I Had A Delightful Dream To Restore This Relic…

It’s been a crazy fun year and I’m grateful for and proud of the project I’ve been working on!
One Year later, after a great summer season, my house looks fresh, bright and welcoming!
This poor house was so overgrown!
The new landscape is much cleaner and easier to maintain!
The Aspen Tree is still here but,
the front looks otherwise pretty different.
The side yard between my neighbor and I…
looks better with a cedar fence and gate, Breeze material and filled in grass.
It’s hard to see the cedar garden boxes on the right. And impossible to see the gate behind the volunteer tree the contractor is walking through.
Ah, there’s the gate! And a nice clean walkway under the cedar arbor.
And the front door must have been original! Weeds were growing through the concrete step under the door and into the house.
More welcoming! And interesting to look at, from the street.
The back door was also in poor shape.
The new slider is more open, let’s light into the house and is so much prettier.
This is the back porch, but this pic was taken around 2011, before the garage came down. It had plywood paneling on the bottom and screen on the top.
No more plywood! I replaced only the necessary supports with Cedar posts and opened it all up. And a new shed shares the original garage space with a courtyard seating area.
I liked the garage, which had cool original wood siding, but it was so old! The back yard was neglected and overgrown. (pic taken around 2008)
Ahhhh…. Cleaner and low maintenance! Perfect for me!
Straight view of the original back patio.
Today, an Oasis in the City!
Amazing how different it looks now!
I want to hang out here!
The far side of the back patio had 2 different types of fencing between the neighbor and I. Redwood, which turned into chainlink. My neighbor also looked right into my patio from their back door. Awkward for everyone!
I added taller Cedar fencing from the alley to the front sidewalk and everyone is happier! Plus, I hung some outdoor curtains all the way around the patio, giving both of us privacy that can be adjusted.
The back patio concrete was poured with an angle on the left side, starting at the house and ending at the tree.
I extended the concrete to square up the patio which added extra square footage.
One of the best parts of this 893 square foot house is the patio and outdoor living space. I knew this space should be the heart of the house when I first saw it in 2005. I didn’t however, think I would live here 14 years later and make it into what I imagined it could be!
This space is so comfortable and serene. The breeze flows through the patio, keeping it cool. Ceiling fans move the air and the curtains float. Mmmm.
This is what my life looked like in August 2018, 1 year ago.
This is what it looks like today! Rocco is comfortable here too!
The old garage comcrete pad with weeds growing out of the cracks.
Same spot, but now it supports my shed! Clean gravel walkway, courtyard and cedar arbor overhead.
I love how organized garden boxes can make your yard. After some clean up and a new irrigation system…
First year gardens. It’s hard the 1st year trying things out and making adjustments as needed. I’ve read that gardening teaches patience and my the case, it’s true! Every year after, becomes a game of what will come back again and eventually you have a mature garden.
Walking through the side gate, this is what you’d see ahead. This is my main entrance. Lovely!
Now this looks like a place I need to explore more!
Same view, to the left, Ugh!
I even got some extra shade from the shed, making the patio more protected. And honestly, the shed is such a focal point, it makes the whole yard seem like a stage set.
I haven’t done as much in the inside, but I’ve done some things and I have plans for more.
I added A/C, fresh paint, lots of cleaning and a new front door.
The arch on the left goes into the kitchen. I replaced the kitchen windows that you see on the left, with a slider door into the courtyard.
It really opened up the kitchen, brought light into the house and now, I walk right onto the courtyard from the kitchen. This was a huge change that made this house feel more updated.
This fun corner of the living room gives the occupant a nice view of the front yard.
I made a cozy seating area with a thick shag rug to give it texture.
A closer view of the arched wall between the kitchen and living area, where I added a new slider door.
I’m planning to take this wall down between the living room and kitchen. This space is the main living space in the house and during the winter, where I spend most of my time.
I’ll lose the upper cabinets and keep the base cabinets. I want to open up the room so it feels bigger, brighter and warmer having the living and cooking space connected.
I’ll remove the weird soffit above the cabinets to open the room up, refinish the existing base cabinets, add rustic support beams, new tile backsplash, new countertops and I’m having a shelf cabinet built…
to match the cabinet you see here, below the windows. As you can see, I need more storage space and I’ll put the new cabinet to the right of the windows. It’s tall and fits the space between the windows and the back door.
Me, happy to be at this point of my project and enjoying my simple life.
I love my newly remodeled space! This project has been so fun because I get to do what works for my lifestyle today. It’s customized for me. And I’m so happy living here.
Happy Anniversary, house!

Fresh on the mind: How we love to Eat, Drink and be Merry

Lauren enjoying her birthday cake slice at PF Chang’s at Park Meadows!
Winnie and I in Westport, Ireland at Sheebeen’s for hot spiced whiskey and dinner.
Mark and Preston at One Barrel in Englewood for dinner.
Mom showing me how to use chopsticks at PF Changes in Lone Tree.
Girlfriends, Beth and Heather joining me for Al Fresco dinner on my back porch.
Here’s the spread on this particular evening. My go to dinner on many evenings.
My friend, Wendy choosing her favorites.
Cheese and crackers ready to go out to the patio.
Kasey at her birthday lunch at Cheesecake Factory in Park Meadows.
Fried Tomato Caprese appetizer at Acres Restaurant in Englewood. So good!
Homemade Granola.
Ready to mix in the dressing…
And bake. This is a good recipe! My breakfast, most mornings!
Happy Hour in Gunnison at Susie and Mark’s house overlooking the Gunnison Airport.
Laughter, snacks and stories…
Fun to be with family!
Brown Bread and chowder at Ashford Castle in Ireland.
Late dinner in NYC after traveling. I’m checking out the scene as I eat.
While walking around NYC, we found this cute outdoor block of restaurants with shared seating. It was 1 block from our hotel.
Finally, after a day of sightseeing, we take a break!
Ready to grill Salmon on cedar planks with Caprese appetizer.
Sitting by the Gunnison River at Garlic Mike’s before a fundraiser starts.
Like any good fundraiser, they give you plenty of time to drink wine and cocktails before the auction.
I found a chair near the river and stayed put until the auction started.
Angel hair Pomodoro at Garlic Mike’s.
We bid on and won a 2 night stay at a private cabin in Tincup. Here we are enjoying happy hour by the fire before dinner. Rocco is wrapped up in the Red blanket.
The offerings are different in Ireland. We ate lots of scones, Irish soda bread, coffee …
This is rashers, similar to bacon.
And this is a traditional Irish breakfast.
Susie, lounging on the boat in Blue Mesa. Rocco is keeping an eye on the food!
Susie and Ryan sampling a feast at a fabulous restaurant in Telluride.
Winnie is planning her approach to the lovely slice of cake before her.
Happy hour, overlooking Central Park. This was fantastic!
Another late dinner in NYC.
Gavin’s in Westport, Ireland. This place became my favorite spot in town for a light lunch or snack.
And who doesn’t love ice cream! This is a “99”; cone with a flake of chocolate in it.
Outside Gavin’s with Maureen in the afternoon for tea.
Checking my email before digging into my panini at the Beehive Restaurant in Achil Island, Keel Beach, Ireland.
They served sugar in these crystal lumps, which remind me of uncut jewels.
Ryan and Preston sharing an Al Fresco dinner on the patio at Two Rivers Winery in Grand Junction.
Greek style salad with Quinoa and pickled beets dinner.
Thanksgiving table set for many at Susie’s house in Gunnison! So pretty!
Ready for tea at Kylemore Abbey in Ireland. Quiche and soup and Brown Bread, of course.
Asian salad. Fresh and crispy!
Breakfast at Mom and Dad’s house for Michael’s family, several years ago!
Sitting on the Thames in London, enjoying the evening with a glass of wine on the patio.
London skyline, Chardonnay and Irish Coffee.
Winnie getting serious about her Shepherds pie dinner.
Mark and Preston assessing their funnel cake at a Rockies game.
Fresh snack, quinoa, feta, olives, banana pepper, red pepper, asparagus.
Fresh produce from my garden in 2016.
My herb garden; Chives, Rosemary, Cilantro, Sage, Garlic and Dill
How I should, and do eat after a fantastic week of drinking and dining out with family in town!

