Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Stairway Reveal

I've given you some some hints, but today you get to see how the new stairwell turned out!  

When we took the carpet off the stairs we removed all the oak railings and banisters and worked with our interior design friend, Susan, who owns Interior Motives, to come up with a plan to use relatively common materials--wood, copper, and granite-- in a craftsman-based modern design for a new stairwell.  In short, we choose to put our money into the craftsmen rather than the materials in coming up with a more modern stairwell.  

We think the finished result matches the New York Times recent description of Apple products:  

 ...Meticulously planned, with polished presentations and a gleaming veneer that masks a great deal of effort.

Here is the before... 

And the after.   While you are admiring the staircase, please take a minute to appreciate the new lighting fixture in the living room which my sister, Jean, pointed out in the lighting store we visited with Susan last May.  Can you see how it echoes the ironwork on the fanlight over the front door and also the metal in the staircase?  Pretty cool, yes?  Good job, Jean! 

The copper pipe is 3/4" type M water pipe which will change color as it acquires a patina over the next few years,  turning into the color of an old copper penny. 

The newel post are made of iron forged in a local shop, the The Iron Rose Forge.   

We asked Amos, who forged the metal, to make us a special plate for one of the posts, which he proudly did.  A work of actually putting the pieces together was done by a carpenter, Matt, but we don't have his mark anywhere on the finished product. 

The newel post caps are made of granite, two pieces glued together and edged so they fit the hand nicely.

I think it turned out quite well, don't you?

The living room is now about complete, as we bought the perfect leather recliner to set next to the window and the fireplace.  We just need to get some drapes to cozy up the room for the winter and a set of bookcases to flank the right side of the fireplace and we should be done! 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Why We Moved to Boulder

The US Pro Challenge bike race through the Rockies finished up yesterday with a last leg which started in Boulder and ended in Denver.  Boulder is a bike friendly city, with city policies that actively encourage both recreational and commuter biking.  Bicycling Magazine named it the second best city in the U.S. for cycling due to its "robust cycling infrastructure and vibrant bike culture" (Davis, CA, was first).  

With this kind of emphasis on biking, having the last leg of a major like race start here was a big deal.  When we heard that the racers were going to come up a hill on Broadway and ride down 13th street, both within a few blocks of our house, Ben and I decided to walk over and see the action.   

We arrived a bit early and decided to get a sub and a beer at Half Fast subs and sit on its patio which overlooked the intersection of Broadway and 13th.  The sub was great, the weather was beautiful, and the gathering crowd was filled with excited anticipation.   The police closed down the roads and then  a parade of police cars with flashing lights drove up the hill and we knew the racers weren't far behind.   

Here they come!  I quickly took one..      


...three photos on my iPhone camera and they were gone!  My, but they were fast!

It was the first time I've ever seen a bike peloton in person, and it was impressive to actually see the tightly packed group zoom by.  And it was great to just be out on a beautiful day being part of things.  

Such easy access to interesting and fun events and activities is one reason why we moved here.  

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Off to a Good Start

John and Dawn and their twin boys left this morning after visiting with us for the past week.  We had a good time visiting with them and showing them a few Colorado sights.  On Thursday we drove into the mountains to ride the Georgetown Loop, a narrow-gauge steam locomotive that connects the old mining towns of Georgetown and Silver Plume.  The towns are just two miles apart but there is a  640 foot elevation change between them.   Railroads couldn't travel on grades over 4% so it took three miles of track looping back and forth to make the climb between the towns.  It was an interesting and beautiful ride and we all enjoyed our day together.  

John and Dawn plan to move to Boulder when Dawn retires in a few years so I was glad that they took a real liking to the area.  They loved the relaxed pace, the low humidity, the friendly people, and the gorgeous mountains, so their planned move is off to a good start!

Paul wasn't with us since Thursday was Freshman Orientation at Boulder High.  He had a good time,  telling us that it was a "weird and crazy day," which I gather was fun.  

Things got even better that afternoon when he met a neighbor who is also a freshman.  We had heard that she lived just two doors down from us but her family had been away for quite a bit of the summer and we had missed meeting them.  But finally we all met and chatted and before you knew it Paul and Jessie had decided to walk to school together on Friday,  the first day of school, along with Jessie's older sister, who is a junior.  The time was set for 7:30, but on Friday morning Paul got a text changing it to 7:20.  I guess the girls were about as excited as Paul was and couldn't wait to get started!

As he hurried out the door, I pleaded for a "First Day of School" photo and managed to get this one, which certainly captured the "no time to focus" hurry of the moment!

Ben and I couldn't resist following Paul as he made his way down the street where he met the girls, keeping a very discrete distance as I got a few more photos.

Paul came home from school tired but cheerful.  High School appears to have gotten off to a pretty good start!

