May 22, 2005
Dear Family and Friends,
Does it seem to you that the past
five months have been a drag? Barney, our bus stop bear who greets
visitors, will tell you it's been far more gloomy, cold, gray than is
typical in sunny Colorado. Tres
This has seemed like the longest
had since we left Ohio (where the gray skies and the cold damp air made
winter a six month long event). At first we assumed that it was just us
who thought the time passed slowly, but we heard the same thing from
friends and neighbors also. We still have a few
lingering patches of snow in shady
areas and along north facing slopes, perhaps the remains of a two-foot
storm last month. I think we've burned more wood this winter than ever:
maybe four to five cords? However, today is about 80° and the
promises to be warmer yet.
The pasqueflowers shot up on
in April despite the snow. Our few daffodils braved the snow. The
hummingbirds surprised us the last week in April and we put out feeders
in spite of below freezing temperatures at night. Crossbills,
grosbeaks, finches, pine siskinds, and juncos have joined our year
round nuthatches and chickadees. Even the grasses in our "meadow"
have begun to green up. Judy runs in shorts in the mornings, and we've
cleaned out the wood stove. We might have some spring after all.
Or maybe we'll just skip spring and go right to summer. Of course,
we've had snow here every month except August since we moved
here, so we won't be very surprised if the weather does an about face.
of Winter Project
We were home most of the time since
our Christmas trip to be with Dan and Debra and the grandchildren in
Milton. Our inside project this winter
paint the rest of the main level (guest suite, office, and hall), which
we did easily enough. After 12 years of white, white, white, guests now
can rest more easily in rooms that are a relaxed sage. The office and
halls are a warm beige that matches the great room (in truth, we had
gallons of both colors left over from painting our bedroom and the
great room last spring, and we liked them both).
The most sweat came from scraping the
"popcorn" ceilings and applying three coats of
white: a primer, textured/knockdown paint, and a final coat. Removing
the old ceilings was messy and dusty, but the difference is startlingly
attractive by comparison and was well worth the effort. We should have
it years ago. (How often have we said those words!) I wanted to move on
down to the rec room and redo the
ceiling there, but Judy wanted a break from the mess and dust. Perhaps
this summer or fall.
After living here 13 years, we finally
that we would like to spruce up the outside yard—the path to the front
door (before on the left, partially done on the right) other paths on
the west side of the house and the back
We enjoy being outside, but we've not had a real patio. On top of that,
the flagstone I laid during our first summer/fall here has begun to
shift and heave and crumble. So, we've been working with a local
landscape designer, a group of Nepalese stone masons, and our favorite
carpenter, Fred, to design and build a real patio, replacing the
flagstone paths around the house, and enlarging the deck off
our living room.
Work began a week ago, and in a
time Lhakpah Sherpa, his
brother, his cousin, and his 60-year-old
mother have already made an encouraging transformation. They have
days of work, but the old material is gone and there are enough new
stones in place and low walls built that
we can tell we're going to love having our sundowners outside on the
When they finish and cart away all the
scrap stone and gravel, Judy and I are planning to stain the house with
the help of a very tall ladder. With that done, only the removal of the
popcorn ceiling in the lower level/rec room remains as our last project
in this go around.
After 13 years, maybe we will relax (except for the continual cutting,
splitting, and stacking fire wood for the next winter).
•Interspersed with the remodeling
we continued to work the Visitors Center on Saturdays (though we are
going to be switching to Thursdays); we meet with our
monthly book clubs (feel free to write for suggestions); we enjoy
neighborhood dinner club each month; I make
music every other week; Judy has been cross-country and back
country skiing at least a few times a week. Captain Judy retired from
Fire Department at the end of last year, so she doesn't go to training
meetings, officers meetings, nor does she respond to the pager anymore.
And doesn't miss it.
•Judy continues to run 5–6 times
week, and I've gone back to running on an irregular regular basis. To
get ready for the upcoming Bolder-Boulder 10K on Memorial Day, Judy has
joined a training group
headed by ex-Olympic runners Colleen De Reuck (recently set the masters
mark in the 25K), her husband Darren, and Mark Plaatjes, part of the
cream of Boulder's racing community. Her goal is to shave at
least two minutes off her last year's time.
You can find out how she
did by going on line sometime in June when the results are posted. Go
click "2005 Age/Gender Category Results" and look under 63-year-old
females. She should be the first one.
