Monday, August 31, 2015

Jump Start

 Ben got a jump start on removing the kitchen cabinets on Friday.   Can you believe that he got those heavy upper cabinets down all by himself?  I certainly wasn't much help, though when Paul got home from school he helped carry them out of the kitchen and onto the deck, where they await pickup by the folks at Resource who will resell them.    We were certainly amazed to find that the kitchen used to be painted pink!

Today most of the remaining cabinets are coming out.  Goodbye old cabinets!

This morning we're in an uproar with the living room being turned into food prep area, the dining room being turned into a work staging area, and the kitchen being ripped out.  

I think I'll pretend that all is calm and talk about soothing subjects for a moment. 

A local store had a big sale on frost proof pots and I picked up these three beauties and got them planted yesterday.  I think they add a lot of visual interest to the patio.  

A few weeks ago I bought a new rose bush and am thrilled with how well it is doing.  Isn't it gorgeous?

This is the photo I submitted for this week's challenge in my online photo class.  The subject was "The Power of One."  I was feeling pretty good about it until I showed it to Paul and he pointed out that he could see my reflection.  I can't believe that I worked out this image in PhotoShop for almost an hour and didn't see myself in the lens!  I could have easily cloned myself out.

 Chalk it up to being distracted.  There is quite a bit going on around here.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Bike to School Day

 Check out the big smile on Paul!

Today he biked to school for the first time and he was pretty excited.  Around here a lot of kids skateboard, scooter, and bike to school.  They also take the public buses, walk, and carpool.  The school system only provides bus transportation for students who live up the canyons.  Last year Paul mostly carpooled to school but this year we and the other parents told the kids we won't drive them unless the weather is bad.  After all, it's only a little over a mile to school and exercise is good for you.  

After several days of walking to school Paul was ready to try biking, especially since the ride to school is mostly downhill. 

Check out the big pack on Paul.  

This is what made me more nervous than excited about his biking to school.   The thing is huge and heavy and I could easily imagine it swinging as Paul rode, unbalancing him and him tumbling into the street.   On the other hand the ride is short, there's a bike lane for half of it, and drivers around here are certainly used to watching out for bikes.  So this morning after a few practice runs down our quiet side street he was off!  

Go, Paul, go! 

Fifteen minutes later we got a text saying that he had arrived safely at school.  

He's off to a good start.  Now we'll see how the ride home, about half of which is uphill, goes.    

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Kitchen Demo Day Minus Four

The kitchen demo work is slated for Monday.  All the cabinets will come down, the appliances and the sink removed, and the counter tops taken out.  It will be a glorious mess, a big step towards a new updated kitchen which we will all really enjoy.  

But first we have to get everything out of the kitchen and most everything out of the adjacent dining room which will be used as a staging and work area during the rehab.

Argh!!  Didn't we just pack up a kitchen last year when we moved from Maryland to Colorado?  How could we accumulate so much stuff since we moved in?  And where will we put all these boxes?

Oh well, we keep telling ourselves it will all work out.  And it will.  Having lived through one kitchen rehab we know we will survive this one.        

Fetcher knows how to make the best of things!  Hey, little kitty, I'm needing that drawer for some pots and pans!

 Yesterday we picked up the wood for the new floor.  A fork lift was used to get the wood and cork underlayment out to the car....

...and brute strength to get it loaded into the Subaru.

It all fit but it sure was a heavy load.

The other big job was writing the check.

It's all ready and waiting in the dining room now.  It'll be fun to see it end up as our kitchen floor.

Monday, August 24, 2015

New Shoes for a New Hike

After more than a year of walking almost every day in my Oboz hiking shoes, I decided it was time to buy a new pair.  They still have some life in them but the treads are really shot.  