Celebrating Colorful People in the World

Susie and I attended a wine tasting event in Englewood at One Barrel Restaurant. So fun!
Leonardo da Vinci exhibit at the Museum of Science and Nature in Denver.
De Vinci wrote in reverse, a mirror image of the words. Here is his alphabet.
Inventor, thinker
I had no idea of his varied genius. I thought mostly of his paintings on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. (Which turned out to be Michaelangelo instead) But he was dynamic in so many areas!
Hmmm…
Painter, The Annunciation
Gigantic Crossbow, with The Ideal City in the background.
The Ideal City model, built with tiers for different parts of life. Da Vinci’s ideal city idea came about after the plague had ravaged Milan, killing off nearly a third of the city’s population. Leonardo wanted to design a city that would be more united, with greater communications, services and sanitation to prevent the future spread of such diseases.
His ideal city integrated a series of connected canals, which would be used for commercial purposes and as a sewage system. The city would feature lower and upper areas – the lower being canals for tradesmen and travelers and the upper being roads for “gentleman”.
He invented many versions of flying apparatus.
The triangle cone shaped structure toward the right, is a parachute.
Another version of a flying machine
Vitruvian Man
According to Leonardo’s preview in the accompanying text, written in mirror writing it was made as a study of the proportions of the (male) human body as described in Vitruvius’ De architectura 3.1.2–3, which reads: “For the human body is so designed by nature that the face, from the chin to the top of the forehead and the lowest roots of the hair, is a tenth part of the whole height; the open hand from the wrist to the tip of the middle finger is just the same; the head from the chin to the crown is an eighth, and with the neck and shoulder from the top of the breast to the lowest roots of the hair is a sixth; from the middle of the breast to the summit of the crown is a fourth”.
Insightful!
Early scuba diver outfit
Sketches of the human body
The Anatomical Manuscript B is kept at the Royal Library at Windsor Castle. In it he made a number of pen-and-ink drawings recording his observations while dissecting an old man who had died in a hospital in Florence in the winter of 1507-08
The notebooks, which date between 1452 and 1519, contain incredibly detailed images of the human body
He would dissect dead human remains and then draw what he saw. Dissection was completely illegal unless one was a physician, which da Vinci was not. It is believed that da Vinci would get grave robbers, and eventually a hospital director to get him cadavers to study. da Vinci hid all of this anatomical drawings and kept them secret because of the illegal nature of what he was doing. He was able to identify not only muscles and bones, but also their functions in the body, which was an incredible breakthrough. He dissected bodies illegally at first, but eventually got special permission from the catholic church to dissect and sketch what he learned for a medical book. 
The Mona Lisa is his most famous and most parodied portrait.
We attended a beautiful wedding for a close family friend. Kristine Bachicha and Caleb Hintz were married in a lovely outdoor garden at The Chateaux at Fox Meadows.
Kristine Bachicha Hintz and her beautiful mom, Lisa!
Michael, Bob Bachicha (father of the bride) and Shannon Wood. Buddies for many years.
Charlie’s angels coming off the dance floor, Lisa and Susie!
Josh Bachicha, Kasey and Lauren at the reception.
Lisa, Mason and Sadie Wood enjoying the evening!
Nikki and Lisa Wood, looking as lovely as ever!
Kasey and Michael in the garden.
Nikki and Susie relishing the details of the ceremony.
Mason is entertaining Shannon and Michael before the reception.
Kasey looking gorgeous with her newly cut bangs!
Susie with her sunbrella, happy to be at the event!
Beautiful!
Nikki, in her goddess dress! Fabulous!
And her trademark laugh!
So gorgeous! Congratulations to both families!

The Magic of Inspiration arrives in practical ways

I saw this mirror on Restoration Hardware’s website and decided to upgrade my mirror to look similar.
How it looked originally…
A couple coats of spray paint and sandpaper distressing and this is how it turned out. I like it!
And this cool ornate mirror always reminded me of Indonesian style…
But after adding vibrant Turquoise paint and some distressing, it became this fun tribal artifact.
My garden boxes look great and are flourishing in their new space on the shed. However, the water runs straight through the basket and ends up on the ground. I decided to use these old galvanized buckets as planters to catch the recycled water and brighten up the area below the garden baskets.
I drilled holes in the bottom for drainage…
I planted a Clematis vine and some annuals in each bucket and they look fresh and colorful under the baskets.
One on each side of the shed door…
Looks great!
And anther bigger bucket under the hanging basket by the back porch.
When I replaced the hardwood floors in the kitchen in 2012, I found these 1938 vintage newspaper pages being used as insulation.
They are beat up, but the articles, ads and comics fun to read.
Inspiration comes in unexpected places. I’m learning to listen to my heart and hear what it’s telling me. My work is ongoing, but I feel more balanced and clearer than ever before. We all struggle and fall and crumble sometimes. Let’s recognize the humanity in us all. Give freely, the support you so desperately need in your own life at times. Smile at people, say something positive, give them a hand. It’s so simple and so needed.

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” -Leonardo da Vinci

When I was little, I did what my parents told me to do. Then I went to school and did what the teachers told me told do. I got a job and did what my boss told me to do. Today, I do what I want to do and I love it!

