Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The 2015 BolderBoulder

The big event here in Boulder for Memorial Day is the BoldBoulder, a 10K race through town that ends at the CU football stadium.  To say it is a popular event is an understatement.  It's in its 37th year, and in a city of about 103,000 the 2015 race attracted over 46,000 participants, from small children to senior citizens.

The race began at 6:55 Monday morning and a half hour later the first runner crossed the finish line.  From 7:30 to 11:30 "citizen racers" (non-professional runners)  streamed into the stadium for several hours to cross the finish line.  At 11:30 the course was cleared so that about 100 professional runners could complete the pro race.  By 12:15 all the runners were in and a Memorial Day ceremony began, watched by the crowd packed into the stadium


My friend, Inger, and I walked over to the stadium to watch the fun.  The racers come into the stadium on the right hand side, ran around the track, and crossed the finish line on the left, where the BolderBoulder banner was hanging.  The crowd watched and cheated them on as they finished their race.




What I loved about the event was how inclusive it was; everyone who wanted to could come and run or walk the course and have a great time doing it. Participants were divided into ninety different "waves," with each wave having a different start time.  The fastest runners began first, followed by waves of runners by speed, followed by "Joggers/walkers," followed by "Walkers."  Boulder is big running town, but the race is organized to encourage participation by all levels of runners.   Here's what the web site said:

"... the BolderBOULDER is the largest collection of elite runners outside of the Summer Games. But last year we welcomed over 55,000 runners of all shapes, sizes and speeds in more than 90 waves. That means whether you’re looking to walk, amble, trot, jog, or set a personal record, there’s a place for you."

There were runners/walkers of all shapes, sizes, ages, and speed.



I also loved how much fun everyone was having.  Again, from the web site:

"Boulder knows how to party like we know how to run. We understand that sometimes running is about suffering, but BolderBOULDER is about having a great time. The experience includes an incredible pre-race expo (with great sponsors and samples), live bands every quarter mile, food, cheering, craziness, costumes, more cheering, the world’s largest Memorial Day celebration and a post event Expo the likes of which any “normal” 10K can’t compete."

People came in fun costumes, especially tutus and capes...


...although there seemed to be no limit to the type of outfits people wore.  (How about these flamingo heads???)  


Some of them skipped for joy as they finished the race.  


Some of them held hands...


....and some walked arm in arm.
 

There were young kids helped by their moms, and older people helped by their friend. 


A few were pushed in their wheelchairs...

  

... and a few wheeled themselves into the stadium.


First responders were represented....











...as were the Chick-fil-a cows.


I had such a great time watching all the "citizen runers" come in.   I was so inspired by the spirit of the day that I began dreaming of participating in the race myself next year.

At 11:30 the pro race began.  We watched on the big screen as the women's teams and then the men's team made their way through the city, and held our breath when the winners burst into the stadium.  That was fun to watch, also.

Then came the Memorial Day ceremony, really quite wonderful with its tribute to four honorees who served during WWII, the induction of new military recruits, the playing of the national anthem by an eighty year old veteran, and a military flyover.   But best of all was the sky diving, when seven divers entered the stadium carrying flags of the five branches of the armed services, the POW flag, and the flag of the United States.  Now that was cool!







Friday, May 22, 2015

Scenes from the Birthday Dinner



Ben and his great friend Raymond share the same birthday and since yesterday was the big 60th, we celebrated with a special dinner at Frasca, one of the highest rated restaurants in the Boulder/Denver area.  We've eaten there before on special occasions but this time we reserved the "Chef's Table" in the kitchen so we could watch all the action in the "back of the house" throughout the evening.  Dining with Raymond in a place like Frasca is a special pleasure since he not only knows a great deal about food and wine, but knows most of the staff.   It was a lot of fun.  








Wednesday, May 20, 2015

It's Still Raining!

It still raining here with drizzle, showers, and thunderstorms predicted throughout the next few days. 

This was the scene near a coffee shop yesterday. Do you see how there is no one out on the patio? That's because it was cold and wet!   


And look at the people inside; all bundled up in rain coats, sweaters, and parkas.  Hey, Mr. Sun, Memorial Day is this weekend; time to shine!  My friend who was having coffee with me wryly observed that she felt like she was sitting is a Seattle coffee shop in February instead of a Boulder shop in May. 


This morning's paper told us that this was the rainiest May in the last twenty years and that there was the chance of rain everyday through the coming holiday weekend:
"Boulder County is in the midst of one of its rainiest periods in recorded history, and the deluge isn't projected to end anytime soon.
Meteorologist David Barjenbruch of the National Weather Service said the forecast calls for the threat of rain every day at least through the weekend.
"It's been pretty bleak if you like the normal Colorado sun we're all used to," Barjenbruch said. "It's been one of the more cloudy and wet periods we've seen for quite some time." 
Indeed, you'd have to go back 20 years to find a wetter May in either Boulder or Longmont, where monthly rainfall records both hang in the balance at the moment."
Having gotten through the horrible flood of September 2013, the rain does make people nervous.  The rains we are having now aren't anywhere near as heavy as the floods and while there is some flat-land flooding, nothing serious seems to be happening.  Still, everyone is ready to see the sun again. 
Well, rain or not, life goes on.
We celebrated in style at Raymond's big birthday bash on Sunday. It was a great evening with lots of wonderful food and wine and friendship.   Toasts were made and everyone was happy.   Ray has lived in Boulder for about thirty-five years and has many close friends who he honored that night, Ben being one of his oldest and closest. 

