These are a few random shows from the Denver Botanic Gardens I took earlier this month. They were too nice to not post.
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Monday, August 30, 2010
Sunday, August 29, 2010
I bought a few shirts recently and was excited to be able to fit into the large size. I have never liked that I wore an extra large size. That size always felt insulting.
Hi, I am not just large, I am extra large.
Yeah, that really helps the self esteem. I few of my shirts were even XXL. Again, not exactly the best feeling. Even my pants have dropped a few sizes and I have gone from having to wear loose jeans to regular jeans, which is a good feeling.
I am not to my first goal yet, but I am close and it is good to have my clothes feel more comfortable and be in smaller sizes.
We started the trail about 6:15 AM at Gold Strike Park. We had never been to this park, which we learned is one of the earliest American gold discoveries in Colorado. The location was named for the 1850 discovery made by Lewis Ralston and his prospectors. Bound for California, the Ralston party rested for a day near a then-unnamed stream (later named the Ralston Creek). As the story goes, Lewis Ralston dipped his gold pan in the stream and came out with nearly $5 in gold the very first time. Although the initial gold strike never yielded a large amount of gold, it led to the visits of other prospectors, including an 1858 discover, which started Colorado's first gold rush. The start of the trail goes through a more business/industrial area, but eventually meanders through many residential neighborhoods through Arvada.
About 75 minutes into our walk we stopped for breakfast at Ralston Diner, which was close to the trail and a fun diner to enjoy a little break and some eggs.
After breakfast, we continued West on the trail once again and after a total of 2 hours of walking made it to the Apex Center. At this point, we had walked just about 7 miles. Sam and I decided to continue onto the remainder of Ralston Trail for a total of 13.63 miles, while Dale and Anjanette made the wise choice of driving to pick up the car we left at Gold Strike Park and getting some Starbucks.
Sam and I continued on, but did not anticipate the elevation change near Tucker Lake and Blunn Reservoir. The temperatures reached into the high 80s. The sun was unrelenting and the last 3 miles of the trail were in full sun. It was more than either of us expected (even though Dale and Anjanette warned us). I think we were both caught up in the excitement of knowing we walked the full Ralston Creek Trail, which is basically crossing all of Arvada from east to west. Plus we had a lot of laughs along the way.
Anjanette came to pick us up at the west most end of the trail (where we started our hike yesterday). Sam and I both had to admit we were exhausted. However, I am very proud that we completed the trail and feel a great sense of accomplishment. We finished about 11:30 AM, so really we hiked almost the entire morning.
Sam and Anjanette are in Sedona, AZ next week, but it looks like when they return the following week, we are going to table hiking Table Mountain perhaps. I love all this walking and hiking. It feels great and I am seeing parts of Colorado you cannot see by car. Plus, it is helping me drop the extra pounds.
Saturday, August 28, 2010
This is one of Dale’s favorite sculptures at the Denver Botanic Gardens, so I took these photos for him. I do agree that the sculptures do create an incredible reflection in the water that is beautiful. I took these on an earlier visit this month.
This morning Dale, Sam, Anjanette and I headed out for an early morning walk on Ralston Creek Trail at 5:30 AM. It was a very nice walk in the cool morning air. Great trail, good conversations and even some deer to see on the trail. We did just under 6 miles. I snapped a few photos at dawn.
After our hike, we headed to Home Cookin’ Cafe for breakfast. After breakfast, we looked at a few of the houses in the area and even stopped at a house giving away free apples, if you picked them yourself. Of course, we stopped and did a little apple picking. Dale said he would bake me a pie.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
I came home and imagine my shock to find out we had been robbed. Yes, those crooks stole our hot tub while I was at work. can you believe the audacity of criminals today?
If you have seen this hot tub, please call 9-1-1 immediately as the poor thing was stolen right from our backyard.
I am just teasing, we were not robbed. However, our hot tub is gone. We have had the hot tub for 6 years and I think we have used the darn thing less than 25 times. It works great and it is fun, but Dale and I have come to realize over the years, we are just not hot tub people. It felt more and more like a waste to keep it heated and full of water when we never used it. We decided we would rather see it go to a family that used it more. So of course me being me, I posted a comment on Facebook offering it free to a good home, as long as said homeowners covered the cost of having it craned out of our yard. Not bad, huh? A free hot tub for just having it moved. Our friends Tim and Shannon Spencer took us up on our offer, so our hot tub is now in their backyard and their teenage son could not be happier (hot tub parties I imagine).