This miniature Rose was given to me by Susie, in April. It was beautiful but very quickly dropped all it’s leaves and looked dead. I put it in my bone yard with the rest of my pots.
A week later, I start to see new growth! So, I planted it in one of my gardens to see if it would come back.
Look at it today! Blooming in it’s new place!
Do you know Dragonflies eat mosquitos? This one is feasting on Aphids!
I found this mirror in storage. I like it, but it’s dark and heavy looking. I got inspiration from a pic I saw online and decided to paint and distress it.
First coat of paint. I used an off White chalk spray paint.
This ornamental mirror was also being stored and feels outdated with the Cherry colored stain.
Deciding on what color to paint over the Cherry stain. I went with the darker one.
First coat of Turquoise spray paint.
Being single, I generally eat Al Fresco. And when I do entertain, I like to offer a selection of tapas or finger foods so guests can make a meal of flavors they like. I try to stick with healthy menu items and have been able to redirect me attention to cooking more since I’m home more. I definitely eat better!
My niece Lauren, came over to do some cooking this week. We’re assembling some vegetarian salads for lunch and learning how to do some basics.
Another light evening meal.
Simple is better. I spent many years building my life. More money, more stuff, more stress. Once I achieved what I thought was “success”, I started to get rid of all the stuff I surrounded myself with. Now, I love knowing I don’t need stuff to be happy. In fact, the more stuff I get rid of, the lighter and freer I feel.

“I am convinced, both by faith and experience, that to maintain one’s self on this earth is not a hardship but a pass time, if we live simply and wisely” 
― Henry David Thoreau, Walden

The Simple Farmhouse Cabin that Exposed my Hidden Courage

Late Fall of 2000, I bought my first house in Gunnison, CO. Palisades rock formation in the far right background.
More of a farmhouse cabin, really. It had Yellow painted log siding, cinder block and brick exterior base walls, screened in porch, mud room, 3 bed 1 bath.
Dreary looking when I first got my hands on it. But it had some good potential and I was aching to fix it up!
The house sat on 2 lots, giving me some out buildings, stables and corral, a detached garage, a large garden area and tons of extra space.
Corral and stables beyond the yard.
The detached garage had a couple small windows, which I later enlarged and turned the garage into a studio. I rented out all the rooms in the house and moved myself into the studio.
Next door is a historic old school house.
The interior had Oak floors. My 2 cats Dutch (Tabby) and Camille (calico), were given to me by Susie as a house warming gift.
Pine tongue and groove paneling throughout, a wood burning fireplace.
Original built in cabinets. The ceiling was some kind of paneling without the standard aluminum grid.
Living area near the front door.
Largest bedroom
The kitchen and bathroom were outdated, so my then-boyfriend, Kurt helped me do a very basic remodel on a very limited budget.
Apparently, I had enough wine corks to do a back splash behind the original farmhouse sink.
I tiled the counter top, painted over the residual adhesive on the bottom half of the back splash, added some shelves, painted the original cabinets and added Black hardware to make this old kitchen feel brighter and cleaner.
Super rustic and super inexpensive to do!
I painted the foundation rustic Red, added a rooster weather vane, took down old metal fencing around the house, cut down weeds and took the screen off the porch to open it up.
1 year after moving in, I got a new puppy, Foxy Girl. My roommate got one of Foxy’s sister’s at the same time and named her Mariposa. This is THAT day and we are both so happy!
Spring time in Gunnison is potentially more exciting than in other places. When you live in an area that gets as cold as 30 below zero and snows crazy amounts that sticks around until June, a reprieve is so very welcome! The city turns on a water ditch that flow through the town, but until it’s turned on late May or June, we hand water.
Green begins to show up. This deck was already there and gets used through out the whole year.
Mature trees and gardens appear.
A simple sitting area against the house, protected from wind and out of view from the street.
Colorado summers are the best!
I set up some seating spots in the yard for entertaining friends when they stop by.
Beautiful old Aspen tree with flowers in the garden below.
With the city ditch turned on, Poppies bloom in a cluster. I also added some trees for privacy and shade. The rock to the right of the pic is a piece of petrified wood.
Foxy Girl enjoying the beautiful summer day on the grass
After taking the screen off the upper part of the porch, its seems breezy and welcoming. A perfect place to park your bicycle.
A Progressive Bicycle Party, ending at my house. All my girlfriends gathered to celebrate another summer in Colorado!

Summer time in Colorado, an Astonishing Miracle

It’s thrilling to see how much the foliage has filled in over the month of June.
The pots are beginning to explode with color and texture, making my walkway a garden path!
And of course, weeds are also coming in quickly! I think I have a couple volunteer sunflowers at the base of the windmill. I’ll keep you posted as they grow!
So cool to see my neighbors also taking the opportunity to upgrade their siding and landscape. The ripple effect is real! Both of these houses just had their siding upgraded!
Doesn’t that look great! And this is what I see when I look out my window now. I love it!
My buddy, Rocco.
First steps out of the house in the morning, sniffing things to see what happened overnight.
Then he settles into his favorite morning spot in the sun! We both look forward to the start of the day, sipping Chai and soaking up the beautiful morning!
It feels good to have my space organized and cleaned up enough to have some friends over.
Just out of storage, I’m using my dining table on my patio for the summer and love how it opens up the patio and gives me space to entertain.
Some of my girlfriends enjoying an Al Fresco happy hour on the patio. Beth suggested my place looks like a Napa Valley back yard! YOU KNOW I love that!
This month, I’ve been cleaning out my storage and looking for places to put all my stuff! As I bring more stuff over and try to find permanent homes for everything, I can’t help but wonder, If I haven’t used this stuff in almost a year, do I really need it?
As luck would have it, Susie just bought a house in Lake Havasu and is setting up her new house at the same time! So as much as I feel attached to my stuff, I’m grateful to contribute to their lake house and know I’ll get to enjoy and appreciate all these things there, instead of in Colorado.
What to keep, what to donate , what to share…
Walking into someone’s storage feels a little bit intrusive, but I’m happy to report this is the last of my storage and by the end of the month, I’ll have all my stuff in one place again. It’s been quite a project moving from 2300 sf to 893 sf. Overwhelming, but I feel great knocking this out and reducing my footprint even further.
I’ve had this mirror for several years and rediscovered it in storage. Although it’s heavy and dark, I have an idea to update it…
I like this lighter version better, so I’m going to paint and distress my heavy Black mirror and give it a fresher look.
This is my Water Fitness class of ladies! At the end of our workout, we volley a beach ball for 10 minutes. It’s fun and challenging, but mostly funny! These ladies are awesome. They’re supportive, positive and all doing their best to stay in shape.

Growing Old Gracefully, With a Little Imagination

In 2008, young and energetic, toward the beginning of my career.

Some days, it’s tough feeling like I’ve gone past my prime and can see the changes to my face and body. I have a new appreciation for young people, being so fresh and beautiful and full of energy and anticipation of life to come. And I’m learning how to also appreciate the experiences in my own life, which have made me wise, patient and accepting of other people and myself. Today, I’m sharing some of my thoughts and decisions as I wander down the road of aging, excited to see what happens in the last half of my life.

As a working girl my hair was curled, I wore a full face of professional makeup, business clothes and kept my overall look polished. I stayed professional, not wanting to look too trendy or flirty.
Hair styles.

I got up 2 hours before I was expected in my office and my routine was basically, shower at night and wet my hair in the morning, blow it dry and curl it. Over time, I got comfortable being casual on some days, letting my hair dry naturally into a curly bob. This felt like I was stepping out of the box!

