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 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.
This cluttered corner will be a focal point of the yard. Motivation to do what I need to do! Nice extension cord leading to the heat tape on the shed roof!
I added a couple hanging baskets on the front arbor and have a couple smaller projects planned for the front yard. I’ll make the garden with the Aspen tree a bit bigger and taller- like a burm, with some perennial flowers. Also add a second burm style garden on the other piece of grass near the driveway with the windmill, shrub or tree and perennial flowers too!
My fabulous sister, Susie! Loving the early vegetation at O’Toole’s garden shop! I find my way here throughout the winter, when it’s cold and snowy outside and spring is only a distant memory. See how happy she is?
Spring is such an inspiring time for everyone! The anticipation of each pastey white face as we visit the garden shop to see what treasures are just in!
Even the yard cat in the video below is inspired, although cats don’t really show emotion, I can see she’s happy to have the fresh adventure!

Unusual bomb cyclone launches spring in the Rockies.

And all of a sudden, blowing snow, wind and panic set in!
The whole patio was covered in snow. Fearing complete isolation, I fashioned a long brush to clear the satellite dish so I felt less alone.
And as the snow melted, it caused an ice cornice to build up on the shed and the house.
The metal roof plus snow, makes for a waterfall over the gutters.
I had to add heat tape to melt the ice so it would simply drain into the gutters.
My vintage windmill was blown over in the storm, bending the blades.
A casualty of the Bomb Cyclone! I’ll try to bend the blades back in shape again.
But just look at what happens after we get all the needed moisture!
Hidden bulbs are finding their way through the weed barrier and Breeze material, searching for the spring sunshine! Although I wasn’t looking for these to pop up right here, I can’t find it in myself to pull them up!
I’ve added some Cobalt Blue planters near the front door and some of my pots already have established perennial Day Lillie’s coming in!
Yay! Spring is so very welcome after a long winter.
Small, I know! But I can’t help but be pleased to see some Green reappear after 6 months of drab winter!
This time of year, we’re ready to lose the sweaters and boots. But it takes a few days in the privacy of your yard to get enough sun to show any skin in public.
I moved the outdoor chairs to maximize the sunny part of each day in the back yard. Rocco is grateful to lay in the sun too!

This is what happens when we go to see the Queen and her kingdom!

