Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Around Here

Around here....

We have snow!   Ben & I took these photos of the Flatirons and the Sanitas from up in Chautauqua Park on Monday, after we had received 15" over the weekend.   Today we were hit by a couple of hours of fast and heavy snow leaving us with 6" by sundown.  It is supposed to snow off and on throughout the night and I'm curious to see how much will be on the ground by morning.  Another round of snow is expected over the weekend.  When we took these photos the sky was still gray, but soon afterwards the sun came out and we had beautiful bright days on Monday, Tuesday and right up until the first snowflake fell today. 

We like the snow.  Just check out that smile!

Spikey's athletics continue to amaze and amuse us. (No, we didn't pose him in this position!)

I went to the Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art in Denver last Thursday and saw an extensive assortment of furniture, glass, ceramic, tableware, flatware, metal, wood, enamel decorative art, primarily in the Art Deco style.  It was fascinating and a bit overwhelming.   Aren't these "Patriot Radios" pretty cool?

The last home game for the CU Women's Basketball team was on Sunday and we braved the snow to get there and were rewarded with an exciting game.  It was tied at half time but then our team surged ahead and won by almost twenty points.  They have two more away games, but the season is over for me and Ben.  We enjoyed following the team and learning something about basketball.  I also really loved the pep band and looked forward to the Supa Duba Tuba Cheer each game, when the tubas came down on the court and amused us with their spinning antics.

I've been eating some great food and drinking a lot of good wine.  Besides dinners with friends, for friends, and at friends houses, last night we went to the Rioja Roast at one of Boulder's great restaurants, Oak at Fourteenth. Three types of wine from the Rioja vineyards in Spain were served along with a five course dinner.  Very tasty!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Camera Shy Guy

The big snowstorm did hit and we got about fifteen inches, all white and powdery and very pretty. Ben and I are about to walk up to the park and take some photographs which I hope to share with you later. 

Meanwhile, here's Paul, usually so camera shy, sitting with Fetcher and smiling sweetly as I took a photograph.  I was so happy to finally get a decent picture of him! 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Basement Bath Progress

It's been quite noisy around here this week as the rehab of the basement bath is well underway.  At the same time our next door neighbor is having his house stuccoed.   

You may recall that when we bought the house the tiny basement bath was outdated and a bit strange.  It is right off the entry from the garage and we frequently use it as we go in and out of the house through that entrance.  It's also Paul's main bath since it is right outside of his bedroom.  

The above photo shows how it looked when we first saw the house.  When we moved in we replaced the double stainless steel sink with a corner wood cabinet and porcelain sink, painted the room a cool shade of deep green, and put a complete rehab on our list of projects. 

Last week the project got started.  The bath was demoed and new windows installed.  

Early this week the walls and ceiling were reinforced and then lined with Wonderboard in preparation for tiling the entire room -- floors, walls AND ceiling.  A fan was added, a pan for the new shower was poured, and the necessary electrical and plumbing work was done. 

All that tiling was done in a couple of days by Giovanni, a good-humored Italian who not only is a ace tiler but runs a small farm about thirty minutes out of town.   He and his helper Joseph were nice guys to have around for a while.  We sure have been lucky that way with our many house projects; everyone has been not only capable but pleasant to have in our home.  

Here you see the windows and the curb for the shower stall. I really like the verticality of the wall tile since it makes the room seem taller.  A frameless glass shower is going to the right with the right window acting as one of its walls.  The toilet will sit in front of the window on the left. 

 Both windows were framed in tile so they can handle the water in the shower and the moisture in the room.   

The ceiling was tiled for the same reason.  The only thing in the room that really can't get wet will be the cabinet holding the sink.

You may be able to tell from this photo that the ceiling is flat near the window but then angles down towards the entrance door.   It's kind of cool looking.

Next week the sink, cabinet, toilet, shower stall, and fixtures all get installed and the room will be finished.  But even at this unfinished stage it looks like a whole different space and we're really happy how it's turning out.  I'd like to take credit for this but it's all due to our friend and designer/general contractor, Susan, of Interior Motives.  We've just agreed to her good plans, welcomed the workmen she found, and paid the invoices she's submitted.  It's a pretty good system.    

We are expecting a big snowstorm over the next two days which will leave us with more than a foot of snow.  I took this photograph of the Flatirons from our balcony a few hours ago when the storm  louds were starting to drift in from the Rockies.  I love to watch the weather coming in over the Flatirons. 

Although there will be a lot of snow Paul is still going to karate tomorrow and Ben will go to the indoor rock climbing gym, we are still planning out to dinner tomorrow night, and we hope to get to a basketball game on Sunday.  When in Boulder, do as the natives do!  Meaning don't let the snow stop you; get out to do your errands and to have fun.  This will be new experience and I'll let you know how it turns out! 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Another World

We watched with interest as the DC area, where we used to live, "braced" for a snowstorm last night.  About six inches were received and the Federal government and schools are all closed today.  

Boulder had its most recent snowstorm Sunday night into Monday and while totals varied depending on how close to the mountains you are, our street got a solid six inches followed by a topping off last night of another half inch.  

Pretty, isn't it?  Of course around here this is par for the course and every day life continues.  It doesn't hurt that the sun comes out and starts melting everything right away.  Yesterday afternoon I drove over to the Parkour gym to get Paul and the roads were wet but not at all snow covered.  As Paul said, "That's Colorado for you!" 

Today through Thursday are forecast to be sunny, with a high of 60 degrees on Thursday.  Gotta love that sun!