After I left my job, I still tried to keep up what I thought was the most flattering hairstyle, blown out and curled. But my outfits started to be more comfortable and flowing instead of tailored and fitted. Over time, I began to wear my hair naturally curly in a low maintenance bob.
Within 1 year of leaving my career, I blew that all out of the water and got hair extensions, finding a whole new look I could play with. I love having long hair, instantly! And I can change it up often. Now that I wasn’t in a professional career, I felt I could have more fun with my style.
This pic looks like a romance novel cover, with me being the main character. Nice one!
Extensions are fun and somewhat versatile, changing my whole look. It’s fun and flirty, to be sure! Finally, I could just relax and play with my style instead of using it as a uniform.
Here, I am wearing my extensions in pig tail braids.
This curl is closer to my natural hair curl.

You may have heard that hair extensions are hard on your hair. It’s true! They are fun, but I caution anyone who wears them to do so judiciously. It’s a good idea to not use them constantly, but give your natural hair a break from them regularly. Then when you wear them you feel spectacular!

Skin tone and texture.

My skin @ 47 years old, started to show damage from sun and lifestyle. I did my research, asked some friends and decided on a CO2 laser treatment for my face with the promise to erase all those years of damage to my skin.

Just leaving the CO2 treatment, getting ready to drive home. This is nothing, wait until the next morning! For the first week, I have to sleep sitting up and propped against some pillows to reduce swelling. I don’t really sleep, mostly nap in between pillow adjustments all night long.
Holy Crap! Is my face falling off? Besides some oozing, (which is disgusting and looks like hamburger, on my face!) I also have some swelling, especially noticeable around my eyes and nose bridge. The dark damaged skin cells are starting to lift and it looks like a splotchy shadow across my face. Sun damage be gone!
I’ll be honest, the first time I had this done, I got queasy when I saw how I looked like the next morning. I’ll share with you that this procedure looks horrible, but is not really that uncomfortable. The worst part is during the laser process which simply feels hot. It takes about 45 minutes, but she does use a numbing cream for a hour before and you hold a hose shooting out cold air onto the spots she is treating. Within 5 minutes of being done, the heat dissipates and you can’t feel any pain. I feels like a sunburn. And the results!
3 days later, no makeup. This treatment addresses sun damage, firms and tightens the skin and create healthier skin by resetting your cells to produce more collagen. The cell renewal process takes about 3 weeks before you see the actual results when your new skin cells begin to surface. Once I got through the first treatment, I was convinced of the benefits!
Eyebrows are the frame of the face.

My mom always had beautiful natural dark, arched eyebrows. Mine needed assistance. I have a chicken pox scar in my left brow and sparse eyebrow hair growing naturally in either brow. So, I’ve penciled in my brows for years and decided to see if I could find a more permanent (natural) solution.
Here in 2013, drawn in eyebrows.

I found Microblading, a semi permanent tattooing procedure for cosmetic purposes. The first time I had the procedure, I believe the brow specialist used a heavy hand, making the procedure almost unbearably painful. Even after using the numbing cream for a hour, I felt her “strokes” cutting into my skin. And the sound of it is sorta scratchy. Hard to describe until you’ve had it done.
However, I really like having my brows dark and filled in to create a fuller look. So, I found a new technician to do the same procedure in a following year. She used a lighter touch and it was a much more comfortable procedure. This pic is the same day of the procedure. It takes a week or two for the tiny scratches in my skin to heal, peel and fade to a more natural shade.
I’ve slowly changed my style to reflect a more casual and natural look. Which is funny, because it’s not natural, but makes me feel like I look more natural by using less makeup everyday.
And Grey Hair.

It’s been coming in for many years and I’ve stayed with my dark Brown hair color, which I’ve done myself with a grocery store hair color. Recently the hair color product I’ve used for 20+ years has been discontinued. So, I’m thinking this is a sign to take the plunge and let my Grey grow out! I like the Grey, but I’m struggling with the fading residual, now Gold-ish hair color on the bottom half of my hair with the Grey and natural dark Brown growing from the roots. This is 3 toned color blocked hair! Not ombre’, not natural or pretty, in my opinion.

Luckily, I’ve been working with my hairstylist (bless this woman!) to find a solution to the color blocked hair. She tried a few things and we ended up finding a subtle solution of using a permanent transparent ash color wash to take down the Gold and brighten the Grey.
And it worked! This is after the appointment with clean hair. The transition of color is gone! Thank you Andrea!

BTW, I’ve been polling my friends about letting Grey hair grow in. It’s been an interesting discussion with a common response of “I’m waiting until I retire to let my Grey hair grow in”. And I understand their anxiety. It’s interesting that women consistently feel that we need to keep coloring our hair while we’re professional, but can let it grow out naturally after we leave the work force. Do men have the same concerns? I’m not sure, but maybe I’ll poll some men to get their take on going Grey.

With wet hair, you can see the Grey is more striking, giving my hair a focal point. As the Grey grows in more, I’m crossing my fingers to have a cool Grey streak in the front, giving my hairstyle a fun and edgy vibe for a middle aged woman who has always thought of herself as somewhat stylish! We’ll see how this goes!
And my body!

I discovered at 14 years old, that I have Rheumatoid Arthritis. I’ve tried to stay physical and active for most of my life. At 52, I feel more aches and pains, have less flexibility, don’t feel as strong, feel more jiggly, blah, blah, blah. I think many of you know how I feel.

I got a flash of inspiration in March and started to attend Water Fitness at my local Rec Center. I did not expect to love it as much as I do. I had silly notions that I wasn’t comfortable in a swimming suit in public, I didn’t want to get my hair wet, I’m not an old lady, etc…

But I went, and after 4 months, I love going to class 3 times per week and seeing my new friends in the pool.

We use a variety of pool equipment, but just being in the pool feels so amazing! I feel like a kid when I slide down into the cool water and the buoyancy picks up my tired and sore body so I can actually get a good workout against the resistance of the water.

If we’re lucky, we get the opportunity to have these thoughts and concerns as we age. It’s a vulnerable feeling sharing these inside views of my personal beauty choices with you all! Some people will see this post and decide all this stuff is not necessary or expensive or just vain. Others will see it as no big deal and may have done even more extreme things to themselves as they age or just because it makes them feel good. But I support people doing anything that does no harm and makes them feel confident and beautiful. The most important thing I try to remember is to make decisions that are healthy for me and to stay focused on balancing my physical, mental and emotional health. I hope these insights are entertaining at least, or helpful- even better, as you find yourself thinking about how to age gracefully! We are all beautiful just as we are, but a little lipstick never hurt anyone!