Monday, August 18, 2014

August 18: Guest Blogger

Today I am so pleased to have as my guest blogger, Dawn, my wonderful sister-in-law, who has traveled all the way from Virginia  to spend the week with us, along with her two boys, John and Michael,  and her husband, John. 
 No sooner had Dawn arrived than she made very good friends with Spikey. 
  Spikey loved her so much in return that he wanted to eat her up!  

Here is her story:

Dawn:  {Giggle}.  Spikey was running around on the floor enjoying raspberries given to him by Mary. She was finished giving him raspberries when all of a sudden he turned and made a beeline for my toes, which were painted the same color as the raspberries!  He made several attempts to eat my toes!   I laughed and laughed while Mary took photos.  I am happy to say I still have all my toes.  Spikey is one cool dude. 

Dawn: Today we went to Golden to see the historic town only to find that all the museums were closed.  No matter, we had a good time anyway.  We walked near Clear Creek but it was too cold to go tubing.  My twin boys, the loves of my life, sat down by the rocks and water and enjoyed the scenery.   Colorado sure is beautiful! 

Thank you, Dawn!  We hope to hear from you again!  

Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Weekend

Ben's brother's family is flying in today!  Besides just having an enjoyable visit with us, they are checking Boulder out as a possible place to move to when Dawn retires in five or six years.  We are looking forward to showing them around.

But first I'm heading over to the Lafayette Peach Festival to pick up a box of the famous peaches grown in Palisade, Colorado.  Might not say no to a peach cobbler while I'm there.  We've gotten a few of these delicious peaches from the local farmer's market and can see why there is a whole festival built around them.

My knee and hip were finally feeling decent yesterday so I made my first hike up into Chautauqua, ending up on the Bluebell Shelter trail.  I was so happy to be back up there!  

While on the trail I shot this photo with my iPhone.  I took my Canon S120 on vacation but never used it and haven't found it since I've gotten back.  Photos like this make me wonder if I should even replace it; maybe the iPhone camera is good enough for most of my photography?

This afternoon is the karate studio annual picnic.  Paul's volunteer work in the day camps has landed him a spot of the Leadership Team, so not only is he part of the karate demonstration that will be part of the picnic, but he gets to wear this special uniform which has his name embroidered on the front.  He is rightly excited and we are rightly proud of him.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Around Here

Around here.....

.... Paul's high school had freshmen "check-in" today.  Paul received his locker and his student ID card, though his first day isn't until next Thursday.  

...We are sobered by the news of Robin Williams' suicide and its reminder that mental illness can trump even amazing talent and the love of family and friends.  We drove by the house filmed in Mork & Mindy here in Boulder yesterday and saw this scene.   

...The doctor confirmed that there was no injury to my knee apart from the arthritis I've known about for a few years.  Good news as it means that pain is a result of the muscle tear in my hip which I got snorkeling back in April, and it should continue to improve over the next six months.   Moving seems to help it the most, so I'm trying to pick up my hiking and walking, which, thankfully, is easy and fun to do around here.

...I'm loving these wide open spaces!  So liberating after being in the lush green of the east coast.

...The finishing touches are being put on the new stairway.  I hope it will be finished later this week so I can show you detailed photos.

...We're getting ready for some important company; the arrival of Ben's brother's family on Saturday.  Art is being hung, shelves are being cleared, and plans to have fun are being made.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Post-birthday Ramblings

My birthday dinner of Maine lobsters was a great success.  

Ben really outdid himself, ordering the live lobsters to be flown in from Maine, cooking all ten of them, inviting a fun group of friends and neighbors (well, hey, I guess those neighbors have now turned into friends!), and arranging for the requisite drinks, side dishes, and dessert; in short, planning and pulling off an evening which we all enjoyed.  Thank you, Ben! 

Raymond served as the bartender, making Mai Tai's for everyone and an extra one for me, since I was the birthday girl.  So good and so appreciated.

I feel so fortunate to have received birthday cards from all three of my siblings.  It is such a great thing that we all like each other and stay in touch.  And what a pleasure to receive various texts and Facebook messages throughout the day from friends back east.  Thanks, everyone!

When I went out for my hike this morning it was cool enough to wear a T shirt with  3/4 length sleeves.  The temperature has fallen throughout the day and now, at 4:00 PM, it is 70 degrees.  People walking by our house are wearing sweatshirt jackets and I've switched into long pants.

This may be the first wave of cooler temperatures that we're told hits about mid-August.  I hope so since Ben's brother and his family are coming to visit starting August 16 and are used to having air conditioning.  We were too, but have done fine without it since the summer night air here is usually so clean and cool.   I'm hoping we won't get a rogue hot spell just as they arrive!

Tuesday will mark four months since I tore my hip muscle snorkeling in St. John's.  It is definitely healing, though some days, like yesterday and today, it makes itself known in a big way.  Tuesday I go see a knee doctor to be sure that the knee pain I still have is actually related to the torn muscle and not some other problem that needs attention.   The good news is that when my hip or knee hurts, a walk usually helps.  Still, I'm looking forward to actually being healed!