Leaving Knock Ireland, heading toward Luton Airport near London.
We stayed at The Hilton Doubletree at the Docklands on Columbia Wharf in London. This building is an old mill and offers awesome views of The Thames from our room.
View from our room at night! The ferry on the right side of the pic travels back and forth all day from Canary Wharf to Columbia Wharf on the other side of the Thames where we caught the water ferry down the river and into the city.
Our room was basically a flat. Lots of space and a small balcony overlooking the river.
We slept with the door open all night so we could feel the breeze from the river and hear the tide coming and going. Loved it!
I loved the rustic feel of the old building! Sean is counting his pounds.
Our room is the top balcony. Below is an outdoor space with tables overlooking the river.
Parliment and Big Ben were under renovation while we were there.
It really IS Big!
I had to pay attention when crossing streets, as the traffic was coming from the opposite direction than I’m used to!
We rode the ferry to the Westminster stop and walked down St. James park to Buckingham Palace. It was lovely!
Buckingham palace is very grand, very busy and very impressive. It’s crazy to actually be in a spot I’ve seen in so many pictures. And no, we didn’t see any royals while we were there!
You can see the fountain driveway at the front of Buckingham Palace.
Guilded gates are everywhere. This place is huge. It’s quite a walk from point A to Point B.
Were practiving our “Royals” pose! Do we look royal?
The queen leaves Buckingham Palace and goes to Balmoral Scotland during the summer. While she’s away, tours of the palace allow viewing and walking through 19 state rooms! Unfortunately, no photos were allowed inside. But I will say that the decadence and grandeur is so breathtaking. It’s amazing to me that these rooms have been lived in and used since the 1700’s. This pic is taken outside the back of the palace where the queen holds Garden parties.
This is 10 Downing St., through the gates. Home of Prime Minister Teresa May, at least for now. See the armed guards at the gate?
This is just on the other side of the fence from Teresa May’s house.
Standing on the London Bridge with a good view of the London Eye!
They still have these phone booths everywhere!
View from the ferry as we’re leaving London Bridge headed back toward our hotel.
This sign is funny to me! Not just the part of not being a nuisance, but that they’ll report you to your church. Now that’s a deterrent!
This old inn, circa 1520. We walked by it on our way to the Tower of London!
I imagine midieval people walking around in the cobblestone street with a mug in hand, looking for a place to lay their head for the night.
We took an obligatory break at Starbucks before going into the Tower. Fun to watch people from all over the world walk around these tourist attractions.
We’re heading toward the entrance of the Tower of London. I’m walking by what was once a moat surrounding the Tower.
The outside of the Tower. Entrance on the right.
This is inside the Tower grounds, the London Bridge behind us. You can see the moat behind us between the stone wall and the sidewalk below.
This is where the Yeoman Warders or Beefeaters live, inside the Tower grounds.
There’s one getting into the back seat of his car.
This whole fortress dates back over a 1000 years to 1070 AD. It’s been damaged, rebuilt and updated many times since then by a variety of Kings and Queens.
The slits in the stone wall are actually windows. See the gargoyles looking down at us?
Panoramic view. The Building straight ahead is the White Tower, or the Tower of London.
Again, no photos inside, but The Crown Jewels are pretty spectacular and heavily guarded!
Henry VIII’s armour. Hmmm.
Living in a castle seems romantic, but this would not be so cozy. Now I imagine walking through these hallways with a candle in hand.
Cold and dark, but the stone work is not only cool to see, it’s also super durable to have lasted this many centuries.
This is looking out a window. They are so small to protect the habitants from a seige. I think I’d feel claustrophobic living here.
This is a toilet. Basically a wooden box with a hole in it. I don’t know what’s below the box.
The king’s room. A bed, fireplace, a table, a throne and a chapel.
I guess this is where he makes plans for invasions.
It seems simple, but considering the stone rooms that are everywhere else, it IS more cozy.
The Kings throne.
Huge fireplaces are in the rooms to heat the cold space.
The White Tower. This is the tower that held the troops, weapons, armour, horses and of course, a chapel.
The chapel in The White tower.
The likeness of Queen Elizabeth I.
The walls are several feet deep to protect the people from attack.
This is amazing to me!
Torture tools. It’s eerie in this room, knowing how many people were held, tortured and died here.
A great view of London Bridge, standing next to the White tower.
We walked over London Bridge to see what was on the far embankment.
The London Bridge is a destination by itself. It’s a feat of engineering.
Looking back at the Tower over the Thames.
The Belfast warship is now a museum. It sits across the Thames from the Tower. We thought about taking a tour, but decided to find a cafe and have a glass of wine instead.
This walkway takes you from the cafe to the Belfast.
The little cafe overlooks the Thames and embankment.
The embankment runs along the river for miles. Tons of restaurants, parks and pedestrians. The architecture in London is remarkable. Very modern mixed with very old buildings.
Tired and feeling goofy after our stay in London, now we’re heading back to Colorado.
London to Denver is a long flight. I’m grateful to have seen parts of London and look forward to a return trip at some point!

If your lucky enough to visit Ireland, locals know how to make you feel charmed!