My Dad, a lifetime gift of fascinating and informative delights

This is my dad, Perry.
He has a great sense of humor as you can see by my aunt Katie’s reaction to his new hairdo!
And a great smile!
What a sweet little boy, living in California with his mom.
Visiting with his aunt and his dog in High School.
Dad’s happy place!
He’s taken us on a life long adventure, showing us the way of nature and science.
And showing calm and strength, as needed.
He prefers to be outside, when possible.
Taking a break from chores in San Diego.
Wow! They are so young and stylish.
He showers us with love and attention.
So handsome! Dad grew up in California.
Besides being outside, playing the guitar maybe his favorite pastime. He has played as long as I can remember and shares his songs with anyone who is interested. Here, he is playing for some elderly residents at a nursing home.
Showing Preston how to handle his instrument.
Dad was a pack guide for several years in Yosemite. Easy to see why mom fell in love with him.
With his young family, mom and step dad in Lee’s Ferry, AZ around 1970.
Displaying his catch of the day from his deck in Island Park, ID.
Sharing his guitar skills in Gunnison.
So proud with Michael and newborn, Lauren.
Camo Dad!
Susie and Mark’s wedding reception in Gunnison.
High School Senior pic.
With Preston @ Dos Rios Golf club, in Gunnison.
Dad with “El Cap” in the background.
What a fun day of skiing near Crested Butte with Susie and Mom!
With his 1st born in 1967, Yellowstone National Park.
After spending most of a day working on the sail shades, a hail storm came through and pounded the courtyard, filling the sails up. Dad is modeling a big chunk!
Dad playing Norwegian Wood on guitar with photo gallery.
Happy Father’s Day, Dad! I love you so much!

Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius, powerful images from 79 AD

On August 24, 79 A.D., the Roman city of Pompeii was buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius and stayed buried for more than 1600 years. The eruption spewed searing hot ash upon the city, preserving its people and treasures in a volcanic time capsule. Artifacts include beautiful frescos, marble and bronze sculptures, jewelry, body armor, plumbing fixtures, furniture, ancient Roman coins, and full body casts of the volcano’s victims shown in eerie detail. In 2012, Nikki and I went to see the exhibit while showing in Denver.

Mount Vesuvius in the back ground with the streets of Pompeii in the foreground.
Large frescos were found and saved as excavation unveiled these amazing works of art.
Metal side table with exquisite detail. This society wasn’t poor. They had very nice things and a shocking display of modern luxury items.
Dionysus (Bacchus) – Greek God of Wine and Grape Harvest.
This Greek God has the love of all the people.
A Bacchus wine fountain. I need one of these!
Battle helmet.
Gladiator Shin Guards.
I was amazed by the sophisticated plumbing that was shown. This was 79 AD, 2000 years ago!
Another view of plumbing fixtures. This blows my mind.
And the jewelry! I would wear any of these pieces.
Amazing!
Another wall fresco.
” Fresco is a technique of mural painting executed upon freshly laid, or wet lime plaster.  Water is used as the vehicle for the dry-powder pigment to merge with the plaster, and with the setting of the plaster, the painting becomes an integral part of the wall.” (Wikipedia)
These body casts of Pompeian residents show their last moments as the volcano buried the city.
150 bodies were found in a warehouse on the beach in Herculaneum, a nearby city to Pompeii. Both cities were buried by Vesuvius, but fewer bodies were found in Herculaneum. It seems these people were trying to find a safe place to go.
More body casts found in the buried city.
Speculation is that this dog was tied up and climbing to stay on top of the ash as it piled up around him. There is nothing warm and fuzzy about this exhibit, but it shows the reality of life and tragic death in the city of Pompeii.

On finding the courage to love, wherever I look…

There are so many ways to love.

Let me nurture love in my heart to the point that I must share it with everyone I connect with. Let me remember that every one of us faces challenges, difficulties, heartbreak, poor decisions, health problems and pain even when we desperately try to hide it. Let me remember that God puts people in our life for a purpose. And help me to find his love in the face of these obstacles, helping one another navigate tough times when we’re at our worst and feel alone. Especially when they don’t look like me or come from the same background. Only then have we heard God’s word and can truly be healthy, happy and thrive! And that’s God’s Love!

I love you so much, I’ll give you the hair you always wanted.
New parents lovingly reveal their pride and joy.
More love in 1975.
Mike and Nikki, full of love!
Sisters Suzanne, Katie and Rosemary loving the experience together in Montana.
We love our family and extend the same to the people around us!
The whole family celebrating Barbara Breaux’s life in Logan Utah. Love multiplied!
The family full of love, David, Kathleen and Suzanne.
George and Katie Whittle’s wedding day. So young and in love!
Aunt Suzanne lovin’ on her young family.
The Breaux’s before Richard, John and Katie.
The Thompson’s outside the Breaux house in El Cajon, CA. We loved going to see Grandma and Grandpa!
The Thompson’s at Ryan’s High School Graduation party, 2009. She’s so proud and grateful for all the love along the way!
Mark and Susie and friend, hiking in Utah with love and trust.
Rosemary and Perry in love, Puerto Penasco, Mexico.
Harry Loves Wendy! And it makes Wendy smile with happiness!
Richard and Ana’s beautiful wedding pic! These guys love life!
Susie and Michelle loving the church of San Francisco de Asis, in Taos.
Michael, Nicole, Kayla and Lauren. Faces of love, right here!
Susie and Mark while pregnant with Ryan in San Diego, CA. Love!
The Thompson kids showing their love, around 1974.
Preston Jude Pike. A miracle and proof of love in this world.
The Glasow’s showing their love in Logan Utah.
Loving cousins at The Pike’s house on Blue Mesa Reservoir in Gunnison.
One big team of love, in Gunnison, 2004.
The pure love of sisters Suzanne, Katie and Rosemary.
The Glasow ladies! So loving together.
Perry with his beautiful and loving mother, Ona at Marble Canyon, AZ, 1970-1971.
Portrait of the young, sweet and loving Thompson family in Georgia, 1974-ish.
Glenwood Springs, Mom and Dad 50th wedding anniversary gathering. Now that’s love!
Perry, with the very loving Auntie Babe. We love this lady!
Wendy and Harry, young and in love!
Susie and Perry, loving their break from the slopes at Crested Butte, CO.
Ryan snuggling with her love, Yoyo Mojo Breaux Pike.
Preston getting some love from Susie and Mark on Blue Mesa.
Mom and Dad in western wear, smiling and feeling the love!
Beautiful ladies capturing their love for each other in full vibrant fall colors.
Grandma Barbara Breaux, surrounded by the strong love of her family.
Ryan and Preston, loving graduation in Gunnison.
Showering my buddy, Foxy with loving kisses.
Lauren and Kasey, loving sisters. “It’s ok, I got you!”

New beginnings and old souls converge in the greatest way…

So excited to finally have my baskets filled with flowers.
Wait, I thought I was safe to plant my flowers after Mother’s Day!
My sail shade is filled with heavy wet spring snow. And the cushions are heavy and wet too!
A few days later, Mom and Dad are helping out in the yard. Here they’re taking a break in the shade with their 90 lb Lab, Ty.
They helped me hang a 2nd sail shade over the work space in the yard, creating a shady space.
My niece Lauren, graduated from Chapparal High School in Parker this week. Although is was chilly, we were grateful to have a dry day for the ceremony.
The family huddled together and cheered for the new graduates.
Proud father Michael, is explaining things to me.
Susie looking onto the field and enjoying the ceremony.
Younger sister Kasey will be next in 2 more years.
Look at that smart girl! So happy to be done with high school!
Lauren opening gifts at her Graduation party with mom, Nicole.
Lauren received a Family Cookbook with special recipes from her family.
Beautiful young lady, ready to face the world after her awesome accomplishment.
Dad is generous enough to bring his guitar when he visits. This video was taken after dusk, but you can still hear his guitar and singing skills.

