Sunday, February 19, 2017

Wild turkeys, Red Rocks, and Buffalo Bill in Denver

Continued from this post.

Jeff had a couple of clients in the Denver area, so I went with him. If he had his choice, I would go with him every week. 
It was a big change of temperature from Atlanta to Denver. 
Jeff's first client was in Parker, so we drove south to our hotel. The plan was for me to drive him to the place of business in the morning and then I would be free to explore until it was time to pick him up in the evening and drive up to Evergreen to the next client. So the next morning I threw on some clothes and off we went. The route did not go as expected. We wound up some windy roads into the hills. It was a residential area and we wondered how we were going to find a manufacturing plant up in those hills. This is what we found when we reached the address.
Wild turkeys.
And deer.
And some very nice houses. 

Jeff called the client and apparently she had written her home address on the client form instead of her place of business. So we hot-footed it back to the hotel, I took a quick shower and packed my bag and off we went. To Evergreen. Same address as the second client.
Life seldom goes as expected. 
Jeff had been in the area and done some exploring on previous trips, so he suggested I visit Red Rocks and Buffalo Bill's grave. I decided on Red Rocks first and set off up the freeway. It was only a few minutes' drive and it was easy to tell when I got there. 
Red Rocks. 

I parked in the lot above the amphitheatre. I kept stopping to take selfies in front of the magnificent rocks but nothing did them justice. And then I saw the amphitheatre itself. 

It is a marvel of engineering, set right into the rocks. Concerts have been held at this venue for over 100 years. The amphitheatre was built between 1936 and 1941 using labour and materials provided by the CCC and WPA. So many famous bands and artists have performed here that it boggles my mind: The Beatles, Jethro Tull, Jimi Hendrix, John Denver (of course,) Carole King, The Carpenters, The Grateful Dead, U2, Coldplay, just to name a few. Jeff's favourite concert DVD of Piano Guys takes place at Red Rocks and many other bands have produced concert albums here. 
This photo isn't mine, but it gives you an idea of the majesty of the place.

I think it's kind of amazing that this whole place is open to the public. It is frequently used by people for exercise. The venue seats almost 10,000 people and a flight of 380 stairs on each side of the seating provides a natural site for athletic types to show off their cred. The woman in the blue tank top was squat jumping up the seat levels. Crazy. 

There she goes!

The view from the stage.

Carrying on down the steps and past the stage, you approach the hiking trails, which are 6,280 feet above sea level. 

The Trading Post Trail is only 1.4 miles, so I thought I would give it a go, in spite of the elevation. I surprised myself by thoroughly enjoying the solitary walk. There were a few fellow travelers, but for the most part I was the only human in sight and I was okay with that. It was a gorgeous day, warm and with the occasional cloud flurry, and I walked with my mouth open at the magnificence of the scenery. 

The trail starts to lead back to the beginning. I was a bit hot and thirsty but reluctant to leave.

I went back up to the amphitheatre a slightly different way and was glad that I hadn't seen this before I started my walk or I may never have continued.

This time I walked up this man-made path. 

Up the stairs this time. These are not included in the total of the 380 stairs by the seating.

And there they are.
Up we go!

I was a smidge tired after all of that stair-climbing and rock-clambering, but the day was yet young so I drove to Buffalo Bill's grave on Lookout Mountain. This overlooks the Rocky Mountain foothills and the Western plains, where Bill Cody spent many happy times.

Cody died in Denver in 1917 while visiting his sister. He had told his wife that he wanted to be buried up on Lookout Mountain, so he was buried here June 3rd, 1917. His wife, Louisa, was buried next to him four years later. There is some controversy on the subject, as the good people of Cody, Wyoming also claim that he is buried on Cedar Mountain, just outside his home town. It's an interesting story if you care to follow the link. Their foster son, Johnny Baker, was so worried about the feud between the two towns that he reburied the Codys under a ton of concrete to discourage any possible theft. 