•We've also been preparing for our trip
this fall to Bhutan, with side trips to Cambodia, and Bangkok. We've
been to several
organizational meetings and started to sort through the equipment we
take with us and decide what we might need. In addition, I volunteered
organize the "side trip" to Angkor Wat. We thought that after two weeks
of trekking/camping in the Himalayas and two glamorous
days in Bangkok that we should spend at least three days touring the
ruins of this incredible
I'm sure you'll hear more about the entire trip in the fall.
Vacation in Cozumel
In mid-March we took what is probably
our final family trip that we're paying for. We chose Cozumel because
it was where we had our
first family trip in 1994, and we all had good memories of our week
there: snorkeling, diving, pool time, card playing, great seafood, and
being together with our kids, their spouses, and our grandchildren. We
had a grand time as you will see in the photos and
write up online.
Judy graduated in 1960 from New Hope
Solebury High School in New Hope, a small town in Bucks County,
Pennsylvania, less than an hour north of Philadelphia. Judy and her two
girl friends, Pat and
Irene, decided last year that they would like to celebrate their 45th
high school reunion in grand style.
Since the fall, the three have been working the phones and the internet
to locate each of the 48 graduates and urge them to attend. They found
most of them: six remain unaccounted for and two are deceased. In all
16 attended the dinner, several with their spouses; three others came
to the afternoon cocktail
party but skipped the dinner—and so didn't get their faces in the group
picture taken that evening. A more complete report on the day's events
can be found here.
While we were there we visited the
one-room school Judy spent her first two years with Mrs. Fitting in a
split 1st and 2nd grade class. The small school was built in 1755 and
rebuilt in 1810 and 1870. Unlike buildings in Colorado that are revered
have survived a century, many buildings—barns, houses, schools, et
al.—are still in use 300 years after they were first constructed.
Today the one-room school sits just across from the "new" elementary
school where Judy finished grades 3–6. The building serves as a facility for computers and for their gifted and
talented programs. We also visited the newer and much expanded middle
school and high school complex.
We took pictures of the first house
Judy lived in on Lower York Road (Rte 202), across from the Best
Western Motel. On the west side is the former Bud Schulberg estate (the
main house survives) where Judy's dad was caretaker for a while and, on
the east side, the site of the Bucks County Motel her dad later built
which is now a posh housing development off Shire Road. Lots of good
We walked the streets and shops of New
Hope and crossed the bridge to Lambertville (New Jersey). Many of the
New Hope shops that had once been art galleries or antique shops have
been converted to gift shops that now cater to the tourists throngs
that clog the narrow streets and sidewalks daily. Parking is limited
and parking tickets seem to be an important source of income (read the
information on the meters carefully; we did and still got two tickets
in three days!) Even Peddler's Village in Lahaska, once an attractive
complex of antique stores and upscale shops seems less interesting than
even the factory outlet stores that have gone up across the highway.
Lambertville, which was once a blue collar, working class town, has
gone upscale and may be more interesting than New Hope is. Another sign
We drove up to Centre Bridge on the
Delaware River and saw the effects of last month's devastating flood.
We returned the next day to run the four miles back to New Hope along
the towpath that parallels the Pennsylvania Canal. It's a beautiful
with lush woods, no traffic, and smooth surface, and enough room for
runners, walkers, and bicycles. If we lived there we'd be on it every
Sitting at breakfast at a local
restaurant one morning, we had another "it's a small world event": I
was greeted with a kiss at the table from a former student and old
friend from our Ohio days. Tom and Mary Ann (she did the kissing!)
Stibbe, who still live in Sylvania, were in the area visiting friends
and just happened to come to the same place for breakfast at the same
time. I didn't really see her coming. I didn't have a chance to see the
looks on the faces of the
others at the table, but no one was more surprised than I!
At the end of the trip, we walked
through the streets of Philadelphia to see the Liberty Bell (a
free and informative tour), Independence Hall (by reservation only, and
we didn't get there in time), and Betsy Ross's
house (the legend of her sewing the first flag has as much truth as
down the cherry tree). We topped off the day with a genuine Philly
cheese steak from Sonny's, a
grand treat that's still made
with Cheeze Whiz!
Irene, Lee, Judy, and I missed
sharing the trip with Tom and Pat who, because of illness, was forced
to miss her 45th high school reunion as well as our 10th annual trip
together. The pictures and the
stories they'll hear will have to suffice for now.