These pics reveal simple inspiration with surprising results

I wanted a super small rolling kitchen island and was having a hard time finding the size. I eventually stumbled upon this pine table with casters and a drawer that was perfect, except for the finish, for $15!
After painting, doing a faux antique finish and adding new hardware, it’s perfect!
These Japanese office chairs were in great condition, but ugly. I bought them for $60 and…
I refinished the oak frames, recovered the seat and backs with updated fabric and they turned out great!
While doing a kitchen remodel, I needed new cabinets and got sticker shock after shopping new cabinets. These Alder cabinets were at Habitat for Humanity. I picked up 16 cabinets for $800.
I had to store them under my patio while I was refinishing them.
And cover them in my back yard while I was working on the process.
But, this is a Black refinished cabinet door.
And the spectacular antique White refinished cabinet door.
Here you can see all 3 finishes together.
These are done and waiting to be installed.
Installed, they look like high end custom cabinets. I saved thousands of dollars by refinishing them myself.
From the other end of the kitchen. These cabinets turned out to be the focal point upstairs.
And here are the Black lower cabinets, across from the White.
I bought this house in 2007. This is the pic the realtor used for marketing.
Updated over 11 years, this pic shows the new landscaping from the street.
The front part of the yard slid into the city sidewalk.
After building a retaining wall at the sidewalk and leveling out the dirt, I added Russian Sage and some mulch to the area, cleaning it up and making it more welcoming.
Here you can see the upper level of the yard and the new gardens.
I took out dead grass and laid flagstone in the front yard, making a fun entry courtyard with a couple flanking gardens.
The back yard had sod, but there was no fence and the boarded up storage shed on the left of the pic was uncovered to reveal a nice covered patio.
After cleanup, grass removal, adding garden boxes and decorating the patios.
This is the kitchen were I live now. These are the cabinets and counter tops I inherited when I bought the house in 2005. It’s hard to see the bathroom cabinet above the kitchen sink. What?
I updated the kitchen in 2012. It still looks like this, but I’ve since upgraded the appliances to Stainless Steel.
The back porch was somewhat enclosed with painted plywood and screen on the top of the walls. You can see the original garage in the back.
Today, after remodeling the whole exterior, this space is a huge feature of the house.
This is what the back porch looked like from the cottage in the back.
Today, more open and cleaned up!
Bought in 2005, with 2 dead Juniper trees in the front.
Today, no dead Juniper trees.
The side yard, parallel to the driveway.
Now, a walkway adjacent to the driveway.
The back yard looking North, 2005.
Today, looking North.
The old concrete slab that once had a garage on it…
Has now become a fabulous sitting area outside my kitchen.
The walkway between the back patio and the garage…
Is now a wonderland of Cedar arbor, garden shed and shady places to sit.
The back yard when the garage was still standing. And red lava rock that took me years to finally get rid of completely.
Is now a work space behind the new garden shed.
This cottage is built of cinderblock and had little privacy from the alley.
I added a fence, flagstone courtyard and redid the exterior, making it private and serene.
The original front door and covered porch entry.
The updated front door and entry. So Nice!
The house from the alley before the renovation.
The house has been resided, new roof and landscaping, making this cottage charming and welcoming.
This small kitchen in one of the cottages had old mismatched cabinets and cheap counter tops.
New tile, cabinets and appliances make this space fresh and clean.
When I bought this house, there were no lower cabinets, only uppers. I found these lower White coordinating cabinets and had them in the house for several years…
Until I redid the kitchen and changed all the cabinets when I tiled.
The outside of this house was in good shape, but needed some TLC.
Exterior painting, landscaping and clean up make it is seem more special.
These 2 enormous Pine trees eventually died and I paid a tree company to remove them- $1600! Then, I had a huge open area to consider.
I had a cedar deck and arbor built to maximize the space, just outside the back door of the kitchen.
Original kitchen, with farmhouse kitchen sink and overhead stove shelf. I now wish I’d kept that sink to reuse in another project.
New tile, cabinets, flooring, appliances make a new fresh galley kitchen.
My projects are a result of wanting something and then finding ways to make them happen. This is my creative outlet and I’m grateful to be determined enough to go get it or figure out how to achieve it, in the end. You can too!

My Mom, the best mentor in the world!

My beautiful young mother, before marriage, kids and a life lived in the Wild West!
Reality sets in when she discovers this life requires the use of a snow blower, on a daily basis!
Enjoying the beach in Hawaii (I think) with Susie
Picking Mom up from DIA for a visit.
Is she modeling or playing golf? It’s hard to tell with Mom. She always looks great!
With her family in 1975 at Blue Mesa Reservoir, Soap Creek.
Catching a ride with Nikki at The Upper Canyon Ranch in Montana
Her spirit is more vibrant than vivid fall colors!
So happy to see Mom, arriving for a 2 week visit in fall 2018.
With her signature Silver Halo.
San Diego with Susie, around 1986. They look so much alike, both lovely ladies!
I’m fortunate to have a warm and kind Mom, showing me how to live with grace and gusto!
With Michael’s daughters, about 2006.
She knows her way around a campsite, the kitchen and her church.
Mother’s Day 2009, Hudson Gardens, Littleton, CO.
Skiing in the Wild West with Dad!
Happy Mother’s Day, Mom! You are the best and we love you so much!
Getting lots of love from her nieces in Utah!
Enjoying a rocking horse with Lauren.
With Susie after Preston’s birth at Children’s Hospital.
Always glamorous, but always humble. Joyful Journey Hot Springs in San Luis Valley.
I try to be like her, and Susie thinks it’s funny!
Sweet kisses from HRH, Lauren Paige!
So happy to be with Michael!
Catching sun on the deck @ Blue Mesa in Gunnison.
9 holes with Susie at Dos Rios Golf club, Gunnison.
The Thompson’s on Blue Mesa, Gunnison around 2004.
A new nurse, ready to save the world, one soul at a time!
I love you Mom! Thanks for being such a great example for us all and for all the years of unwavering love and support!

How To Persevere Until You Get What You Want.

