Honoring Mom’s Adventurous Spirit as she Approaches 75 years

Fall is here and changing my landscape everyday!
At the dentist for a root canal. You can see I’m not very excited about this. However, I made it out to be much worse than it actually was and I feel so much better after the procedure.
First snow of the season. I got about 4 inches overnight. Only 2 ladies showed up for water aerobics the next morning, and I’m glad to have been one of the ladies who made it on a snowy day in the city!
One of the rentals had people arriving the same day. I think they appreciate having a fresh layer of snow when visiting Colorado in the fall.
Mom came to stay for a week to celebrate her 75th birthday this November. I picked her up mid-day!
Mom and I made some changes to the patio for the winter, trying to maximize the sun throughout the season.
A different seating pattern for the season. Hopefully, I can use this space all winter, in the warmest part of the day.
Mom in the background, enjoying a break on the patio in the afternoon.
This tree drops leaves all over the patio roof and they slowly drift down to the ground with a breeze.
So vibrant and lovely at 75!
We had a tea reservation at The Brown Palace. Kasey and Nikki joined us to celebrate her birthday. Gorgeous girl!
And Mom’s dear friend, Diane surprised her by showing up. They had not seen each other for 20 years and both turn 75 this November. Super special!
We enjoyed tea, finger sandwiches and pastries in the beautiful historic hotel atrium.
A couple days later, Mike’s family met us at Il Fornio restaurant for a birthday dinner.
Awesome food and a wonderful family gathering! Mom with Lauren. Beautiful ladies!
Mom and I worked in the yard and cut back the foliage. I hate to see it all disappear, but I know after the next 6 months, we’ll be ready to see new Green reappear in the spring!
One afternoon, Micheal came over for lunch. We made Panini with salad and sat on the back patio, talking and laughing!
Mom flew home after a lovely week in Englewood and I went looking for a new project. I found these 2 nightstands for $10 each. I’ll refinish them and give them new life!
This simple little $10 stool will also get a makeover and feel sexy again! My friend suggested a new Fur cover and she’s right!
It was late afternoon when I got this home, but I managed to strip the hardware off and clean both tables with TSP before applying a layer of sanding sealer.
Prep is really the biggest part of these projects. I’ve set up a work space in the yard for my projects.
TSP works great as a heavy duty cleaner. It strips off any grime and creates a great surface for paint. I love that it prevents me from having to strip the finish off a piece before painting!
After cleaning, I apply a light layer of sanding sealer to make the surface more smooth and consistent before paint.
My sister gave me this card and I think it’s inspiring and beautiful! Now, I’m sharing it with you!

Harvest Season has arrived in a Colorful Bomb of Inspiration…

This amazing photo was taken by my mom from her house in Idaho. It’s a view of Henry’s Lake from their driveway. Gorgeous!

My wonderful Aunt Katie came to visit with my mom for 3 days. It’s so fun and special to see her and have a chance to spend time together without all the kids and grand kids. She’s a positive and vibrant spirit and I’m grateful to have the time with her!
The first time entertaining in my new kitchen.
This little foot stool has been in one of the rentals for several years and the burlap, recycled from when I was in the rug industry, is showing signs of wear.
It’s simple to recover it, but I want to make it feel European to match the style of the rental.
I had some extra burlap and this fun French style stencil, which I used to create interest and give it a French flair.
Cute enough! And the fabric is less distressed. Voila’!
A good friend of mine is in the long process of Chemotherapy and I am helping her out with some cooking.
We settled on Lasagna, Baked Penne and Enchilada’s!
While I’m cooking, I might as well make some for my house too!
After the 1 week remodel that turned into a month long remodel, I needed a break from it all and found my way up to Gunnison to see some fall colors and the family. Preston relaxing on the patio, overlooking Blue Mesa!
My beautiful sister, taking in the gorgeous view of the Reservoir.
This is how to find peace and relax! The weather was perfect and the colors in full spectacle!
I drove the dogs past Gothic toward Schofield Pass and found a good place to stop and walk around. They were most interested in the cow pies, so I put them in the back of the truck for a scenic pic of the colors.
There were many people in the area taking pics and walking around. I was fortunate to find this place away from the crowds to enjoy the day.
Once I returned home, I started cleaning and working on the details from the remodel. I had David put up some shelving above the fridge for more storage.
He cut down the pantry doors to fit the cabinet. I Love the texture they add to the space!
Some of the details include shelves and cool brackets, barn wood and ceramic Brick tile.
Before the doors…
These were found at Habitat for Humanity for $10! Super great find! However, they were dirty and needed cleaning. I use TSP cleaning solution with a brush to remove the dust and spills on the wood.
This is my set up to refinish cabinets. Cleaning and prep is the biggest part of the project! Clean with TSP, then a coat of sanding sealer, light sanding, paint (maybe 2 coats), more sanding to distress, glaze to highlight any imperfections and give it patina, then 2 coats of finishing wax. This process must be re imagined with each project. I’ve learned that it takes a few try’s to get the look I want, then I go forward with that process to finish all the cabinets to match.
This is the pantry cabinet David built for me. I took it outside to begin the treatment, looking for the right technique. The outside panel is done and ready to mount the pantry doors again.
I also wanted to try the technique on a small part of the door. I’ll finish it later, but needed to see how it looks with paint and some glaze.
When we cut the door down to size, we exposed some joints in the wood. No worries! Luckily, my style is rustic farmhouse, so I feel comfortable having imperfections in my cabinets and doors. I do need door latches.
My door latch solution is magnetized brackets. Simple!
Before I left Gunnison, Susie gave me fresh produce from the farmer’s market on Saturday morning in town. How cute are these baby carrots?
I feel better having taken a break from my remodel project! It’s always great to get up the the mountains and especially when the fall colors are in full display!