My thanks to Tim and Shannon for taking away the hot tub. We wish you years and years of hot tubbing fun!
"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." ~ Maya AngelouMy friend Chrissy Hines-Dee posted this on my Facebook wall yesterday and it made my whole day. She said the quote reminded her of me. So sweet, huh?
This quote really is true though. This past weekend while at my high school reunion and while visiting friends throughout upstate New York, I was able to see so many amazing friends from my past, whether it be from elementary school, junior high school, high school, college or my early adult years. Often friends come in and out of your daily life, but time apart does not diminish the love you feel for them or the way they made you feel.
My thanks to Chrissy for giving me the perfect quote for my friends, who are far, but still dear to me.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
This past weekend was my 20th high school reunion. The Lansingburgh High School Class of 1990 came together for a two day reunion. Friday, August 20th, we met at McGreivey’s Restaurant in Waterford, NY for some drinks, laughs and catching up. On Saturday, August 21st, we gathered for a picnic at Krause’s Grove in Halfmoon, NY for some more drinks, more laughs and a clam steam. Both events were a blast and it was so much fun to see so many dear friends from elementary, junior high and high school. A great weekend. If you click, view full album below you can see all 97 photos. I did not take any photos myself (I knew weird, huh), but lots of my classmates did and posted them on Facebook, so I borrowed a few.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
I am in my 8th week of my diet and have lost 35 pounds. I still have 10 pounds to go on my first goal of reaching 225 pounds and then I hope to lose the final 30 pounds by the end of 2010 and be 195 pounds. That would be a 75 pound weight loss in 6 months. Several people have asked me to post a current photo, so they could see how I look so far. The picture on the left is me this weekend and I weigh 235 pounds. The picture on the right is from late June when I weighed 270 pounds. Is the diet working? I think so. I think if nothing else, my cheeks look less chubby. Now if I could just lose that damn double chin.
I visited the 4 houses we lived in while in Troy, NY and each one brought back so many memories. The most emotional was 837 8th Avenue, since that was my parent’s first house and I know how proud my Mom was to buy and fix up that house. The house at 27 Manor Boulevard was also great to see, since my parents had that house built while I was in high school and moved out slightly after I graduated college. It was amazing to see how the trees went from twigs to full grown oak trees. My Mom would be so proud to see her landscaping still survived and both houses still had many of her touches.
I miss her dearly and know she is with me in so many ways. Happy birthday, Mom!
Last night Sandy & Dexter even made us dinner and my cousin Scott and his daughter Ella joined us. It was nice to see him and catch up on his life. I also forgot how amazing of a cook and baker my aunt Sandy is, as the meal was delicious. It was a great evening.
This morning Dale and I said our goodbyes to Sandy and Dexter. We even snapped a photo.
We are now at the Albany International Airport waiting for our flight to Washington, DC. The reunion, vacation and time here in the Capital District was amazing and I am so glad we made it back as all the smiling faces really made it worth it. I need to get back every few years rather than once a decade.
Anyhow, we stopped at Ted's Fish try for a fish fry and manhattan clam chowder, which were as great as I remembered and Dale enjoyed. I am not sure why the fish fry on a hot dog bun never caught on in other places outside the Capital District.
Next up was a soft serve vanilla and orange sherbet twist at The Snowman's, which is the ice cream place in Lansingburgh. It was as great as I remembered as a kid.
Finally, since Golden Krust Bakery burned down we stopped at Bella Napoli Bakery in Latham for some fudge fancy cookies for today's flight. I always preferred Golden Krust but Bella Napoli was always a close runner up.
Good food, great memories.
Monday, August 23, 2010
Now we are headed back to Albany.
After the nursing home we drove North to Troy, NY and joined my aunt Sandy, uncle Dexter, aunt Rocky, uncle Charlie and cousin Stacy for dinner at Verdiles Italian Restaurant. Verdiles has been there forever, has great food and interestingly enough I worked there for 1-day when I was 16 years old as a dishwasher. I hated it and never went back for day two.
Anyhow, dinner was still delicious there and it was great for Dale to meet my family. It was nice to see everyone again and reminisce about years gone by from the camp at Saratoga, my Dad, my grandparents and my cousins. I had not seen Rocky in close to 20 years and Sandy is about 12 years and it felt like I had just seen them last week.