Yesterday they made their first hike, up Lily Mountain, about an hour drive from here, in Estes Park.  Accompanied by our friend Lotus and her friend Rich, a former park ranger who now lives in the area, we hiked a mile and a half long rocky trail which went up, up, up about 1,000 feet to the summit of Lily Mountain at 9786 feet.  That's a challenging hike!  I thought we were taking the Lily Lake Trail, which is flat and boy, was I surprised when I realized where we were really going!  Next time I'll ask more questions.  But I did okay and I'm happy to report that my new shoes were very comfortable and their unworn treads handled the rocky trail really well.  

The final push up to the top was a rock scramble, generally not my favorite thing but I just went for it and managed to get up safely.   Here's my new shoes resting at the top.    

It was an effort to get there, but the views were amazing. That's the east side of Long's Peak, a 14,000 foot peak, to the right of Lotus.

Being up so high made Ben smile!  He and Lotus and Rich are long time rock climbers so they were in their element, pointing out the different places in the area they had climbed and generally feeling at home way up there.  

Can you tell that I was a bit wary of the height?  There were steep drops off the rocky summit which was unnerving.  I tried to pretend that I was cool with it but I didn't move from my safe little perch.  

Going down is always better for me than going up.  We all agreed that the mile and half down seemed very long, probably because most of the way we had to carefully pick our way through the rocky path.  In this photo we had reached a less rocky part of the trail, and could relax.   You can see how beautiful the area is.   

Nothing like a cold beer at the trail's end and being tired and hungry from a good hike sure makes you enjoy your meal.   

It was a good day and a auspicious start for my new hiking shoes.  

Saturday, August 22, 2015


It's a beautiful summer's day here in Boulder, a perfect time to share the glory of the area's sunflowers.  


 Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Around Here

Around here....

It is unexpectedly chilly today with only a high of 71 degrees predicted.  Cool enough to have all the windows closed, which is just as well since road crews are replacing the sidewalk outside our house and it is noisy!

 I'm typing this wearing long pants which feel weird on my legs after all these weeks of wearing shorts.  Warmer weather is forecast but today's crisp coolness is a reminder that fall will soon be here and to treasure these last few weeks of summer.

Summer means cooking and eating outside and we enjoyed doing just that on Saturday night when Raymond made paella on his special propane fueled paella cooker.  That Handsome Dog Gus was an excellent floor cleaner.

Surely one of the pleasures of life is a delicious dinner on a beautiful summer night on the patio.

Raymond's Cocktailpunk business has been growing like crazy lately and Ben and I and Paul occasionally help get orders ready to ship out.  When a big order was unexpectedly doubled the other day we helped for a few hours which was fun.  I always smile when I see Cocktailpunk bitters in stores and bars.   

We've been hiking most days, also a great pleasure in the summer since there is so little humidity and so much beauty here.   I took this photo on the Homestead Trail which we hiked with our friend Lori the other day.

The one vegetable we planted, a cherry tomato plant, has gone to town and is giving us tasty red fruits which I like to pick and eat while standing in the garden.

Fetcher's summer activity has been to steadily rid the neighborhood of mice.  We know because he brings the bodies back to our yard to show off his prowess.  Today Ben found two out along the sidewalk.  

Ben had a big day of rock climbing yesterday, going up the Third Flatiron.   Aren't the views from up there amazing? Ben took this photo of another climber on the rock (not in Ben's climbing party).

To give you some size context, here's an old photo of the Third Flatiron showing the CU (Colorado University) painted in white on the formation.   It was later painted over in red by the city to make it less visible.  The climber in Ben's photo is on the left side of the U.

Here's how they get down.  Yikes!  Glad I didn't see this photo until they were about off the climb.

Before the climb Ben and his climbing partner made the ritual check through all Ben's gear to select what they'd need on the climb.  I always enjoy seeing the variety of climbing devices and the colorful ropes and slings.  

On a less exciting note, we've spent the past couple of days playing "musical chairs" with our furniture.  In preparation for Ben's family visiting for a week earlier this month Paul had suggested moving the second red leather chair from the TV/Guest room to the Living Room so both John and Ben could sit in a recliner.