Beginning in March, I’ve been looking for a new set of outdoor accent pillows and throws to brighten up the otherwise Brown patios. I didn’t find anything inspiring, so I bought fabric at Colorado Fabric and made my own. I love the fresh colors and fun print!
Looks great with the Navy cushions!
I replaced the old bamboo chairs I’ve had since my Gunnison days. I love the style of these chairs, but the Beige cushions are bland. I decided to also re-cover them with a Navy Blue fabric to tie in with the other outdoor sets. It’s tricky when you combine different groups together in a space. I try for some continuity and is this case it’s woven bamboo, Navy cushions and these accent pillows.
During the Bomb Cyclone this spring, I watched this fence wave back and forth with strong wind and realized I needed to replace some of the posts. The space looks so different when the fence is gone! That’s my neighbors back yard. We live in close quarters in the city!
Digging holes for new posts.
They dug these beauties out of the ground. The landscapers had a great idea to break up and reuse the old concrete in the fresh post hole, combined with new cement. Recycling and reinforcing it at the same time! I love that!
The concrete dried overnight and the fence was reassembled with new pickets. For now, I have Grey patina on half of the run and fresh cedar on the other half. In time, they will patina to be a better match. I get called out A LOT for reusing old wood, but I like an aged and rustic style and it makes sense to me!
The old broken panel we replaced with the new cedar pickets.
I can see how some foliage will really liven this space up! The one plant stands out and I plan to have 3 in this area. The pillows look great too!
The front of a house should be welcoming and balanced. By adding a couple perennial gardens, I hope to create some interest and privacy. I marked a border line with spray paint and the landscaper scraped away the grass and used the dirt from 3 garden boxes in the back yard for a burm style garden in the front yard.
I added a Forsythia shrub to the windmill and will add more flowers, bulbs and large rocks to make the burm interesting and full of color and texture.
View from the street.
I opted for Breeze all the way around the back yard. I thought of having a border garden, but I like how low maintenance and clean Breeze is. I’ll stick with having ornamental grasses growing through the Breeze, a few window boxes and outdoor art. I can, and likely will add more in time.
The Breeze is the same color I used last fall, but it does lighten with time, as the sun bleaches everything eventually! Everything that looks Pink is new.
This fire pit area turned out better than I imagined. It’s spacious, clean and inviting for an evening around the fire pit.
View from the fire pit toward the back patio.
I ended up with some extra landscaping materials and I left it out front, on the curb with a “FREE” sign attached. As of half hour ago, it is all gone! I LOVE recycling. I’m super glad to find someone who wants exactly what I’m throwing away!

How to gracefully appreciate the simplest things in life…

My family was in town last week. One afternoon, we went to the RiNo district for lunch and a Rockies Game. We sat up high and enjoyed people watching, beautiful weather and game day snacks.
A beautiful day at Coors Field with the new lights high above the stands.
Funnel cake! Never had it, but it looks pretty tasty!
New construction from Coors Field. The Denver skyline is full of cranes.
It looks like I’m photo bombing Susie! Heading into the field.
I don’t know if you’ve been into the RiNo District lately, but it’s been completely redeveloped and is now a hip and stylish area. We ate at Safta (meaning grandma) Restaurant, which offers fabulous Middle Eastern food. It’s located in the The Source Hotel and Market Hall lobby. I recommend this awesome restaurant with great food, views and service. The lobby of the hotel- Market Hall, has a fun retail area including a coffee shop, floral shop and local art.
One of the unique shops at Market Hall.
Susie pondering weather to visit another shop or grab a Chai Latte at the coffee bar. Latte won!
We also stopped by the Old Santa Fe Pottery shop to see what they are showing for spring! It’s so fun here! I would LOVE to convert this place into a house with a cool courtyard!

Ok, “retired” is a debatable word. It’s come up over the last 3 years that I’m not actually “retired”. And that’s fair! I manage my rentals which is a responsibility, and sometimes they require extra time and energy to maintain, repair or upgrade any of the houses. I’m fortunate that I’ve had great tenants for the most part, and good luck with no devastating property issues! Thankfully! And I do love to remodel, which takes time and money, of course. But it’s also a great creative outlet for me. And it improves my investment at the same time. So, I’m not retired in the sense of not having any responsibilities, I’m retired from working for someone else and having a schedule. Self employed, I guess. Otherwise, I’m busy doing all the things I love to do. And getting paid for it. Win, Win!

I make it all seem like a dream, but the reality is that everything doesn’t always go perfectly smooth. I’m grateful to have help with maintenance issues that pop up at the rentals, like the kitchen plumbing at one of the houses. Juan is nor only positive and determined, he doesn’t complain about having to work under the sink for a few hours. Ugh!
I was hoping to get the repair done without having to dig into the wall downstairs, but we ended up having to make a small hole in the drywall to get to the problem. Good thing we did, the insulation and drywall were wet. Now that the clog is fixed, I’ll let the inside of the wall dry before repairing the hole we made.
This part, I can do! I have MAD weed eating skills!
Meanwhile, Juan is finishing up the plumbing repair.
Susie and I went by this specialty shop on Santa Fe to see what they offer for small spaces.
Murphy Bed’s have come along way!
These are cool, but not cheap! The most expensive one was $15K! They are custom made and can be configured in several ways to fit the space. I’m learning about them here.
Downtown Englewood!
Englewood has been experiencing a redevelopment over the last several years. I love the new energy, next generation of neighbors and new businesses. See the cow at the far end?
At the end of a great week we had a great dinner at the new One Barrel Restaurant in Englewood. Preston can’t contain his excitement!
And, I learn grace from Rocco. Here, he’s found a perfect place to grab some morning sun. He does only what makes him happy, feels or tastes good, loves having the family around with all their shenanigans, and he simply wants to be near the humans he loves. I try to be like him.

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve imagined. -H.D. Thoreau

Taking a break and sitting in the sun on the back patio! This is Nice!
Rocco has his own sofa, of course.
So exciting! I got a delivery on Saturday morning. My new outdoor furniture!
Although I know I’m putting this thing together, I look a bit tentative in this pic.
Rocco is also checking things out, very closely.
OK! I can do this!
Here’s my station, under the umbrella, on my new patio!
It only took 4.5 hours, but I got it done and think it’s perfect! There are sure to be more moves, but the pieces are modular so I can move them around, how they best fit for different uses.
Plus, I love looking at this from the kitchen!
Yesterday, while assembling the group, I learned how valuable the umbrella is in this space. I almost feel like a Cedar arbor overheard would be nice. But for now, I’ll try it this way.
This is the view from the new sitting area. Not to bad!
This space is also more private and protected with the shed, fence and house surrounding it. It feels intimate and It’s the first space you see when you walk into the back yard.
The shed provides shade in the afternoon, but the umbrella keeps the space usable all day.
This is the accent pillow fabric I bought for all the outdoor furniture. It adds some fun color to an otherwise pretty neutral palette. The pattern is sophisticated, bright and casual.
In order to move this behemoth, I had to take most of the dirt out and roll it. It’s big and heavy empty! It’ll go in the back yard once the landscapers finish the Breeze.
I used up all the materials that were being stored in the middle of the yard. Now you can see straight through to the back of the yard when you walk into the back. This is your view.
My landscaper will be back for the last visit (I hope) to finish up the irrigation and some details. The border around the back patio and around the whole back yard will be gone, with a few steppers along the patio and walkways. I’ll lose 2 of these 4×8 Cedar planters, leaving me more space to move around. I so appreciate a clean, low maintenance yard!
There are 2 shrubs that I planted several years ago, growing along the back patio. They’ve been abused over the years and especially during this project but are showing signs they will be back.
I love the deep Burgundy leaves they produce. I’ve trimmed them back and look forward to seeing how they evolve this year.
This project has been healing and energizing for me. This being the first house I bought when I moved to Denver, I can’t help but think about my life then, now, and all the years in between. I’m grateful everyday, that I can wake up, hear the birds chirp and smell the earth begin to wake up and grow again. This is my therapy and I’m so glad to be able to share it with you!
Happy Easter!

