Wednesday, September 11, 2019

New Tile for the Entryway

There were a few problems with this little entryway.   Sometime in the past light tile was laid over the hardwood floor and right up against the baseboard, resulting in a slight change in floor height between the living room and the entry which required a threshold between the two spaces.  It also resulted in the entry baseboard being shorter than the living room baseboard which was awkward.   The light tile did brighten up the small entry but it also didn't fit with our current living room decor, which includes touches of black in the ceiling light, stair rails, entry table, and fireplace tile.   And for some reason the entry closet was carpeted with a thick ugly shag rug, just perfect for trapping the dirt and outside debris on our shoes and coats.  

To fix these problems our plan us to take up the carpet, the old tile, the wood floor underneath, and the baseboard.  Then we'd install new black tile on a diagonal pattern not only in the entry but into the closet.  Then the baseboard would be reinstalled on top of the tile.  

Last week we finally were at the top of the list of projects awaiting Giovanni, the talented Sicilian tile master who had tiled our three bathrooms and kitchen. 

And here's how it turned out.   If you look closely you can see that the baseboard is now the right height and there is a smooth transition from the entry into the living room.     

In this photo you can see the black fireplace surround and tile in the living room. 

Here's some photos showing the diagonal pattern of the tile... 

...and how it extends into the closet. 

Giovanni and his helper Joseph did most of the project but Ben did a lot of work as well.  He emptied the closet and everything hanging in the entry, which sounds easy but is a real task.  We sure keep a lot of shoes, coats, and other necessities for getting outdoors in the entry, and it all had to be taken out and relocated for several days.  He ripped out the carpet and all the carpet strips and fasteners.  And while it was empty he painted the closet a nice bright white.  After Giovanni had all the baseboards out Ben sanded and painted all of them.  Now it all looks nice and fresh.

While I was taking photos of the improved space I snapped this one, which I think captures the current way we're spending much of our time --supervising Turbo.  When he's on the move so are we, and even when he's resting we're watching!   It's like having a toddler again, and it's both fun and absorbing.

But I'm not going to leave you with a blurry photo of Turbo and Paul's feet!

Let's end with these two, taken yesterday when Turbo went with me and Dawn to our Pilates class.  Since we have a private lesson and neither Ben or Paul would be home to hang out with Turbo and he hasn't learned to stay home in a crate, the Pilates instructor kindly invited me to bring him along. 

I got him set up and leashed to a chair and then basically ignored him.   He whined a few minutes but then settled in for a chew....

...and then a nap. 

He was so tired out that when people came in for the next class and fussed over him, he slept right through it and then continued sleeping in Dawn's lap on the ride home. 

What a good boy!

Monday, September 9, 2019


On Saturday we drove two hours up into the mountains to the town of Granby, where we met and adopted Turbo, an eight-week-old Australian Labradoodle. 

Do you think Paul looks happy enough?  Well, we all were!  We "placed the order" way back in early May and have been anticipating the happy arrival for months.  He's going to grow to about 30-35 pounds and about knee high, but right now he is quite tiny.

Paul held him in his lap for the ride home on scenic Trail Ridge Road through Rocky Mountain National Park.  The high altitude mountain drive got the little guy a bit carsick but otherwise he was a trooper, which was a good thing since the two hour drive turned into three as we stopped several times for wild animal sightings.  We had forgotten the elk and moose are on the move this time of year and we had to stop a couple of times as herds moved across the road or were sighted by excited tourists.  Which included us!  It is exciting to see a huge bull with a big rack of horns or to spot a black bear ambling along the landscape.   

All the "how to raise a puppy" books say to keep visitors to a minimum for a day or so while the little one adjusts to his new life.  But it was quickly clear that Turbo was ready to embrace his, so he had a full day of visiting.  He even went on another car ride, this one to the pet store where he was fitted for a collar and harness while meeting more people and a couple of dogs.