That turned out so well that I wanted to sit in a recliner this winter and we decided to leave the second chair where it was.  But it looked wrong with the small dining room table that we had under the big window.  After a bit of shopping around I realized we already owned the perfect piece of furniture, the credenza that we had originally put in the TV/Guest room.  It looked great in its new spot in the living room between the two recliners.

We moved the table that used to be in front of the living room window over to the other wall to hold Spikey's cage...

....and moved the white table that had held Spikey's cage to my studio so I have a "right return" by my main sewing machine and a spot for my second machine.  I had originally bought it to use in my room but gave it to Spikey when he needed it.  I was glad to have it back.

That was all good but it meant we needed something in the TV/Guest room to hold the media equipment.

Yesterday while Ben was climbing I found this cool red chest in a local second hand shop and Paul helped me move it home.  

 From that same shop I bought a steel desk to use as a "right return" for Paul's room.  We had a busy day buying and moving and rearranging but we all love the results.  Ben was pleasantly surprised to see what had happened at home while he was climbing, especially since he didn't have to help with any of the moving!      

Paul now has his computers set up for efficient gaming and, I hope, efficient homework completion.  School starts Friday, and that to me always signals the end of summer.  

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Sewing Quilts for a Good Cause

Yesterday I met with sixty other quilters from the Longmont Quilt Guild to sew quilts that will be donated to local organizations which help families in need.  Last year the members made two hundred quilts that were given to local groups like the women's shelter and the fire department.  This kind of outreach is a major activity of the Guild and not only is it helpful, it is a lot of fun.  

Most quilts made for donation are fairly simple (i.e., boring) to sew if you do the work by yourself at home.  But the same mindless work is fun when you are with a group of compatible, friendly quilters.  We worked in teams and spent about six hours together doing "production line" assembly of the quilts. We sewed for about four and a half hours and spent the rest of the time was spent eating hamburgers, hot dogs, and ice cream sundaes; yum!   I had been invited to join a fun group and I had a good time.  There was a lot of activity going on!

The Outreach Coordinator had pre-cut the fabric needed for each quilt and packaged it up with all the necessary supplies and instructions to complete the quilt.  Here's one of my team members holding up one a set of instructions. 

Each team member had a role in the process.  Mine was to match up fabric pieces that were to be sewn together and hand them to someone at a sewing machine. When I was passing along fabric to just one sewer it was pretty easy, but later we had two sewers working on a quilt and then things got fast and furious!  My sewers would tease me if they didn't have something to sew, cheerfully singing out "Mary, Mary, I need more fabric!"  I got to hustling so fast that I even made a mistake, darn it!  Someone helped me rip it out, which was nice.  The other team members were pressing the finished sewing, pinning seams, or otherwise occupied with a specific step of the process.  It was great fun and even got more fun after we'd all eaten sundaes and had that sugar rush going for us.

In the end my team made three finished quilt tops, ready to be passed along to machine quilters to finish up with quilting and binding and labels. 

This is the first one, up on the design wall, minus all the sashing strips between the rows. 

This is the second one, finished! Does it look similar to the first? Well, it is the same pattern just in different fabrics and held sideways so you can see all of our happy faces.  Which do you like the best?

This is the third one, more complicated, and which took much longer to finish. 

All the finished quilts will be labeled with the guild label.  

There is a story of a woman who took her children and fled her abusive husband, seeking safety in a women's shelter.  As she settled her family into their temporary home she was directed to a closet where she could find bedding and cozy blankets.  As she looked through the offerings she was surprised to a quilt that she herself had made a few months earlier and donated to her quilt guild to pass along "to charity."  Now she was one of "the needy" and was thrilled and humbled to benefit from her own act of kindness.  

I'm sure this is an apocryphal story, but it still makes me tear up.