Monday, September 29, 2014

Colorado Visit

We spent a month in our home state of Colorado, visiting family and friends, having medical appointments and meeting with our financial adviser. We had at least one thing to do, often more, each day we were there, it seemed. As we headed south, beginning our trip to Arizona, we spent two nights in Pueblo, near Canon City where one of John's sisters and his brother live. We had seen his other sister during our time in the Denver area.

As we pulled into our RV site, John's brother Tim and his wife Diane drove in, too. As soon as we finished setting up, they came in to see our RV home for the first time. We had a delightful time talking to them for a couple of hours before they headed back to Canon City.

On Saturday, we drove to his sister Kendal's house where we visited with her and her husband John before the rest of the family arrived. We were fortunate to be able to see all three of Tim's children and six of their grandchildren, as well as Kendal's son. I was able to get a photo of all but one of the grandchildren present. (Sorry, Andre, I missed you).

Here are all the adult men but one at the party: John, Mike, Todd, John, Tim and Mark. (There are lots of people named John in our family.  We saw the other two while we were in Denver.)

Mike with the other male adult, Megan's husband Gabe.

Sister Kendal.

Daughter Megan.

Mike's sons Alex and Cody.

Here is Megan's son Devin, who goes into the US Marine Corps next summer.  In the next photo are Megan's son Jarid and daughter Victoria. Daughter Jordan wasn't with us.

We didn't see all of our family while we were in Colorado. We missed several of Kendal's and Cindy's children during our busy month. But we only see most of these folks once a year, so it was really good to spend time with them.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Looking Back, Way Back

After our stroll up the 16th Street Mall in downtown Denver, we went to the History Colorado Center, the new history museum. Before going on the road full time 6 years ago, we volunteered once a week at the old history museum, helping keep the computer up to date on the location of items in the museum's collection. We knew they had a new facility--the Colorado Supreme Court needed to expand its building so it took over the location of the old museum.

This sign was right inside the museum entrance. If you visited Colorado in the past, you would see this sign as you crossed the border. A few of the signs still exist, but they don't have the word "Colorful" in full color.

Who hasn't heard of Colorado's Coors Beer? We learned that the company kept afloat during prohibition by manufacturing malted milk powder.

Who knew that a crocheted cover could serve as a silencer on a chamber pot?

A sad chapter in our nation's history was the internment of people of Japanese ancestry during World War II, many of them US citizens. Numerous states refused to allow refuge camps within their borders because they didn't want "those people" around. Colorado Gov. Ralph Carr disagreed with the internment policy and welcomed the people to a camp in Colorado. Called Amache, it was located in Granada on the eastern plains. At it's height, it house over 7,300 people, two thirds of them US citizens. This sign is a copy of a letter given to people of Japanese ancestry on the west coast, outlining what they were to bring and how to assemble for transport to a camp.

Have you heard of the Denver Boot? It is used to immobilize illegally-parked cars. It really was invented/developed here in Denver. Sorry.

The theme of many of the displays is the issue of race in Colorado. One display talked about the Ku Klux Klan in Colorado. I knew it had had an influence here, but wasn't aware of how great that influence was--or how it was reduced if not eliminated.

I grew up one block west of Washington Park in Denver. One of the two lakes there had a swim beach, though I never went swimming there. But I was not aware of the 1932 race riot there.

The museum is very kid-friendly. One example of that is this buffalo.

This display illustrates the importance of the buffalo to people living on and traveling through the plains. It shows how different parts of the buffalo are used: the stomach could become a container to carry food; dung provided fuel for fires; large bones could be used as cooking dishes; the coat provided warmth; the trail was a good fly swatter.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Big City

We have been all around the edges of Denver in the past month.  Yesterday, we decided to take the light rail into downtown Denver.  Since no parking was available at the station closest to Cherry Creek State Park, we drove down to the Broadway station.

It took a little while to remember how to purchase our tickets.  We used to use the light rail frequently when we lived here all the time.
The first train that came along was headed to Union Station on the west end of downtown.  Since we hadn’t been there in years, we decided to take it.  The train wasn’t crowded at about 10:30 am.
Like you see in many big cities, Denver Union Stations is an imposing structure, both outside and inside.
If any of you remember the old wooden benches in the main room, look at how the seating and ambience have been updated in recent years.
After getting a quick bite of lunch (not cheap, even though it was already prepared sandwich and salad), we walked east on the 16th Street Mall.
In 1910, when the Daniels and Fisher tower was built, it was the highest building west of the Mississippi.  John’s eighth grade sneak trip included a ride to the top of the tower.  That was way more recent than 1910, probably 1958. 
Denver is proud of being called a cow town, even if the label is meant as an insult.  Cattle have been an important economic enterprise in the state for many decades.  The National Western Stockshow is held in Denver each January and is one of the major stock shows in the country.  We found two painted cows downtown.
In most big city downtown areas, you can find buskers, individuals or groups performing music in hopes of receiving tips.  On the 16th Street Mall, they have some help from the city in the form of pianos located in several places.

There are interesting reflections and statues around the Sheraton Hotel.
Our journey took us into Civic Center, the park area between the Denver City and County Building and the gold-domed Colorado State Capital.
We had a great walk, ending up at the new Colorado History Museum.  More on that in another post.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Visiting Friends

Years ago, before our younger son was born, we lived in the same trailer park as Larry and Betty.  When our son Doug was born 46+ years ago, Larry and Betty's son Robin came over to see the baby.  Larry and John worked together on the Boulder Police Department.

We have kept in touch over the years and have seen them regularly (about once a year) over the past decade.  We kept that contact up yesterday when we met them for lunch.  We talked and shared for almost three hours before going our separate ways.  It was good to catch up and share our lives with them. Hopefully, we will see them again in Arizona this winter.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Oh, To Be A Teenager Again

NOT But is was fun during the past week to participate in the preparations for the high school homecoming dance our oldest granddaughter attended last night. We had two sons, no daughters. So last weekend, I enjoyed sewing straps on Kylie's strapless dress. She had to try it on so we would know they were in the right place. She looks so pretty and grown up--until you look at the socks she is wearing.

Yesterday, we went to watch Kylie and two close friends have their hair fixed for the dance. Kylie's cousin Andrea loves doing that work. Here she is doing Caitlin's hair.

Mom Shannon started some of the curling on Emily's hair, then Andrea finished the job.

Kylie's hair was already done when we got to the house.

Here choice of footwear hadn't changed much during the week.

Kylie tried to take a picture of herself in the mirror.

Here are the three girls, ready to go have the pictures taken with other neighborhood high school freshmen.

The girls and their families all live in the same neighborhood and have known each other for years. Here is the whole group from the neighborhood.

We were impressed with how much fun these boys and girls (young men and women?) were having with each other and how well they cooperated with the parents and some grandparents taking the pictures.  They could be silly and serious.

Sometimes there was a mother or two doing the arranging, while younger brothers played in front.

The boys played some football when not posing.  You could hear warnings of (no grass stains) from the parents.

The photographers were very focused.

After all these young people left for dinner before the dance (with parents doing the driving), we we out for pizza with Eric, Liz and John.

We heard today that Kylie had a great time at her first high school dance.  Hopefully, the rest of high school will go as well.