let us know in the various unpleasant ways that cats have that he was getting mighty ticked about his confinement.  It was time to put him in his harness and leash, show him the cat door, and take him for a walk. 

Almost immediately he seized the chance to sharpen his claws.  Good kitty!

It seemed like he was reasonably content even though he was on a leash. 

We took Fetcher in for the night but we must have left the cat door set to "open" because he got out and was walking on the deck railing this morning just as free as could be.  When Ben opened up the door, he trotted right in and stayed in for a while.  Later, when he meowed to get out, I let him out and he spent the day happily soaking up the sun and poking around the yard.    

Paul is quite nervous that something will happen to his cat and is mad that we didn't make Fetcher stay on leash.  But Ben and I have always been more realistic about trying to control a cat who loves being outdoors.  We're keeping our fingers crossed!