The weather took a turn for the worse by the time I got back to the car so I went back to the hotel until it was time to pick Jeff up again.
That night we drove all the way up to Fort Collins to visit with some dear friends.
The next day I took late checkout and was completely slothful. It snowed overnight so after I checked out I sat in the lobby by the fire until it was time to leave.
I rather enjoyed my little break from the norm.
Now I want to see a concert at Red Rocks Amphitheatre.
Another jaunt for The List.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Nana Files Day Four: a mishap or two

Seven o'clock arrived just as promptly as ever and we made a quick start on the morning by playing outside. It was sunny and windy and cool. The girls discovered the joy of wall sitting.  And we kicked balls around. 

We took a morning break from the TV, much to London's disgruntlement, and listened to children's songs on Alexa. There was much singing and dancing.

It was a nice overcast day, so after nap (Scarlet slept for three hours, I think I am wearing the little darlings out) we set off for the first park again in the wagon. I felt pretty energetic, much less achy than I've been for a while, so I figured the exercise was doing me good. We were almost to the water tower when I realised that one of the girls' water bottles was missing. Miss Scarlet must have biffed it over the side. Casualty number one of the day. I decided to wait until the walk home to look for it, as we were more than halfway to the park.
Miss London was full of smiles on the swing again.

And Scarlet rampaged all over the play structure, waving at everyone she saw. The girl has never met a stranger.

We had gotten a late start on the adventure, thanks to Scarlet's long nap, so it was after five when I finally talked London into leaving. I had promised her that we would stop by the lake to feed some bread crusts to the ducks, so we went home a different way. We were walking on the path by the lake and I was thinking to myself how nice it felt to be walking and not be in any kind of pain when BAM! I hit the ground, making a very inelegant and primal noise as I fell. I lay there for a moment, feeling all of the pain that had been absent a moment before, and a nice lady came up and asked if I was okay. I checked myself over, noting bruised knees and palms and wounded pride, but nothing apparently serious. She helped me to my feet and I hobbled off. 
We stopped a few yards on to feed the ducks and a couple of geese who were, of course, voracious in their feeding and so London hot-footed it back to the wagon and Scarlet chased the birds. Scarlet threw an 8.5 on the Richter scale fit when I made her get back in the wagon and then I noticed that my favourite Vista balloon cap was gone. I had put it on Scarlet's head because the wind was nearly at gale force and I thought it would help protect her little face. I was reluctant to allow another casualty of the outing so I retraced my steps and luckily it was lying in the middle of the path, just around the corner of the lake. 
On we went. Pretty soon, Scarlet had had enough of being in the wagon and so had London, so London pulled the wagon while I held Scarlet's hand. The going was veeeerrrrryy slow.

We made a detour back to the highway where the water bottle had escaped. I figured there was a slim chance we might find it on this part of the route. We arrived at the intersection and I scanned back down the road where we wouldn't be walking in case it was visible. Nope. Then London said, Look Nana, the top of the water bottle! I couldn't see it at first and doubted her, but then I saw it, sitting on the grass on the corner. It was only the top and it had obviously been run over by a car, but what are the odds of it being right there where we joined up with the highway? Bizarre. Sorry Sam.
The highway was a wind tunnel, it was ferocious. We were walking into the wind, poor Scarlet was facing it and there was not a thing I could do. She pulled her coat up to her face and sucked madly on her thumb. The poor dear was terribly tired but was such a trouper. 
Neither child took much convincing at bedtime. 
Me, I took three ibuprofen and watched the latest episode of Mercy Street then went to bed. I feel better than I thought I would this morning, just some stiffness in the parts that hit the ground, so the damage must not have been too bad. Either that, or I have mad recovery skills. 

If you know me, you will be surprised at this next photo. I think it's the first picture I have ever posted of a cat anywhere. Mad Max and I have a tenuous relationship. He claimed my stomach a couple of nights ago and I was okay with it until he started attacking my nice new watch that my honey gave me for Valentine's Day. Then he was ousted. 
I'm not sure who will be happier to see Mommy and Daddy, Max or the girls!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Nana Files the Thzzzzzzzzz