The school year is wrapping up.  The last day of classes is Friday and final exams are next week.  Paul is excited that school is almost out. 

Yesterday I helped shop for the school's end of the year Music picnic and awards ceremony.  It was, of course, moved inside, but the teachers still planned to cook hamburgers and hot dogs for the kids.  The parent association did the shopping and I volunteered because I rarely have the chance to push two big carts around Costco.  If you don't do it often it can be fun.  


 It's not everyday you get to buy two hundred and fifty hamburgers and one hundred and fifty hot dogs!


Friday, May 15, 2015

Heading Into the Weekend

We're heading into another cool and rainy weekend.  


I'm particularly watching the weather because Sunday we're going to a party at Oak at Fourteenth, a fun and great restaurant here in Boulder, that our good friends Raymond and his wife Paula are giving to  celebrate Raymond's sixtieth birthday.  


His official birthday is next Thursday and since he shares it with Ben the four of us are going out that night to another great restaurant, Frasca.  But Sunday is Ray's party and we are glad we are here to join in the celebration.  It would be nice if it wasn't raining, though.   

Thankfully the sun has been popping in and out of the clouds the past few days so we have had some periods of wonderful sunshine.  But things can change in an instant.  When I drove Paul to the gym on Wednesday the skies opened and the rain poured down, but the sun shone so brightly that I had to put on my sunglasses.  I've never driven in the rain with my sunglasses on before! 

And then this morning when Ben and I started another big hike the sun was shining, but as we hiked up the mountain the clouds moved in and by the end of the hike it was raining.   I do love the dramatic views of the Flatirons and mountains which we get during this kind of weather, but I was glad that I had packed my rain jacket.  


I had my first fox sighting the other day when I was hiking up in Chautauqua.  I followed him for a while taking photographs...  


...until he stopped and turned and looked right at me.  It suddenly occurred to me that being so close to a wild fox, especially one which was out during the daytime --rabid? -- wasn't too bright and I made a quick retreat away from him.


Yesterday I spent the day with our interior designer friend, Lotus, making decisions about the kitchen remodel.  We decided that the floor will be a wide planked strandwoven bamboo in a rich dark color.



The sink will be one single bowl made of gray "egranite," looking something like this.

.

I picked out a faucet similar to the one we had in Maryland, except you can turn this one on by touching it pretty much anywhere, so once you have set the water temp you can turn it on and off without using your hands, which should be useful when your hands are all messy.


The biggest decision was the counter top.  We liked our granite top in Maryland and we like the quartz counter we have here in our bathroom, so either material would be fine.   Lotus took me to a big stone sales center where we looked at quartz samples and then great big slabs of granite.  It's pretty amazing to walk through all the slabs looking for something you love.  It helped that I had already ruled out quite a few colors, like red, green, and brown.  Still, there was a lot to see.


But we did find "the one" and had the workmen pull the slab out for a thorough examination.  Whites and grays and lots of interesting movement in the stone; yup, that's the one for our kitchen!


But at the tile store there were just way too many lovely possibilities for the back splash. We looked in the bins....


...and on the walls and realized that the salesperson was right when she said, "There are so many options."   Yes, indeed there are.  And since the back splash can be installed last we decided to wait and revisit the question after the cabinets are in and we have a better sense of the space.   


But I do really love this curving pattern. It would be great in white.  Well, we'll see how our money holds out!



Monday, May 11, 2015

Mother's Day Portrait


I'm so glad that Ben remembered to take the annual Mother's Day portrait.  I had forgotten all about it! 

We did have snow on Mother's Day, though only three or four inches, not the six to ten that was predicted.  We went out to dinner in Denver Saturday night when the storm started and had a very exciting drive back to Boulder in a raging snowstorm!  When we went to bed I was sure we'd find deep snow in the morning, but we didn't.   The sun came out for an hour or so late morning and we headed out for a five mile hike only to have the sun disappear again, leaving us to hike in the cold and wet.  Here I am at the high point of the hike with snow on the ground, looking a little put out, yes?  Well, the hike down was beautiful and we had a nice hot bowl of soup for lunch to warm up.    


But this morning the sun is out and everyone is happy to see it.  Seems like it's been days and days since it was sunny.   I think Spikey is one of the happiest to see the sun! He really missed it and there's no explaining these things to a lizard, even one as cool as Spikey.