After dinner we headed to Sandy and Dexter's house, where they are kindly hosting us through Tuesday. Their house is still beautiful and we spent the night on the back deck telling stories, talking about vacations and Sandy and Dexter were able to learn more about Dale. The best part for me, of course, was snacking on Sandy's famous cookies. It felt like I was 8 years old all over again.
This morning we are headed to Lake George to visit my friends Pat and Chrissy Dee, which will be great.
Sunday, August 22, 2010
Rob and his partner Scott are mine and Dale's best friends, so of course we have met and absolutely adore Rob's Mom, Sheila. We could not be 90 minutes away and not pop in for a visit. We have not seen her for 6 years, so we were thrilled today worked out.
She was as kind and sweet as we remembered and Rob and Scott even came up from New Jersey to visit, so we were able to see a lot of our favorite people today. We only had 3 hours to visit, so we all went to lunch and even battled the rain and shopped a bit in Woodstock. It was a wonderful time and well worth the trip.
Next stop is a visit to my Grandma Janet. She is my paternal grandmother and we are headed to her nursing home now.
My sincere thanks to the Breens for taking such good care of us these past few days.
My thanks for Jim and Tommy for joining us. I loved that even though only for a hour or so, I got to see you both again.
At 2:00 PM we headed to Krause's Grove for clam steam and picnic for day two of my reunion. It was a wonderful day and although it was only attended by 1/2 of the people as yesterday, it was so much easier to talk and catch up. Plus, we were able to see everyone's kids and that was a treat, as some were spitting images of their parents at that age. We left around 7:00 PM. It was sad to say goodbye to everyone but so nice to see so many smiling faces again. One of my favorites to catch up with was Jason Shover as we had lost touch over the years and was a joy to see him doing so well.
After the reunion we headed back to Sean and Jeffrey Breen's house with Jennifer Wheland Wettergren in tow. They were holding a party and I have to say it was a blast. Sean and Jeffrey's friends were so much fun and such a great group of people. The night went well past midnight and even featured some skinny dipping in the pool by everyone, including yours truly. A great ending to a great day!
Saturday, August 21, 2010
Friday, August 20, 2010
I know so many of you reading this would say I would never go to my reunion or who cares about people from 20 years ago, but I do. These wonderful people were my friends in my early years, often since elementary school and it makes me happy to see that they are doing well, are happy and have good lives. It was a fun reminder of where I came from and was so worth the trip.
Tomorrow many of us we come together again for the family picnic, which I am sure will be filled with just as many laughs as tonight.
I was so happy I had the opportunity to see Nell and Bridget and that Dale could meet them both in person. They were both so incredibly kind and supportive this past year during Dale's battle with cancer. They were always there when we needed a smile, kind word or support.
We ate at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que and laughed, caught up and reminisced about those carefree days in college. It was a wonderful time and I am blessed to still call these women my friends all these years later.
My thanks to Nell and Bridget for making the time to get together today!
Shortly after arriving, we headed out with Sean, Jeffrey and their housemate Josh to Tops Diner for dinner. I love diners, as we do not have many traditional diners in Colorado. We had a great meal. Good food and great company.
After dinner, we headed back to Sean and Jeffrey's, hung out, chatted and headed to bed just before midnight since we had to be up at 6:00 AM this morning to be on the road by 7:45 AM for our trip to Syracuse, NY.
I am glad we are staying with Sean ad Jeffrey for the first part of our trip as it has been an absolute delight to get to know them better. They are wonderful hosts and so welcoming. From the moment Jeffrey opened the door, smiled and welcomed us into the house, we felt right at home.
Dale and I slept like babies last night and Sean was incredibly kind to make us breakfast this morning. Their home is beautiful and you feel the love and life that Sean and Jeffrey share all around. It is not a house but is definitely a home. I love when a couple's home expresses who they are as people.
Dale and I are now on I-90 heading west to Syracuse, NY to meet with my college friends, Nell Stetson Herman and Bridget Hallock for lunch. Bridget is driving in from Buffalo, NY and Nell is driving from Rochester, NY to meet. I adore both women, so I am so excited to see both women. It has been 15 years since I have seen them.