Arriving at Shannon Airport, Ireland. Aug 27, 2018.
Westport, standing on a bridge overlooking the Mall river.
O’Hehirs Cafe on the Octogon. One of my favorite cafes in Westport overlooks The Octogon, a historic landmark in town. I could spend hours here, drinking tea
and watching people walk by .
Kylemore Abbey, Ireland
A short walk away is the Chapel at Kylemore Abbey. So gothic and ornate!
Many of the manor’s and castles have chapels on the property. Entering the chapel at Kylemore Abbey.
Inside the chapel at Kylemore Abbey, beautiful paned glass windows.
Tea at the Cafe at Kylemore Abbey. When in Ireland, drink tea!
You’d never know what bliss lies behind this wall…
The walled victorian garden at Kylemore abbey.
Looking back toward the entry gate on the top left. This place is so gorgeous and has been recently restored after many years of neglect.
Turf is a natural resource that the Irish burn for heat. It’s layers of mulch and organic material that has been sitting on the ground for millions of years and become very dense. Driving around Ireland you can see fields of turf where people have dug up small sections, let sit to dry and then sell as fuel. It’s a resource that people now understand needs to be protected. You can smell turf being burned as you drive around. It’s very strong smelling, kinda like tobacco.
We saw many rich and decadent houses, but this house inspired me because it is the head gardeners house at the garden at Kylemore Abbey. Very simple and overlooking the whole walled garden. And they were buring turf for heat inside.
It was a super soggy day. However, if your strategy is to wait until is clears up, you’ll be spending your time inside! The trick is to dress appropriately and go for it!
Keel Beach on Achill Island. One of my favorite places in Ireland, so far!
Old Head Beach, Westport Ireland. I never get tired of being by the ocean.
This trip we stayed closer to town. This is the house we rented. Walking distance from downtown Westport.
This special lady is Sean’s mother, Winnie. She is wonderfully positive kind, loving and enjoys a good laugh, or craic, as the Irish would say! She turned 86 this year and we went back to help her celebrate.
Some of Sean’s family came for tea at our rental house after Winnie’s birthday lunch. Everyone in town loves Winnie. She has lived her entire life in Westport and knows everyone she sees. I’m grateful to know her!

Fun in the sun and more beautiful Shenanigans

Saint George, Utah for Dad’s 75th birthday.
Mom arriving from Idaho at DIA.
Michael and Dad in Moab, Utah for Michael’s 50th birthday.
The Thompson girls on the way to lunch and shopping in Littleton!
Mom, relaxing on the back patio while helping out with my new project.
Selfie on Cumberland Pass, the Continental Divide.
Family dinner at PF Changs in Lone Tree, CO.
Main Street, Gunnison.
Blue Mesa Reservoir.
Hanging with my nephew, Preston and my dog, Rocco.
Silly Girl, in disguise.  Guess who?
Mom enjoying a cup of tea in the carriage house with Rocco.
Picking up Mom from DIA.
Posing with Lisa Bachicha and Susie in Gunnison.

First blissful European trip will make you worry…

Going through customs in Shannon Ireland. It’s all a bit scary, but also exciting! We left NYC at 10:30 PM and arrived in Ireland at 5:30 AM. I didn’t sleep on the flight, instead watched the flight monitor while tightly gripping my arm rest, the whole way.
It’s best not to think about being over the Atlantic Ocean for 5 hours during the flight. Movies help!
There’s no doubt when you finally descend close enough to see the ground that your in Ireland. Look how Green and lush it it! Beautiful!
When we landed, we were greeted with a traditional Irish breakfast. Holy smokes! I had coffee instead.
We rented a house on Clew Bay and watched the tides come and go for 2 weeks.
This is the house we stayed in for 2 weeks.
We looked across the inlet at a small farm with sheep (of course) cows and horses. And they had a friendly dog who came to say hi when we checked it.
We took walks from the house when the tide went down. Exploring small farms and inlets.
And picked wild Blackberries that grew everywhere.
Westport House is an old English Manor on an estate which is now open to the public as a museum. I’m curious about the history of Ireland/Europe and learning more each day.
While we were there, the Harvest Country Music Festival, Miranda Lambert
headlining at the Westport House estate.
We also drove to Dublin for a Gaelic Football game at Croke Park, the largest arena in Ireland. Co Mayo was competing in the finals. Unfortunately, they didn’t win.
Croke Park, Dublin, Ireland.
I have to be honest, the hardest part for me was adjusting to driving on the left side of the road. I didn’t drive during our visit, but had a hard time relaxing while driving for the first week. And you can see how narrow the roads are. The shoulder is at most, 10 inches wide and rock walls line most of the roads. So as a passenger, you see the grass and rock walls coming at you on the left. It takes getting used to!
Besides driving on the left side of the road, the road signs are all in Gaelic and English.
We took a day trip to Connamara and Killary Harbour. So Green and beautiful!
Keel Beach on Achill Island.
The Wild Atlantic Drive follows the coast on the West side of Ireland. Because Ireland is an island, the coast is rocky and dramatic in many places.
The town of Westport is charming and historic.  You see it shown in many tourism ad’s for Ireland. Irish natives like visiting Westport for “holiday” 
I prefer wine, but had to sip a pint at a local pub to get the full experience.
Bertra Strand, with Crogh Patrick (holy mountain) in the distance.
A bunch of rocks on the beach. I think it’s beautiful!
We walked out on to Bertra Strand and enjoyed the grassy peninsula with rocky borders. It was windy, but comfortable enough to spend a couple hours out there.
We visited several abbey’s. Stone is used abundantly, as Ireland is basically a rock island and it’s the easiest material to get. This is in the town of Cong, where The Quiet Man with John Wayne was filmed.
Stone ruins are everywhere. At first, I was taking pics of all the stone buildings, but eventually realized that stone is as common as sagebrush in my hometown. However, I still think its beautiful, historic and certainly durable! These walls and buildings are over a Thousand years old!
An old Abbey and graveyard. See the grave headstones flat on the ground?
These buildings are so amazing and spectacular.
An old Monk’s fishing house on the river near Cong.
Ashford Castle is a world destination and has a long and rich history. Being American I think 200 years is old, but in Ireland, the history goes back thousands of years.
A local favorite is a “99”. Ice cream cone with a flake of chocolate stuck in it! Yum!
More stonework in Westport.
A hike at Old Head Beach on the cliffs.
Kylemore Abbey. We got there too late to go in, but will try again next time!
You still see thatched roofs on some buildings. It’s an old art of tying reeds tightly together to form a roof. This one is on the Wild Atlantic Drive near Achill Island.