P.S.  I just read in the local paper that the official snow total for Boulder was 9.5", making it a record for February 16.   When I look at the snow on our  deck furniture, it does seem that deep.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Doing Well

Much to my surprise, my sprained ankle is heeling quickly.   I wrap it in an ace bandage and ice and elevate it a few times a day, but gradually have been able to start walking short distances again, meaning I can take care of myself and get things done around the house, which is wonderful.  

Just try not walking if you ever want to increase your appreciation for that miracle!  

It's been a busy week, with a basketball game (our team finally had a decisive win!),  two quilting outings (one playdate at a friend's house and one workshop), a trip to Denver to see the Silk Road exhibition at the Denver Museum of Natural History, and a walk over to CU to see the theater production of Tartuffe (could only stay for half since we had to pick up Paul).  Luckily none of these involve many stairs or long walks, so I didn't have to cancel anything.  

I have to share this cute photo of Paul and Spikey laying companionably on the floor the other night.

Paul has Friday and Monday off of school, so he is a happy camper.  

Work has begun on refinishing the basement bathroom.  The commode, shower, sink, lights, cabinet and window were all removed.  New windows were installed, plumbing reworked, the ceiling reframed, and a new fan put in the ceiling.  The infrastructure is all in place so the tile work can start tomorrow.  I can't wait to see what it looks like.  Of course, I've been shown samples of three different tiles that are being installed, but that's a whole different thing from seeing them installed.

This work has caused less upheaval than I expected since Paul moved himself out of the basement and up to the main floor for the duration, sometimes hanging out in my studio and sometimes in the TV room.   If only refinishing the kitchen this summer would be so easy!

We are enjoying some lovely roses that my two boyfriends brought home for Valentine's Day.  


About six inches of snow is expected over the next day or so.  It's snowing lightly now though it's still quite warm so it isn't sticking.  Tonight it's going to get cold and we should awake to a winter wonderland.   

There hasn't been as much snow as usual so far this year and Boulderites are getting nervous.  Snow means water for the trees and plants, so not enough snow means not enough water to get the gardens through the dry summer months.   But I look at the historical record and see that the area's second largest snowfall in recorded history was in March 2003, when Denver got 31 inches.  There's plenty of time for more snow!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

A Pain in the Ankle

Used with permission
We've had such great weather the past few days!  Monday was expected to be a near-record high of seventy; don't know if it made the record but it was certainly sunny and warm.  Ben and I spent some enjoyable time outside raking up the last of the fall leaves from the patio and cutting back old vines.   

It was so beautiful, in fact, that Ben and I decided to enjoy the lovely evening by checking out a couple of  "Happy Hours" while Paul was at Parkour.  It was still early when we got back about seven so I went out to the patio to enjoy the warm, starry night.  I dimmed the outside lights so I'd have a good view of the stars.  That was a big mistake because I missed the last step, pitched forward, and fell off the steps and onto the concrete pad that used to hold a hot tub.  
By morning my left ankle was killing me and I couldn't put any weight on it.  I'm pretty tough but when you can't walk, you'd better see a doctor so nice Ben took me off to Urgent Care.   The staff there took some lovely X-rays of my foot and ankle --very interesting -- and diagnosed a sprained ankle.  Although we rented some crutches I had a very frustrating day of basically not being able to move.  Of course Ben and Paul were wonderfully helpful but oh my, it is horrible to have to not be able to do anything for yourself!  

Thankfully things are much better today.  I managed to get around the house a bit, was able to get to our WWI class and then out to lunch, and enjoyed relaxing this afternoon in the warmth and sun while I iced and elevated my leg.   I have my fingers crossed for an even better day tomorrow. 

P.S.  Just showed this blog to Ben; he laughed at the cartoon at first but upon reflection said he wasn't so sure it was funny after all!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Selective Vision

 In my online photography class the challenge for the past week was "one shape."  I submitted this image.  When I showed it to Ben he said, "Where did you find that?"   It's a decorative finial which  is right in our backyard, if you look for it.

I'll give you a hint; it's near our neighbor's shed.  If you look down the fence line one way, you see a jumble of fencing and vegetation.  Not too attractive to look at, is it?   

If you look the other way, though, you have a prettier view.

Come in a bit closer; now you see the finial.  

That's what selective vision does for you.  It's a tool for finding and focusing on what appeals to you, usually because it's beautiful or interesting.  

I found this finial because the exercise with my camera made me look for it and find it.  It's been in the back yard since we moved here but I only spotted it yesterday.

I've been thinking about selective vision since we've moved to Boulder.  Just when I think we are so happy here because this is such a great city to be in, I wonder if that's my selective vision at work.

In some cases, it's clear to me.  Yes, there are many more excellent restaurants within five minutes of our house than in our old neighborhood.  Yes, we can get on several fabulous hiking trails by walking out of our house when before we had to drive.    But some questions are harder to answer.

Is this really one of the most beautiful places on earth, or do we focus our attention on the wondrous scenery and ignore the less pretty sights in town?   Are people here really so friendly or do we just not "see" the less friendly folk?   Is the pace more relaxing, people less stressed out, and life just easier, or is that just our view as newly retired workers?

Just when I'm about to proclaim that living here is heaven I think "hold on, there's a lot of selective vision going on as well" and I settle on just smiling to myself instead of proclaiming.

I know this for sure: using selective vision makes me happier.  Today, for instance, promised to be a warm, sunny day and I'd been invited along on a morning hike with Ben, Ray and that handsome dog, Gus.  Sounded appealing but I'm still dealing with a bad cold, have some pain in my leg from the muscle injury I got snorkeling last April, and a fierce wind was howling outside.   I almost said "no, thanks" but then decided to go for it.  It was just too sunny to be inside all day.  So I packed some kleenix, told myself my leg would feel better once I'd stretched it out hiking, and ignored the wind.  Turned out to be a great hike and a happy time.