Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Great Way to Vote

In Colorado we are voting by mail!

In May of 2013 the state Senate passed a measure to have ballots mailed to all registered voters.  If you didn't want to mail in your vote, you could drop it off at a voting center or go to a voting booth.  This is the first major election under this new system.

Ben and I had registered to vote at the farmer's market --pretty convenient! -- so we received this notice in the mail a while back.

Sure enough, our official ballots arrived last week. We had three weeks to complete them and mail them in. 

By that time we had also received a printed "Voter's Guide 2014" and a "2014 State Ballot Information Booklet" which includes a "Recommendations on Retention of Judges."   I was glad to get them and consulted them often as I filled out my ballot, especially as I decided on how to vote on some of the interesting local issues that are on the ballot this year. 

Several involve raising property or sales taxes temporarily to fund flood recovery efforts (from the terrible flooding of September 2013),  to provide "a safety net" for families and children of Boulder County in financial need, and to fund several arts and civic projects of benefit to the community.   I voted "yes" on all of these; can you tell I'm liberal and proud of it?   I'm not alone around here but  our combined city, state, county and transit taxes already run 8.36% so we'll see if people have reached their limit.   My guess is "no" and that these new taxes will pass.  

Another one that I'm rooting for is a measure to raise property taxes over the next thirty years to fund much-needed repairs to the Boulder Valley schools through a $576 million bond.   If Paul's school, which was built in 1934, is any indication, it is certainly needed.  

The Colorado-wide amendments we're voting on include one to declare a fetus a person (no, thanks), one to establish more horse track racing and casino gambling (again, no thanks),  and another to require labeling of all genetically modified foods (that was tough; I finally voted no, probably canceling out Ben's vote.).  

In Maryland the Democratic candidates always won, making voting very unexciting, but here every Democratic vote counts.   We have a neck-to-neck Senate race of Senator Mark Udall against U.S. Representative Cory Gardner and a tight Governor's race of Governor John Hickenlooper against Republican Bob Beauprez.  

I found I loved voting by mail.  Colorado is one of five states that allow mail-in voting (along with Oregon, Arizona, California, Montana, and Hawaii) and I'm glad to be part of it.   Well, at least until I got to the part about putting on the right amount of stamps.  It took 69cents to mail in my ballot so I rooted through our collection of stamps to find one old 39 cent stamp and three ten cent stamps.   But it turned out they were one cent stamps that I had mistakenly turned upside down to look like ten cent stamps.   Good thing Ben saw the mistake when he took my ballot out to our mailbox to leave for the postman!  Next time I'd better just drop my ballot off at the voting center!

Sunday, October 19, 2014


I can't help but notice that my new red car matches the beautiful autumn reds we're enjoying here in Boulder this year.

Friday, October 17, 2014

The Silver Lining

The silver lining about the accident on Wednesday is that the repair bill on the damage my Honda Accord took when it was hit from the rear was $2700 and since the car is worth less than $5000 we've decided it is finally time to get rid of it.  

It has had twelve years of hard use, and after taking the brunt of the transporting Paul and his friends around from age two till now is beat up and dirty, both inside and out.   I almost replaced it a couple of years ago when I got a case of "new car fever" and we also thought seriously of selling it last spring rather than drive it across country for the move to Boulder.  In the end, we decided to hang on to it, but this accident has tipped the scales.  

The good thing is that I had no problem deciding what to buy.  In my "new car fever" stage I  had test driven a VW Golf and absolutely loved its zippy ride, upscale interior, and "just right" size.   Our friend Susan bought one last week and I enjoyed being one of her first passengers.  

So yesterday I headed off to the VW dealer and within a few hours had found a diesel stick shift that I'll be picking up today.    I'm pretty excited!   

It's "Tornado Red."  Finally, I'll be able to spot my car in a crowded parking lot!   

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


As much as we love living here in Boulder, I do have to say that driving here is a challenge.  There are a lot of cars on densely populated streets, along with skateboarders, bicyclists, and pedestrians.  You have to pay attention!  And even if you are paying attention, everyone else may not be.  