NYC will make you feel more attractive than ever!

We stayed on Central Park and were ecstatic with our view. I’m taking care of business back at home while enjoying the view.
The only full day we were in the city, we walked around and see what we could find on foot. I drew in the route we took.

We logged about 6 miles, from my own calculations. Starting at our hotel on the park, we walked to the Hudson River, down the river walk to the Intrepid museum. We wandered around Hell’s Kitchen area, found a place for lunch. Saw a New York fender bender happen in front of us. (No, the driver’s didn’t jump out and start screaming at each other, as expected) Saks Fifth Avenue, Rockefeller Center, Grand Central Station, and ended up back in Central Park!

This ship is HUGE!  I’m standing on the river walk to take this pic.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
Inside St. Patrick’s Cathedral is beautiful and ornate. 
Jesus and Mary Mother Statue inside the cathedral.
Mother Teresa statue inside the cathedral.

I expected New York to be dirty and crowded and noisy and crazy. And while some of that turned out to be true, I was pleasantly surprised at how friendly people were. No one was rude or short with us, at all!

Time’s Square- crazy with people and events.
This souvenir shop had a whole shelf just for “The Donald”
Ok, I couldn’t help it. But just look at my face.
Grand Central Station, iconic and busy. I didn’t get any pics of it, but the Market at Grand Central Station was very cool! It’s straight ahead on the bottom Right, under the arch.
People are everywhere in NYC.  And the station is a hub in the city.
Constellations on the ceiling of Grand Central Station.
This is the ladies bathroom at Saks Fifth Avenue. Vintage decor.
The ladies bathroom at Saks Fifth Avenue. Not sure what I expected, but it seems to be the original bathroom.
Central Park. 

Being from Colorado, I understand New Yorker’s appreciating a place of nature and peace, living in such a hectic environment.   We saw a small part of the park, but it’s actually 2.5 miles long by 1/2 mile wide and features the New York Zoo, Metropolitan Art Museum, amphitheaters, lake and ponds and  other fun attractions.   A historic and nice break from crazy!

Bethesda Fountain in Central Park.
Bethesda Fountain Plaza in Central Park.
Every evening, our hotel offered a complimentary happy hour, which we took full advantage of.