2018 NYC… How To Make Being A Tourist Look Easy

Heading toward the East Coast for a couple days before our visit to Ireland.
We stayed at the tip of Manhattan this time, in the financial district. Where the Green dot is.

On the way to Ireland, we stayed in NYC for 2 nights to take in some of the sights. The map shows where our hotel was, at the tip of Manhattan. In the 2 days we were there, we walked around and were able to see a lot of Battery Park, Liberty Island, Ellis Island, ground zero at World Trade Center and found some fun places to stop for lunch, dinner and cool refreshments.

We stayed at The Doubletree Hilton at the Financial District on Stone Street. This is the view from our room. The room was clean, with nice linens, but SUPER small. I guess that’s how it works in NYC. We loved the location and were able to walk around easily from the room. Starbucks was half a block away, gratefully! We had a partial view of Ellis Island, on the left side of the pic, across the harbor. Battery Park is on this side of the harbor, below.
NYC, Financial District. New York does a good job of creating parks in the middle of the city.
The bull on Wall Street is bigger than it looks!
Defiant girl, in training!
We walked down the embankment to The World Trade Center grounds. This place is such an emotional space. Years later, people from all over the world are here trying to understand how something like this could happen and pray for peace in our world.
I can’t explain how it feels to be in this place. Somber, heavy and reflective.
The Twin Tower foot prints, now eternity pools, are so vast. This pic shows how small the people across the pool are.
The survivor tree at Ground Zero was saved after severe damage and has been a beacon of hope for so many after 9/11.
1 World Trade Center.
American Merchant Marines Memorial on the harbor.
North Cove and Manhattan Sailing School on this gorgeous day! These yachts are over 150′ long. This marina sits along the harbor and has great restaurants, shops and walking paths with people enjoying the beautiful sunny day in August.
North Cove is on the Hudson, 3 blocks from The World Trade Center Museum. We discovered a great deli and enjoyed our sandwiches on a bench watching crew members work on these amazing yachts.
The Staten Island Ferry is free and takes people across the harbor to New Jersey on a regular schedule. We decided to take a spin across and back toward the end of our first day.
The ferry’s are actually pretty cool. It’s a main form of transportation across the Hudson. Here are local commuters on the ferry.
After walking around all day, I was looking for a good place to sit and sip. “How about this place?” I’m pointing out the Dubliner to Sean, who is desperately looking for a Guiness.

This cute little alley was blocked off to traffic and set up for people to hang out in between a bunch of little neighborhood restaurants. We loved finding it only a block from our hotel.

Awww! I look happy to be off my feet and scoping the NY scene.
The 2nd day, we decided to try out luck at the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island tours. I’m not big on huge lines of people, but I had to suck it up and stand in line with the rest of them to see the sights!
Looking back at Manhattan across the harbor.
The Coast Guard is always on alert. The gunner is standing on the bow, strapped into a harness with his hand on the machine gun! Adventurous job!
The path walking around Lady Liberty on Liberty Island.
This shot, from Liberty Island shows Manhattan and 1 World Trade Center in the background, Ellis Island on the left of the background and all the tourists walking around Liberty Island.
Liberty Island is worth standing in line and navigating through hundreds of people. The statue from France represents Liberty Enlightening the World. Such a positive image from our history.
1 World Trade Center with sailboats in the harbor.
Ellis Island from the ferry.
Ellis Island Hall, where thousands of immigrants landed, looking for a better life.
Irish immigrant family in a pic at Ellis Island. A hard life makes it understandable to want to immigrate.
“Goodbye, I’ll see you later!”
The long story of Immigration can not be accurately demonstrated in these few pics. However, when visiting Ellis Island, it’s heartbreaking and inspiring to read about all the people who have found their way to the US, using whatever means they had, to try for a better life.
Ellis Island.
On the ferry to Liberty Island and Ellis Island.
I do love to visit New York. I’ve now been a couple times and look forward to a return visit. It’s a great way to break up a trip to Europe and now, we’re off to Ireland.

Spring is welcome to visit me anyday!

Susie was in town last week to help me get my yard cleaned up for spring! It’s a tradition we look forward to, celebrating all the tiny miracles that happen, this time of year. We took my brother, Michael to lunch for his birthday.
I got my outdoor curtains up and the patio furniture rearranged. Luckily, I have plenty of rugs to use on the concrete pad. I’m thinking abut tiling the whole patio to clean it up and add some fun style to the space.
The curtains add a lot of charm and privacy to the space. I can open or close them to create more intimate sitting areas.
Here, I’m using a curtain to create a backdrop for the floating chair. And we finally moved all the garden tools from the outside of the shed. Now I can use this door to access the shed.
Susie dug all the volunteer grass out of the planter and we raked up old tree branches and leaves on the Breeze, leaving the yard cleaner, but aching for some foliage.
This vintage paned glass door was recycled from the cottage on the back of the lot. I love it as a decorative focal point and practical door to the shed. All the windows were also recycled from another house which I had the original windows replaced.
This tree and shrub were salvaged during the remodel. The shrub isn’t looking so good, but I hope they both survive the project. Shade and foliage is what this house is missing right now.
This is what you see when you come in the side gate, which has become my actual entry to the house. At this point, every pic I post has a lingering project that I need to address. In this pic, it’s the Blue tarp covering mulch, potting soil and bulbs from last fall. I just need to do it!
The side yard is clean with Breeze. Although this isn’t a part of the yard people see, I love how clean and low maintenance it is! These curtains give me and my neighbor privacy while I’m on the back patio, which is more and more often!
The pile of flagstone behind the door will be used in the front and back yards for steppers near the sliding patio door and as you walk off the patio slab of the back porch.
The garden boxes are overgrown with only a couple plants worth saving. Susie dug out clumps of grass and found a healthy Chive and a Strawberry plant! More proof that miracles happen everyday in the garden!
Susie and I moved this rustic garden bench to this area to accommodate all the pots that will come in handy in a month, or so.  This valuable space is now the gardening area.  A place to work and store my outdoor projects!  The 4×4 planter will be removed.
I‘m meeting with my landscaper to discuss removing a couple of these planters. I’ll have 2 large and 1 small planter to use.  That’ll give me more room for my fire pit, on this end, and the garden work space at the other end. Sprinklers will get turned on for the season at the end of April.
I’ve been shopping for outdoor patio furniture for this space. Now that I use it for my entrance everyday, I need to make it welcoming and comfortable. So far, I hung a window planter with metal shudders, added a couple chaise lounge chairs and I moved an outdoor bakers/garden rack near the shed door. The pots will get moved after I dig some of the dirt out of them to make them lighter. 2 part project! I still need more foliage and soft cushioned furniture!
More window planters on this side. I also have some metal art I’ll add to this side of the shed.