June

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Went on a walk by Clear creek with my Schnooke and boop, saw some pretty flowers and ate lunch at D’Deli.

My niece got married and we watched via FB live where I grabbed some screen shots.

We went to Boondocks and played putt-putt and bowled.

Did some good NIA where we had fun reversing the playlist.

Played ball with Jack, went to the doc to get knee shots and a CT scan, Hannah had a doc appointment to check her heart (all good.)

Had a hike at Little park by the creek when it was hot.

Cafe 180 opened again, Jack and I did another hike at Maxwell creek.

Something happened to one of the eggs in the finch nest – don’t know what, but now there are 4.

It was hot again so Jack and I went tubing.

Jack lost his ball and we had to get a new one, we also went by EG for a nightcap.

Rest of the week, the real anniversary, a 53rd bday and more

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Jack got a fur cut, he was not happy about it, but he’ll be cooler for a bit.

It makes him look like such a puppy.

But, it’s easier to get his life jacket on – first kayaking of the season. The water was really high, normally you can’t glide through the trees like we did. We saw a bunch of pelicans too.

I really liked the reflection of the trees in the water.

It’s always a good time for a drink at EG. We have this game we play, Phil tries to get our drinks on the house, we tip like we got the drinks and write ‘nice try’ on the bill. Every once in a while we let him get a round on the house…

We went to brunch on Saturday at a new place – Colorado Campfire. It was dog friendly, the weather was nice, just a bit chilly, but they had heaters on. Good food and drinks, we’ll probably come back one day for lunch.

Sunday was our actual 29th anniversary and after church we headed over to The Stanley for empanadas and LAPOMPE playing live indoors (because it was cold and rainy outdoors.)

Grace was busy at home making a chocolate cake stuffed with strawberry compote, frosted with mocha meringue and chocolate dipped strawberries.

A finch made a nest in the door wreath and laid 1 egg on our anniversary.

29 years! That’s a long time. We’ve lived in Katy, Houston, Cypress, Humble, Kingwood, then up here Aurora, Arvada and Highlands Ranch.

I made dinner (since we had eaten out so much) – bacon wrapped beef filets, asparagus, salad and riced broccoli (because no one had stuffed mushrooms.)

We ended the night with a drink at Phil’s – he had told Rebecca that drinks were on the house if we came in because it was our anniversary. We tipped the price of the drinks – nice try Phil!

James’ birthday fell on Memorial day this year. Next year our 30th anniversary falls on Memorial day, not sure how that will work out because I have something epic planned, but it will be difficult to come together on a holiday…Anyway, the finch laid another egg, I went to NIA, Jack helped make Daddy’s birthday cake and we listened to live jazz (every Monday for over a year now. We found Emmet last year and it’s a Monday tradition.)

The rest of the week – the bird continued to lay an egg a day for 5 days…Jack went to the dog park…

Jack and I went tubing, it was very slow flow.

We went to the Paris street market and looked around, then ate lunch at Lazy Dog.

We helped Bethany move stuff from her apartment to the house where it will sit until her new apartment is ready. She’s moving into a 1 bedroom that is cheaper and closer to work. It got cloudy in the evening and we sat on the porch as it rained.

Anniversary road trip

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We did this early because Hannah was supposed to go to Peru, but of course that trip was canceled and we have had rental car and hotel reservations since January – so, off we went. We had a VW Jetta, but Jack didn’t like it. Usually he sleeps in the car, but not this time. Our first hotel destination – Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

It was foggy and cold when we hit Wyoming, I thought this sign was cute.

We had watched a Restaurant Impossible that was about a diner in Wyoming and decided to veer off the path for lunch there. We got to meet the owner (who was on the show) and he was very nice and gave us some tips for scenic drives out of Jackson.

They had a Lucy burger on the menu for dogs, named after a dog that comes in every week and has a burger.

On the way to Jackson we had fog, rain, sleet and snow and bears!

We stayed at The Anvil hotel, it was perfect – rustic, next to the museum, a few blocks from town square and the spiked huckleberry lemonade you get during happy hour is no joke – one is plenty. It was cold enough to have a fire, but they didn’t have one going.

Jack was happy to be out of the car. It was pouring down rain so we ordered pizza from Pinky G’s (a Triple D joint) and got a good sleep.

The next morning it was sunshine all around! We took a walk and had breakfast at Cafe’ Genevieve (another Triple D joint.)

Jackson has wooden sidewalks, it’s charming.