The hotel we stayed in was only a block from Trump Tower and was housing Secret Service Agents who were there to protect the President. They stayed in the same hotel as we did, due to the high price of staying at Trump Tower. We saw them in the lobby and elevators during our stay and they were friendly and respectful. They dressed in Black combat uniforms with “Secret Service” stenciled on the front and back and carried machine guns. Geez!

Culture Baby, Strange and Wonderful!

Christian Dior exhibit at Denver Art Museum with my sister, Susie. So stylish!
Dior gown. The pattern is actually beaded onto the gown, making it look see through.
The hand beading on both these gowns is A-MA-ZING!
And look at this confection. It’s hard to see how this is a dress.
Another stunning gown.

Today I live in the city, but I grew up in the mountains. I get back to my hometown, Gunnison pretty regularly. I still have family there and always enjoy getting away.

Arriving at Garlic Mike’s restaurant with friend, Janice Welborn.
A fundraiser for Six Points in Gunnison at Garlic Mike’s restaurant. Among other prizes, we bid on and won a stay at the Treadway Cabin in historic Tincup, CO. Here, we’re making arrangements for our trip.
Scenic drive by Taylor Reservoir with the Collegiate peaks in the distance on the way to Tincup.
The Treadway cabin where we stayed for 2 nights in Tincup, CO.
We had family come visit one afternoon, enjoying the fall colors and afternoon sun.
Happy hour at the Firepit behind the cabin.
A daytrip to Tincup Cemetary. Separated by religion, 4 knolls make up the cemetery; Catholic Knoll, Protestant Knoll, Jewish knoll and Boot hill, where the businesswoman and well loved cook, Kate Fisher is buried.
Cumberland Pass between Tincup and Pitkin. It’s windy up there!
The porch swing was my favorite seat.

I confess! You need to know it’s all about prep!

Eco Home Exteriors is doing the siding. A huge crew of guys working like ants on an anthill! I can say this company is professional! Not only are the guys respectful and always in a good mood, they arrive at 7:30 am to start and leave when it’s too dark to see anything.

They tear off the vinyl siding, exposing the original wood siding underneath. I decided to have them add a layer of insulation and sheets of plywood to better insulate and stabilize the whole house. Then, the new siding will go on top.

When the siding is removed, it looks like the house is wrapped in foil.

A roll off dumpster is parked in the driveway. The only way to go with all the materials being removed. And nails are everywhere. The crew uses a magnetic wand that “potentially” picks up nails on the ground. I have a habit of always scanning for nails, with my eyes, on the ground. Call me crazy!

I’m on the fence with the “L” bracket on the arbor. I used “T” brackets on most of the posts, but the corners are tricky and won’t accommodate a “T” bracket. They are simply decorative, What do you think?
Back porch, stripped down to foil. See the new patio slider door? I also had the florescent fixtures removed and 2 ceiling fans with lights installed.
North side of the back patio.

The patio slab was pored with the outside corner being angled in, toward the middle of the patio. I’m having it squared off, making it even with the house, to make it larger and easier to place outdoor furniture, etc.

And I love this tree on the edge of the patio. Once the slab gets squared off, the tree will provide a nice natural border to the patio on this end.
Although they’re still working in this walkway on the South side of the house, I can already see it’ll become a feature of the house.
I’m replacing these 2 windows with another sliding patio door between the kitchen and the outdoor patio, now where the planter pots are currently being stored. The gable above the arbor will be sided with horizontal Cedar.
Once the posts holding the patio roof up are replaced and the slab is squared up, this patio will be a much used space in the yard. I’ll have a covered sitting area overlooking the garden boxes. The gable on the left side above the patio roof will feature horizontal cedar planks.
I’ll start the gardens in the spring. But for now, it’s a junk yard.
This pic shows the plywood on the front and side of the house.
Insulation and plywood on the front. Old siding still on the North side of the house.

I plan to use James Hardie Board and Batten siding on the bottom of the house and horizontal Cedar planks on the gables and wrapped around the front entry. The Board and Batten will get painted White and I’ll leave the cedar unfinished. In time, the natural patina of unfinished Cedar will turn Grey, giving the house a rustic look. I hope to be done with this phase by the end of next week.