And back at home he met Sheba, the queen of cats, who gave Turbo a good sniff and then wandered off without any further interaction.  When Turbo spotted Sheba, though, he growled and barked before we could explain that Sheba was a cat and that she was going to be a friend.  

Saturday and Sunday were busy days for both Turbo and all of us.  But he awoke at 4:15 this morning ready to do his business and then enjoy some fun play.  Although I'm doing the early A.M. duty, Paul got up as well and we all had a little party until Turbo collapsed for a nap at 5:30.   I know from raising our other three dogs that this kind of early morning activity calms down after a while and before you know it your dog is in sync with your schedule, so I'm trying to just enjoy it for the moment.   

Adopting Turbo was the culmination of a busy week.  I spent Sunday though Wednesday in Cleveland with my sister, Jean, and our dear friend, Janice, who we've known since high school.  It was our annual "girl's weekend," our 19th, isn't that amazing?  We had a great time visiting the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, seeing the Labor Day air show,  watching the Broadway production of "The Lion King," seeing the Cleveland Indians beat the Chicago White Sox, and exploring the vast offerings of the Cleaveland Art Museum.  It was a great time with great friends. 

Thursday we pulled the living room back together as it had been in disarray while new tile was laid in the entryway.  All the coats, shoes, hiking poles, hats, and other everyday necessities had been taken out of the closet and entryway while the fellows did their magic, and had to be put back before our puppy arrived.  And we had to buy a few things to be ready for him, so we also shopped.  

On Friday Ben and I got up early and by 7:00 were hiking the popular Ouzel Falls trail in Rocky Mountain National Park.  I'd been wanting to do this 5 mile hike for several years and we decided to make the time now since dogs aren't allowed on it.  Having now done it, I can see why people say it's their favorite hike in the area.

The trail passes by a rushing river and several lower falls before reaching the main attraction.   I think the one I'm gesturing to here is Copeland Falls.  

I loved the river; isn't it beautiful?  The man up in the back is one of the many fishermen we spotted.

There are lots of Aspen in the forests near the falls and they will all be a shimmering gold by next month.  Some were already turning. 

It looks like the heat has finally broken here and we've started to close some of the windows at night.  Turbo isn't the only big change around here; the season is changing as well. 

Linking to Mosaic Monday at Letting Go of the Bay Leaf. 

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Ten Things I'm Liking Right Now

1.  The past few days have been heavenly.  They start off with deliciously cool mornings, then heat up to balmy days, and then by bedtime are wonderfully cool again.  Ben and I call this "good sleeping weather" though many mornings I'm up by 5:30 or 6:00 when the wonderful morning air and sunrise call to me to be out of bed.  The gardens are dry but still thriving with the help of drip irrigation.  I love seeing the plants by the patio each morning when I go out with my cup of coffee. 

2.  What a relief to find a good book!  I've been hard to please lately, but I must read!

I couldn't finish this one.  I'm sure it was my fault; just didn't sustain my interest. 

Parts of this one were amazingly good. What a fabulous description of "war" between parents and teens; you just had to laugh at her imagery.  She also writes a less funny but still very revealing description of "war" between spouses.  Set way back in the 60's, it was interesting to read an "adult" perspective of the age I lived through as a preteen and teen.   But it was too long and I didn't like the ending.  I liked her Foreign Affairs much better. 

But the "third time is the charm: and this book is working for me completely.  Thank heavens; a reader has to read!

3.  But I also like to watch some series and Handmaids Tale about killed me.  Season 1 was a retelling of the book, so it was expected.  But season two was a horror; so horrible that I couldn't bear to watch season 3.  (Since I also couldn't bear not to know what happened, I read all the reviews.)  Now I'm really into Succession.  It isn't for everyone; the non-stop profanity and overall meanness could be a show-stopper for some. But I find the dialogue very funny and clever and the plot riveting.   