The infamous antler arches.

We brought a bit of Englewood Grand with us and had fun posting those pics to Instagram.

After breakfast we walked around town, some of these stores were here the last time we came through with my Dad (about 28 years ago.)

Then we went to the museum, they had a lot of neat stuff, pioneer things, Indian things, stories about the area and (we have been playing the license plate game for 3 years now) we found the number we were on (616.)

Jack took a snooze.

This artist lived in town and painted everyday scenes from around town.

We drove back out of town to get pictures of the Tetons, since it was rainy the day before and we couldn’t see them.

Back in town we walked down to the former drugstore, now a restaurant and had a snack and drinks.

We went out once more for dinner at a BBQ place and the rain held off till we got back to the hotel. While we were sleeping we heard the loudest boom of thunder ever – I was guessing that Yellowstone had erupted and we were all going to be covered in lava. Apparently it was just a really close crack of lightning and then booming thunder – Jack was not happy. I had been pleasantly asleep with a spiked huckleberry lemonade in me and the rain coming down, but I was wide awake for a bit after that boom .

We left the next morning and headed to Salt Lake City, through more rain and snow.

Through Afton, which claims to have the largest antler arch in the world!

More snow and random cows and cowboys on the road. We should have stopped and loaded up with some drinks in Wyoming, I wasn’t thinking….it’s Sunday and it’s Utah….

We finally arrived at our hotel, got stuff in and then headed to my friend Kelly’s house.

We had a late lunch there and a good chat before heading out to look for an open liquor store (no dice, it’s Utah on Sunday.) Jack was so tired.

We tried to order a pizza, but for some reason they lost our order and then canceled it. We called another pizza place and they said (probably because Dominos had canceled orders) that it was a 2 hour wait for pizza…they only had 1 driver. I remembered that there was a little store with some food at the front of the hotel. Our dinner was hot pockets, sun chips and orange soda. I messed up on the Utah Triple D joints, we came in a different way, we got in later than I had hoped, Salt Lake City closes up early on Sundays….so hot pockets it was. Jack was back to his chipper self the next day!

The weather in the morning was much better (it had rained during the night), first stop was the Great Salt Lake, Jack says – it’s salty. See those islands, not all of them are islands – in fact we could have driven to Antelope island if we’d had more time. I was going to bring the kayaks, but decided that we probably wouldn’t have time to go anywhere, which turned out to be somewhat true (that and the weather wasn’t great for kayaking 2 of the days.)

The we headed downtown to see the Temple, it was under construction, so we walked past the Bee Hive house and Lion house and probably could have gotten closer to the Temple for the EG pic, but I was lazy.

We had lunch, then headed out to Grand Junction. This was our last stop and I knew the weather would be fine, which it was, but it did take a bit longer to get there than I had planned for.

Also -when we got to our hotel the power was out, in fact the power was out to 1/3rd of GJ and had been since the night before. But, they had been working on it and it was going off and on, so we decided to chill out at the hotel patio and wait and see if the power would come back. We moved inside and had another round of drinks.

Finally the power came back on and stayed on – look how happy Jack was!

We made a reservation for an outdoor table at The Winery and the weather was perfect. We walked from the hotel to the restaurant, it was a little farther than I thought, but James walked back to the car after dinner and came and picked up me and Jack. This was a great anniversary dinner – the food was amazing, the drinks were nice and the patio was cozy.

The next morning we started off with the hot tub, then a hotel breakfast before heading out. We took a quick stroll to get some pics with our EG flask – some of these are funny.

We timed it just right so we ended up in Frisco at Pure Kitchen just in time for lunch. We love the food, drinks and views there.

We even had time, once we were back home, to drop in at Englewood Grand, where this was waiting for us…

Still have a few days till the actual anniversary and then James bday (which is on Memorial day.) I’m glad the weather ended up being a bit better after the first night, the only thing I would change is staying one more day at each place and being able to kayak. Next year (for our 30th) we’re planning a longer road trip, this time with Nashville as the destination….can’t wait!

A birthday week – sweet sixteen

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Hannah was racing to get her school work done and take any finals early. The on-line school we use has an incentive to get an A in classes before finals week – most of the time (this held true for Joel, Bethany and Grace) in core classes an A means you don’t have to take the final. So, a few days before her birthday she saw she had no finals in Geometry, English, Biology or Math. Psychology had a final project, but no final and Criminology had a final project and quiz.