Thursday, August 19, 2010
This lady with two complete hair colors cracks me up. She looks like a villain from a Batman movie. The evil Two-Toned strikes again.
I immediately called United Airlines while waiting in line at customer service and fortunately Dale and I got 2 of the 6 available seats on the 8:45 AM flight to Washington, DC. They also had to move us from the 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM flight from Washington, DC to Albany, NY. Hopefully these flights go off without issues and we only arrive in Albany 4 1/2 hours later than expected.
The weird part is usually it is only my flights that are delayed or cancelled. Usually traveling with Dale is lucky for me since he has good air travel karma. Oh well.
Wish me luck for the rest of the day.
We are scheduled to land at 2:00 PM in Albany, N.Y. and after we rent a car, I plan to spend a few hours showing Dale around my hometown of Troy, N.Y. I can't remember the last time I was in Troy. It may be about 12 or 15 years now. Dale has never been to upstate N.Y. It is nice Dale will be able to visit where I am from.
At 5:00 PM we will head to my friend Sean Breen's house. We are staying with Sean and his partner, Jeffrey through Sunday. I went to high school with Sean. He was one year ahead of me and although we were not friends in high school, we connected on Facebook last year and actually have several mutual friends that live in upstate N.Y. Over the past year our friendship has grown via our blogs and Facebook, so when he heard we were coming to town he was very kind and extended an offer to stay with him and Jeffrey. I am very excited to see Sean and meet Jeffrey.
Tonight, we are planning to go to dinner with Sean and Jeffrey at one of my favorite childhood restaurants - Ted's Fish Fry. It is not the healthiest option, but it will be fun to see if it is as good as when I was a kid. My parents used to take us there, so it is a bit nostalgic for me. It should prove to be a fun mix of grease and memories. We may even make a trip to Snowman's for an after dinner ice cream. I figure I have not been back in 15 or so years, so my diet can take a little break for the sake of reliving some childhood memories.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
The water features at the Denver Botanic Gardens are exquisite. Best of all, most feature water lilies, which I adore. They are beautiful and small islands in a tranquil sea. I took a few photos on my visit on August 8th.
Monday, August 16, 2010
I love the Denver Botanic Gardens. I guess this is obvious by the amount of times they have been featured on my blog, huh? I took these pictures on a recent visit and I think so many people don’t realize how large, beautiful and unique the Gardens truly have grown over the years. As you walk through the Gardens it as if you move from Colorado to Arizona to even Japan. It is incredible and takes your breath away.
I think so many people in Colorado have this impression that the Denver Botanic Gardens is a place for old ladies who drink tea or your Grandma’s garden. Those days are over. This is a state of the art museum, non-for-profit and community space. They offer some of the best events in Colorado and recently even opened a garden for children that is something right out of Disney World. Go visit! You will be blown away. I think these photos help show the scale and beauty.
These two upcoming weeks will probably prove to be the toughest for me in terms of my diet since Dale and I will be on vacation Thursday through Tuesday. I plan to be less strict with my diet. We are heading back to NY for my 20th high school reunion. We will be eating out all our meals out, I will not have the opportunity for numerous small meals and I doubt I will have the chance to walk as much.
As a result, my goal for the next two weeks is to just not gain weight. If I am still 235 pounds by August 30th, I will be thrilled. I do not plan to go crazy while in NY, but I have not been back in 20 years so there are some restaurants I want to go to again and I am sure there may be some drinking. The important thing to do is not stress and focus on healthier eating when I can.
Sunday, August 15, 2010
This afternoon, Dale and I joined our neighbors Kevin and Michelle for a a Colorado Rockies baseball game. It was very warm in the sun, but we still had a great time. It was so kind of Kevin and Michelle to include us in the fun today. Plus, Dale got to have some nachos, which always makes him happy. Here is our view from the 1st base line.
Dale and I went to see the movie Eat Pray Love yesterday. I thought it was a sequel to Pretty Woman and it was Richard Gere helping Julia Roberts find the Dalai Lama, but I was wrong. It was apparently a movie based on a book that every woman loved. The movie was okay. I would not say the movie was great, but it was a good way to spend an afternoon. The movie was slow in parts and I found myself drawn more to the scenery than the plot, but overall I liked the message of the movie and people finding themselves. It did feel like Julia Roberts was just playing Julia Roberts on vacation, but she did that horse laugh that everyone seems to love several times, so that is really all we can expect.