4.  I like anticipating things.  I mostly live in the moment but sometimes there's a lot to anticipate and I love it.  Now is one of those times.  Coming up on the slate is a new tile floor for the entryway (Monday), new windows (someday in the next few months), new screen doors for the balcony and patios (whenever clever Ben figures out how to make them),  and--- wait for it--- our new puppy who we are bringing home September 8th.  

Look at this cutie, who is either our dog or our dog's brother.  Final "allocation" of the three males from this litter will be decided the end of next week, since one of these lucky dudes gets to be a stud dog.  

Good grief, they are cute.  Guess it's a good thing since I hear all puppies bite with those sharp teeth for quite a while!

Courtesy of 

And, on top of that I'm anticipating a trip to Cleveland on Saturday where I'll meet my sister and our good friend Janice for our 19th annual yearly get-together.   It's always fun to see them.

Courtesy of

5. I do love anticipating things but sometimes immediate gratification is great.  On Sunday I decided to see what these "E-bikes" I'd been hearing about were like, so I walked down to our local bike shop and took one out for  a test drive.  I hadn't been able to understand how these bikes worked, but once I was on one and hit my first hill I got it, big time. 

When you go up a hill or are just getting tired you hit the "assist" button and an angel reaches down and gently gives you a push!  Awesome.  (Not a technical explanation, I know, but you get the idea).  Perfect for someone like me who has loved biking for the past thirty years but now finds I can't go as far or do the hills very easily.  I haven't been on a bike hardly at all this summer, which is sad given that this is such a big biking town, even with all its hills.  But I've done about thirty miles on this one in the past three days. 

And if the ease of pedaling wasn't enough, check out the beautiful crimson and black color and nifty styling.  I got a Turbo Vado 4.0 by Specialized and I love it.  I feel like its taken 40 pounds and 40 years off of me.

Courtesy of BadBikes 

6.  And then there's the new hiking poles Ben got me the other day.  I didn't anticipate getting them because I already had a pair, but I must say that their ability to fold up and slip into my pack has won me over.  Thanks, Ben!

7.  Our little Sheba is really settling in.  Actually you could say she has some of us wrapped around her finger.

8.  The CU students are back and while they can be annoying by leaving trash around after their wild nights and hogging all parking and crowding the restaurants, still they are interesting to watch and often good for a laugh.  I thought this display at the local Bed, Bath & Beyond was funny.  Did they really sell all these plastic drawer units?  I'll have to go back and see.   

9.  Wining and dining around here, especially on a midweek night when the students are studying (I guess), continues to be a pleasure.  Ben and I really enjoy walking downtown and sitting at the bar of one of our favorite restaurants, especially on these lovely late summer nights.  

10.  I like that I couldn't think of too many things to put on my "Before I die" list.  We saw this sign in Buena Vista last weekend and I gave a lot of thought to what I'd write.  I finally decided that I'd say "Before I die I want to see Paul living happily with friends or family and working at a satisfying job." Not very unique, I'm sure, but still true for me.  Ah, those teen years.  Lucky the parent who doesn't worry.  


Linking to my friend LeeAnna's "I Like Thursdays" at Not Afraid of Color

Sunday, August 25, 2019

A Quick Getaway

We expect to adopt one of these three little Australian Labradoodles in a couple of weeks.  Aren't they adorable?  We're getting excited but we also have a pretty good idea of how much work we're about to take on.   This isn't our first rodeo and we know that a puppy will tie us down for several months!   

Photo courtesy of

So on Thursday we went on a quick overnight trip to Salida, Colorado, about four hours from where we live in Boulder.   Ben wanted to show me beautiful Guanella Pass which links I70 from Georgetown in the north to U.S. 285 in Grant in the south.  It is a Scenic Byway and also the road to the trail head for Mount Bierstadt, one of Colorado's 14ers (meaning a summit of at least 14,000 feet).  Ben had hiked this peak recently with some friends and thought I'd love the scenery of the area.  I wanted to see the town of Salida, known as the white water rafting capital of Colorado, and we both decided we wanted to do a half day raft trip down the Arkansas River.  Neither of us had ever rafted, and were feeling it was now or never!