Some younger photos of Hannah –

We went by the mansion and took some bday photos and had lunch at Bop and Gogi (a Korean eatery.)

On her bday I took her to work, then we went downtown and handed out 23 homeless bags she made (with water, socks, oranges, bananas, kleenex and snacks.) I decorated and Grace had a chance to surprise Hannah with some balloons.

Grace made the cake per Hannah’s request.

We had Sherpa take out for dinner and watched Psych the movie, later the girls went to the arcade.

Hannah got money, lots of snacks, a new shirt, rat hammock, earrings, some Thai stuff, artwork and more. I think she had a good birthday, good food, some surprises and a good movie.

Weekend

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Saturday started off badly, Hannah’s little rat Biscuit died early in the morning.

Hannah stayed home and slept (it was a long night) while James and I went to brunch. We looked on our list and chose Narrative in the Jacquard hotel in Cherry creek (and as a bonus Kisbee on the roof.) The watermelon salad was so pretty and so good. The drinks were also top notch. I didn’t get a pic of my salmon avocado toast, but it was really good too.

It was a bit cloudy and cool on the roof, but we just had one drink and enjoyed the view.

We went walking around and found the hot dog/frozen lemonade guy that we bought from 15 years ago when Bethany was rehearsing with Cherry creek dance for the Moscow ballet’s Nutcracker. So, we bought a lemonade and a hot dog for the bass player in Dizzy with a Dame Denver (who was playing nearby.)

Sunday morning was a total bust. The girls joined us on a ride to Erie to see the hot air balloons, but when we got there they said it was canceled due to weather (the weather wasn’t that bad.) Then the restaurant in Erie that I had picked out was closed due to staffing problems. So, we went across the street to a coffee shop that was meh. Then we tried to find an impossible sandwich for Hannah at Starbucks – 4 different Sbux – no sandwich. We went home where the girls went back to sleep and I went to the grocery store. This picture shows blue skies before the rain.

Grace left for lunch and Hannah was watching cartoons when James and I left to go downtown to hear Dotsero and have lunch. We got the best seats at the outdoor patio for Russell’s smokehouse – under a tarp (it looked like rain) and next to the fire pit. We were just far enough back to have the music not too loud for Jack. Drinks were from Green Russell and we had chicken and biscuits and shrimp and grits for lunch while we listened to smooth jazz.

We headed back home and watched some TV before making dinner. James was supposed to grill, but it was rainy, so we had chicken alfredo pasta and lemon ricotta ravioli instead.

Dinners this week: Eggplant stew over rice and bacon wrapped steak, chicken tacos with spanish rice and salad, pesto tilapia with rosemary roasted potatoes and green beans, Hannah’s bday (Sherpa House), Fr-Tu (HAH! No cooking for me! Going on an anniversary roadtrip.)

Moroccan eggplant

1 large eggplant (unpeeled and cut into bite-size pieces)

2 Tbsp olive or melted coconut oil ½ tsp sea salt

2 Tbsp olive or coconut oil

1 large white or yellow onion (thinly sliced)

3 cloves garlic (minced)

1 Tbsp ground cumin

1 Tbsp smoked paprika

¼ tsp sea salt (plus more to taste)

2 14.5-oz cans diced fire-roasted tomatoes

1/2 cup water (or vegetable broth)

1 cup cooked chickpeas (optional)

1 Tbsp maple syrup

2 Tbsp harissa paste (or sub another favorite hot sauce or chili garlic sauce)

FOR SERVING optional

Cilantro or parsley

White rice, brown rice, or quinoa

Fresh lemon

Preheat oven to 425 F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Add diced eggplant, drizzle with avocado or olive oil, and sprinkle with salt. Toss to coat and roast for 30-35 minutes, flipping / tossing near the 20-minute mark.In the meantime, heat a large rimmed pan or pot over medium heat. Once hot, add oil (or water) and onions. Sauté for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently, or until soft and slightly caramelized.Add garlic, cumin, and paprika and stir to coat. Cook for 1 minute more. Add tomatoes and their juices as well as water (or vegetable broth). Cover and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook for 4 minutes to allow the flavors to develop.

Remove cover and add (rinsed, drained) chickpeas (optional), maple syrup, and harissa paste and stir to coat. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat.Remove roasted eggplant from oven, turn oven off, and add eggplant to the tomatoes and chickpeas. Stir to combine and cover. Simmer over medium-low / low heat for another 10 minutes to allow flavors to deepen. Serve as is or over rice or grain of choice (or pasta or roasted vegetables) with wedges of fresh lemon and fresh chopped parsley or cilantro. Additional harissa paste can be added as garnish for additional heat.