Fearless Lucy- Overcoming Scary Odds in a Remarkable Tale

After thinking long and hard, I finally added a new member to the household, Lucy. Formally known as Puzzle (?), Lucy is learning her way around her new house and getting to know her new family members. She is estimated to be around 1 year old, 14 lbs, a Chihuahua/Daschund mix and very sweet personality.
This is the afternoon we brought her home. She had a bath and is exploring her new yard with Rocco. They look a lot alike, same size and color, but her tail is curled and she has some White patches on her body. And because she’s younger, she has more energy.
Look at her cute face!
She is trying to get closer and closer to Rocco. He was first trying to hump her, then ignore her.
Inching closer…
Almost touching, but Rocco moved out of the way.
Everything new to her. The next morning, we showed her where we sit to have tea and watch the day unfold.
Lucy was found on May 20th in a field, near a road with a broken pelvis. It’s speculated that she was hit by a car. Her little body is similar to Rocco, but she’s is thicker, longer fur, shorter legs. He’s more willowy.
Lucy still looks to Rocco for guidance. She follows him around and does what he does. He is tolerating her, but I see him warming up and letting her act more familiar with him.
She’s starting to feel more comfortable and confident.
As the summer is nearing the latter part, I’m finding time to finish up my yard and storage areas. My bone yard has been holding outdoor tools and garden equipment. I’ve been picking away at items here, and today will rearrange and organized it.
This project took 45 minutes, so much smaller than I made it out to be in my mind! I should have done this months ago! Now, cleaner and I can find things faster.
And I’ve scheduled this wall to come out next week. This is the first big project I’ve done inside this house, so far. Before winter arrives, I want to open this space up for more light, make the it feel bigger and inclusive. During the colder months, this space IS the living space for the house and can feel claustrophobic over the long cold snowy season.
My contractor, David built this cabinet for me. I’m challenged with storage in this house. And when I take out the wall between the kitchen and living room, I’ll have even less cabinet space. This will be interesting, but I specialize in this problem, after working in all these 1930’s bungalows!
David built this base cabinet for me a couple months ago, and the two match. I’m doing this kitchen remodel on a budget and plan to refinish the cabinets myself, use rustic and inexpensive materials and still make it look farmhouse chic in the end. This exterior wall will be the focal point of the whole kitchen/ living room once the wall comes down. I have a couple vintage looking panel doors that may help dress up the tall cabinet. Once the work is done, I’ll decide on the details.
The new cabinet sits adjacent to the back patio door. I had it built to be only 9″ deep so walking into the kitchen doesn’t feel like a hallway.
These sunflowers arrived unplanned and they are spectacular! The soil we dug up from one of the old garden boxes and moved to this raised garden in the front yard had sunflower seeds within and they surprised me and the neighborhood when they grew taller than the windmill. My neighbors tell me they love to watch the windmill spinning, moving and entertaining them. So much fun!

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!

“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

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!

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.