When Ben and John came out to visit last spring, Ben was rear-ended.  And today I was whacked, again from the rear.   The funny thing is that I was sitting in a line of cars stopped to check out an amazing fender bender in the other lane; the hitting car was smashed but the car it hit was unaffected, which was very strange.   Apparently the college-age driver behind me was watching that wreck as well and forgot to look ahead until she smashed right into me. So now there were two accidents, one in each lane!  

My poor old car!  It's actually worse than it looks, since the trunk is affected.   

We'll see if this leads to "new car" fever.  My car is twelve years old, has plenty of scratches, and will never be clean inside again, but I like it because of that; you always worry about messing up a new car while in an old car you just shrug things off.   But a friend just bought a VW Golf TDI Diesel, which is pretty sweet, and a new car has its charms, like iPod connectivity and the screens that tell you what songs are playing.  That would make it worth the fuss of trying to keep a new car new. 

We'll see.  One thing I know for sure:  I will never ever buy a silver car again.   I'm so tired of looking through all the silver colored cars in the parking lot to find mine.   My next car has to be red or yellow or orange or something I can spot easily.  Gotta have some color!


Monday, October 13, 2014

The Weekend

My sister, Jean, was supposed to visit us this weekend but had to delay her trip when her AFib reoccurred a few weeks ago.   On top of that disappointment there was rain off and on the past few days.  But even so we managed to enjoy the weekend.

Our friends Ray and Paula and Gus showed us the lovely Homestead hike with it's beautiful patches of fall-red sumac.

You can never get enough views of the Flatirons.  The hike was south of our house, so this view is facing north.  

Paul spent Saturday afternoon helping organize and judge a "practice tournament" for younger kids at his karate studio.  He is thrilled to be part of the Leadership Team.  

Ben cooked two amazing dinners, including a new recipe,  Pasta Alla Norma, from the New York Times, which we really liked.

Ben's apron advertises the Artist's Open Studio, which was in its second weekend.  Lotus and I went around to see a couple of artists and I bought two pieces which I'll give as Christmas presents.  Did you know that there are only 72 days until Christmas? 

When he wasn't cooking or rock climbing, Ben was working on painting the deck.  It may look like Ben has painted himself into a corner, but he didn't1 

Spikey was quite energetic all weekend, climbing up anything he could find and being very entertaining.

Seeing the studios of so many artists these past two weekends made me focus a bit on my own workspace.  I went home and tried to make my studio less cluttered and more serene.  Originally I had put the sewing table perpendicular to the door, which blocked the flow of the room:   

But this weekend I rearranged it so the sewing table is in front of the window, making the room seem more open:  

I ruthlessly culled out books, picture frames, and electronic equipment so I could make order out of the chaos that had been in the wall closet.   I think I can find things in there now.

After all that work, it was just fun to actually sew in the newly organized space.  I'm working on the little piece on the cutting table.  It was almost done when it decided it wanted to be bigger --honestly, you never know what these pieces will tell you -- so now I'm adding a graphic black and gold border. 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Then and Now

Back in Maryland if we needed our kitchen knives sharpened the task loomed large.  First you had to figure out where to take them --hardware store?  knife kiosk at the mall? -- then you had to drive there which meant dealing with traffic, and once you got there the interaction with the clerk would probably be fairly impersonal.  

Here in Boulder we simply walked down to the Farmer's Market, turned our knives over to the Johnson's after a pleasant "good morning" chat,  strolled the market with a cup of coffee from one of the coffee vendors, and then returned to the Johnson's booth, paid the fee, and walked back home in the beautiful fall weather.  Mission accomplished by 9:30 in the morning, along with a good walk and some community sociability.  


We had a good life in Maryland, but this is better.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Scenes from a Hike

On Sunday Ben and I and our friend Lotus hiked together up to Crown Rocks on Flagstaff Mountain. I hadn't hiked this high up Flagstaff and the views were beautiful.

While Lotus and Ben checked out the climbing at Crown Rocks, I tried my hand at taking closeups of the rocks.  I found it much harder than I expected!  It's not so easy to find a focal point.  Maybe that's why so many close-up photos of rocks include some lichen or a bug or something on which to focus the eye. 

I thought this type of shot turned out better.

You might have deduced from the gorgeous skies that we are still in the middle of a stretch of great weather.  Clear skies, 70+ degree days, cool nights; it's perfect!