Week of May 10th

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Grace is done with this semester! Hannah is almost done! I made 200 shops for Shipt this week! (I can’t wait for 1,000, you get a prize, don’t know what it is….but I like prizes.) It snowed a very little bit and Jack got to play with his GF Zoey (who is also a Jack Russell shorty.)

I marked off the Snowy churro food truck, the churro stuffed with caramel was very good and they had ice cream for Jack.

I had lunch with Bethany and saw her redecorations at the apartment, new couches, coffee table, some changes to the bathroom and bedroom. Grace painted some rocks and hid them around Marcy park.

Jack had fun at Bear creek park.

Grace and I saw The Music Man at the PACE center and it was very good.

Jack barked at Scooby Doo. Fun fact, Jack barks at any dog on TV, even if the dog makes no sound (like the Traeger commercial, he recognizes the music and other commercials with a dog, but no dog noises, he just recognizes the music and blazes a trail to the TV to bark furiously until the commercial is over.)

Today I took Hannah to work, took Jack to the park, delivered some balloons, then hung out at Atlas coffee, which moved into the old Solid Grounds. It’s good to have a nice place to hang out again.

Weekend plans – Balloon fest, church, jazz downtown and NO MASKS!

First week of May and Mother’s Day

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NIA was off this week because the rec center was being cleaned (they do that once a year) so I chilled. I went to see a friend and got to hold her new baby for 5 hours (and feed him.)

He really liked the sling, so I left it there since I don’t use it for Jack anymore. I did Shipt, mainly deliveries, and saw a deer.

I Marie Kondoed my closet and bookcase and put the snowmen up and moved some plants.

Got a pic of dandelion Jack.

Grace and E went on a date walk at Hudson and she spent 2 hours out in the sun with no sunscreen on and got burned.

Thursday Jack spent the afternoon at daycare while I went in for an endoscopy and colonoscopy. They took some biopsies (negative) and removed a polyp (benign, but it’s the kind that could turn into cancer, so repeat in 7 years.) So, nothing was found for some of my yuckier daily symptoms, so we’re going back to the starting block with more tests.

Saturday morning I met with friends and showed F how to water sample, talked about the river and we had a good time.

Then James and I had lunch at The Lazy Dog and Jack, in a feat unknown to us thus far, ate almost everything in his bowl, even the rice, carrots and peas!

Sunday was Mother’s day and we had an Indian themed brunch with chai tea and chocolate strawberry cake.

After a HUGE Greek dinner James and I went to Phil’s for a few drinks, then back home to watch a Poirot. It was a great Mom’s day.

Dinners this week – sweet and sour chicken with udon noodles, broccoli and pineapple, chili and cornbread, artichoke chicken with stuffed mushrooms and salad, crockpot Tex Mex soup, beef stroganoff with peas and salad, out.

Weekend

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It was Kentucky Derby day, which means absolutely nothing here in Denver….except…drinks (and people wearing big hats.) James and I started our Derby hop at The Highlands Tavern (a Triple D joint.) It was a Coors Brewery, built in 1910, bar/tavern for 111 years (minus prohibition.) We actually went there for the chile lime pork rinds, they were delish.

Then we hopped on over to The Whiskey Bar for a Turtle pie drink. This bar is in part of the 1890 Burlington hotel by architect Frank Edbrooke. Antique coffee shop sign from a coffee shop on Larimer.

Then we went to Seven Grand for the Shellibration drink (oh, if I forgot to say, there is a Kentucky Turtle Derby, that’s why the drinks were turtle themed.)

Then we hopped over to Union Station for a Slow and Steady and to hear David playing with The Royal Ramblers. We saw the ship hat, which was the best hat there.

We ended the day at Phil’s with a Mint julep.

I made dinner at home and the Grace and I went to a high school show ‘Songs of stage and screen’, they were so very good!

Sunday we chilled at home, watched some Poirot’s and James grilled for dinner. I have a medical thing on Thursday and I can’t eat on Wed, so I’m not cooking (and I assume Thur I won’t feel like eating, thus two fend for yourself nights.)

Dinners this week – BBQ’ing stuff, shrimp and sausage with grits and salad, tortellini sausage soup with french bread and salad, fend for yourself night, fend for yourself night 2, curry root veggie stew with naan and cucumber salad, out.