And you can see from this photo that we had a great time.  

We went on a tour with Performance Tours, which guided us down the rapids through Browns Canyon National Monument.   The water was low which meant we moved more slowly than swift roller coaster ride you'd get in the spring to mid-summer, and I was just fine with that.  There were plenty of "chutes" and "ladders" and other rapids and lots of paddling to do under the guide's direction to get around the many rocks.  And the canyon itself was strikingly beautiful. 

Here's a view of Mt. Bierstadt and nearby Mt. Evans, another 14er.  Ben was right, I really did love this whole area.  

We took a short walk down the start of the trail head and had the thrill of spotting a moose on the edge of a lake.  He was big and brown and easy to see against the green willows by the lakeside.  We didn't get any photos but here's one from the state's website for the Pass, so you can get an idea of how far away we were and you can imagine a big brown moose at the water's edge.  As we walked we watched him go into the water and wade around, I guess trying to eat things he found growing there.  

Courtesy www. 

We stayed the night at the historic Palace Hotel in Salida, and then had lunch in nearby Buena Vista  the next day before heading home.  These were cool towns and I'd like to go back to them someday for a longer visit. 


I really liked the sign in one of the restaurants in Buena Vista which invited people to write in their conclusion to the sentence "Before I Die.....  "    Gave me something to think about on the ride home.  

Linking to Mosaic Monday at Letting Go of the Bay Leaf. 

Thursday, August 22, 2019


This week I finished a wall hanging I started at a workshop in May which I took from a local teacher who taught us how to translate a  photograph of a flower into a quilted fabric piece.  The basic idea was to make a paper pattern from the photograph, cut out the pattern pieces onto fabrics you had selected, and glue them down on a piece of muslin.  Once the flower was constructed onto the muslin you cut away the muslin around the flower and then attached the flower to a background fabric.  

There is nothing new about this concept, but our teacher had developed her own unique way of achieving the steps.  This is not unusual.   Many people come up with their own technique as they attempt to put the basic plan into action.  There are many quilters who teach their techniques on a national level.   I liked the local teacher who was offering to share her method and was excited about the class.  

The teacher generously provided several photographs she had taken in her garden and that she thought would be easy for us to work with.  I chose her beautiful Stargazer Lily.  

For me, the process of making the pattern and then the pattern pieces was difficult and frustrating.  I soon found that I had to develop my own way of doing this.  I would tell you how, but honestly, I don't think I could write it up in any understandable way.  That seems to be a recurring reality;  people come with their own methods and as long as it works for them, great.  I can only say that I know that I built the petals onto parchment paper, sometimes using a pattern piece and sometimes just cutting the fabric and making it work.  Each petal was then moved to the muslin.  I took no photos of the "pattern-creation" part of this process, and the first I find in my files is this one of four of the five petals attached to the muslin.   

Here is the entire flower on the muslin pinned on the design wall along with notes on what I wanted to do next.  I just kept looking at the photo, compared it to what I had on the wall, and then changed anything I wasn't liking.  I had no interest in making a faithful replication of the photo, just wanted to capture the exuberant colors of the flower and the happy way it made me feel to look at it.

Once I got through the petal building, things got more fun, especially the step of finding the perfect background and then stitching the flower.  The green lattice batik was a perfect choice, I think, and I loved doing all the stitching.   I also used some Inktense pencils and some paint to add shading where I thought it was needed.

Here's a detail of the most challenging part, the center of the flower.

 I'm pretty happy with the result!  This piece is going to my sister-in-law Dawn, who loves bright happy colors and has a thing for flowers.   She took one look at it in its early stage and said "I hope that's for me!"  And it is.

Linking to Nina Marie's Off the Wall Fridays.