We were all worn out last night and the girls went to bed slightly early. I, however, have been riveted to The Storyteller, by Jodi Picoult. I have a love/hate relationship with the woman; she is such a good writer but I sometimes hate her topics and her endings often leave me traumatized. This book has me hanging on every word, even though I don't anticipate a satisfactory ending. Holocaust stories rarely have one. So after blogging and watching the latest NCIS episode, I read till midnight when I couldn't keep my eyes open any longer.  
Bad Nana! Pretty sure I dreamed about concentration camps all night for my sins. 
Seven o'clock rolls around at the same time every morning and so it did again this morning, and with it two little angels who came to bounce about on my bed and torment me until I cried "Uncle!" and dragged myself out of it.
We had a slow morning, due to me burying my head in the book every time it looked like things were clear for a few minutes. Sadly, the telly ruled. I redeemed myself by playing a "cooperative" game with London while Scarlet was napping. We lost to the board. Don't ask.
After Scarlet's nap and Nana's shower, we headed off in the car to a new playground. It is less than two miles away but there is absolutely no way to walk there while pulling a big wagon full of two little girls and their paraphernalia. Too many busy highways with no sidewalk. So we drove. 
The girls looked so cute this morning that I tried to snag a good shot of them when we got to the park, before they got disheveled. Like that ever works. This is as good as it got.

London likes to carry all of the snacks etc in her purse. 
She climbed up right away on this ....whatever it is....and had a great bouncy time. 

I put Scarlet in too, but she hasn't figured out yet how to stabilize herself against the rocking, so after a couple of good head bumps I let her run free.

London has no fear on slides and was trying her skills at climbing up them today. This one was too steep and she kept sliding backwards. 

I spent most of the time trying to remain a foot behind Scarlet as she climbed and ran and generally took my breath away as she trips lightly past all of the gaps in the play structure. It was a hot day and very windy, like yesterday. You can see how her dress was billowing out and her hair is all astray.

Yesterday, London was reluctant to go very high on the swing. Today, she wanted to go "way high." I told her she was so brave.

Scarlet just sits and enjoys the moment. No demands, no complaints, just happy to be there.

We took snacks. You know we did. Blueberries, bread, cheese crackers, and two of these.

I never shop at the airport on principle because of their ridiculous prices, but I stopped to look at the clearance table at the Made in Oregon store and found these caramels for 99 cents. Which I thought was an okay deal until I noticed the regular price. Seriously? $11.95 for eight caramels? Shirley they jest? So I bought two packets and every now and then the girls and I share one. Little tiny bites. London thinks they are manna from heaven. Scarlet offers no opinion but gets a slightly rapturous look on her face every time I pop a morsel in her mouth.

Pardon me for an unreasonable number of these poses, but how can I not? The child is edible.

Against London's protests, we stopped at Sprouts on the way home. Why don't we have these in Oregon? I seriously love this store. 

I bought clementines, mineral salt deodorant, organic chocolate bars, bulk dark chocolate-covered blueberries and cherries, and raw cashew nuts. Scarlet kept pulling things off the shelves in spite of being strapped into the cart (my baby entropy radar is underdeveloped) and London was never pushing or pulling the cart in the same direction as I was, but we managed to get out of the store without getting in trouble. London repeatedly told me she needed a sucker. At the checkout counter I noticed a little container of the beasts. I said, Look London, lollipops! Do you want one of these?
Those aren't lollipops Nana, they're SUCKERS!
Oh, okay. Pardon my childhood.
They were blissfully happy all the way home. For the whole five minutes. Note the glazed look in Scarlet's eyes.

London's friends were playing outside when we got home and she nagged me until I let her go out too. Scarlet was looking decidedly sleepy so she ate clementines and watched her tunes. London got slightly injured and came in for comfort, wanting her mommy.  When I reminded her that mommy and daddy are coming home in two days she said happily, And you're going home Nana! 
I decided to lay that one at the feet of the gods who overlook the insults of small children. 
A single chocolate-covered blueberry cured what ailed her and she soon ran outside again.

A snack of yogurt and clementines was just the thing before bed. 

Scarlet screamed like a banshee when I put her to bed. For about twenty seconds. I held off till 7:30 in the hopes that she sleeps an extra half hour in the morning. London fell asleep watching Octonauts and was highly insulted when I woke her up to put on pyjamas and get in bed, but was likewise out in seconds once she quit complaining. 
And now it's just me again, ignoring the dishes until tomorrow and anticipating collapsing in bed with the book. 
I may or may not have been talked into another trip to the park tomorrow. This time in the wagon. 
We shall see.