Last week of April

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My how time has flown, some days are nice enough to sit on Phil’s back patio and test the bartender who is working.

Grace made some digital art:

I went to NIA Monday and Wednesday, though I was not happy about it on Monday.

Grace and I went water sampling and I didn’t take a pic of the left bank because there were some small naked children playing in the water.

I had to take Hannah to Parker PD to go over an interview and get fingerprinted, this is something they were supposed to do 2 years ago when she joined the Police Explorers, but paperwork got shuffled around, Covid happened, so it’s just now getting started. Jack was bored.

Me after Wednesday’s NIA and I took some Tylenol before class to head off any pain.

Thursday I did Shipt and had my first pharmacy orders, walk in, pick up, drop off, easy stuff. We went to Sterling ranch for Food truck night, the BBQ was so good and there was a dog treat truck there too!

Today I’m helping Hannah with some school, Jack might go with me if I get any Shipt delivery only runs and I’m meeting a friend and her daughter at the river to water sample with them (for her school, also testing DO is a really cool process.) Then it’s time for some Diners Drive ins and Dives.

April snow, week and week{end}

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Not uncommon.

Jack likes it. I did NIA on Monday and Wednesday (as usual.)

Grace and E went on a date, they went to Chili’s and then crushed the Escape room puppet show in 41 min.

I did Shipt on Tuesday and Thursday as usual. My kidney was hurting on Wed, so I took a tramadol, I guess the calcium crystals were shifting around.

Friday Jack and I went walking and to a food truck.

Got some new flowers.

Saturday Jack sat while I did my Bible study.

Then we went to try a new coffee shop, it’s not close, but it’s really nice on the inside and out.

Then we went to the Dairy block for a walk, some lunch and drinks.

Sunday – Are we a submarine friend or a cruise ship friend? Are we together in the messiness of life, pulling for our friends, bonded to them or are we just party friends, showing up for the good times and looking to fit in and agree all the time? We need friends, but friends aren’t people who agree with us or have the same political beliefs as us; friends are there to encourage us, walk alongside us and bring us an awareness of things we need to know about. Spiritually mature people know they need friends. Wanting friends doesn’t mean you are missing something or are dysfunctional, it means you’re human. We are hardwired to go through life together, not alone.

Job 6:14 “When desperate people give up on God Almighty, their friends, at least, should stick with them…”

Psalm 36:10 Keep on loving your friends; do your work in welcoming hearts…

Proverbs 14:10 The person who shuns the bitter moments of friends will be an outsider at their celebrations.

Proverbs 17:9 Overlook an offense and bond a friendship; fasten onto a slight and—good-bye, friend!

Proverbs 17:17 Friends love through all kinds of weather, and families stick together in all kinds of trouble.

Proverbs 27:9 Just as lotions and fragrance give sensual delight, a sweet friendship refreshes the soul.

John 15:11-15 “I’ve told you these things for a purpose: that my joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature. This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends. You are my friends when you do the things I command you. I’m no longer calling you servants because servants don’t understand what their master is thinking and planning. No, I’ve named you friends because I’ve let you in on everything I’ve heard from the Father.

Romans 12:9-10 Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle….14-16 Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they’re down. Get along with each other; don’t be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don’t be the great somebody.

After dropping Hannah at work James, Jack and I went to get Banh mi for lunch and take a walk by the Platte on this gorgeous day.

It’s a nice day for a drink from the cocktail book at Englewood Grand.

Dinners this week – fried chicken with mashed potatoes and collard greens, pot roast with salad, butternut squash lasagna with salad and sausage, sweet and spicy glazed pork with lo mein noodles and broccoli, BBQ food truck at Grist, Italian sausage with spaghetti and olive garden salad, out.

Sweet and spicy glazed pork cubes

  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 2 lbs boneless pork loin, cubed
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1⁄2 cup orange juice, fresh is best
  • 1⁄4 cup lime juice, fresh is best
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 habaneros or 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1⁄8 teaspoon black pepper
  • (optional a bit of Thai chili sauce)
  • In a large skillet, heat vegetable oil over medium heat. Brown pork cubes for 6 to 8 minutes stirring occasionally. Add the onion and garlic, lower heat to medium-low and cook for 2 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer, lower heat and cook, covered, over low heat for 40 or 50 minutes till pork is tender. Uncover pan and cook over medium-high heat for 5 to 10 minutes, until juices have reduced to a thick glaze. Serve warm over rice or noodles.