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Monday, June 30, 2014

Watercolors and Journal Pages from my Colorado Visit

As promised, here's a selection of pages from my Watercolor Journal entries done during my visit to Colorado and the small paintings I did at Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater

The small watercolors of Red Rocks are available for purchase exclusively on Zatista.

Welcome to Golden, Colorado

While I was in Colorado recently for my niece's high school graduation I had the opportunity to spend a day on my own tooling around in my sister's car. I dropped her off early at her "Park-n-Ride" stop where she boards the bus that takes her into Denver to work, about a 20 minute ride.

Since it was early, I decided to drive to Golden, not far away and have breakfast there. The first thing that you see on approach to the city is the massive Coor's Brewery/Factory. Coor's is big in Colorado and really big in Golden. The town is surrounded by mountains - I would say actually that Golden is nestled in the mountains as they are up close and personal from every view. I enjoyed a cup of coffee and some bread thing or pastry (can't really remember - guess it wasn't all that memorable) and then walked around the town till the shops began to open, then browsed around for a while and snapped a few photos, drove a short distance to see the 12th Street Historic district homes and headed back to Arvada. Here's a few of the places and things I saw that day:

Places to visit near Denver, Colorado - and I did!

Magestic View Nature Center, Arvada, Colorado

Majectic View Nature Center - I visited here on my own one day while in Arvada.
The views are truly "majestic"! There are over 80 acres including a lake and
wetland areas, a beautiful demonstration garden, interpretive trails,
prairie grasses and many wildlife species.

Truly "Majestic"! views!!

Two Ponds National Wildlife Refuge

The day after my birthday Suzanne took the day off from work and we went walking at Two Ponds National Wildlife Refuge. It's a gorgeous natural area located within the town of Arvada, just outside the bustling city of Denver, Colorado. It's apparently the "smallest urban unit in the National Wildlife Refuge System, covering 72 acres and consisting of uplands, wetlands and 3 small ponds. (which made me wonder why it wasn't called Three Ponds?) and is located in Arvada, Colorado, a suburb of Denver. The Refuge habitat supports over 120 different species of birds and many plant communities and mammals." We had a gorgeous day, a bit on the warm side, but lovely and I snapped many photos of the views that were picture-postcard perfect!

I'll let the photos speak for themselves.

My sister Suzanne at Two Ponds Natural Wildlife Refuge.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Congratulations Maddie! My Trip to Denver, CO

Proud Mom Suzanne with Maddie and Sam
My niece Madison graduated from High School in May and I flew to Denver to attend the ceremony. You may remember that Bob and I were supposed to be in Ireland this summer and Maddie was disappointed that we were not going to be there as we had been when her sister Sam graduated. But, as you may also know, with Bob's colon cancer diagnosis in February (he's going into treatment #8 this week, with 4 more after that!) we had to postpone our plans and hence, I was able to go to Denver. Bob couldn't come with me because he was having chemo that week and needed to be at home.

My brother came too (sans spouse) so we were three siblings together without spouses for the first time in, well, forever! My sister's husband Bruce passed away 10 years ago, which brought a note of sadness to the event, that he couldn't be there to see his baby girl receive her accolades. His sister Marsha came to represent the Harrod family from Kansas and we all had a great time cheering Maddie on, telling stories, eating good food, drinking wine and sightseeing this gorgeous part of the country.

Graduation took place on Friday, May 23 on the beautiful Boulder campus of the University of Colorado which made an excellent backdrop for our photos. On the 24th we did some drive-by sightseeing of the area, stopping in lovely Evergreen, Colorado and ending up at dramatic Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater.

On Sunday, I got to celebrate my 65th birthday with my brother and sister and nieces and got phone calls from Bob, Chris, Jessica and Kyla, wishing me a happy day. Fred treated us all to a delicious brunch before he and Marsha headed off to the airport for their respective flights home.

Silliness always ensues when I'm with my sister Suzanne and her girls and this time was no exception. There is a yummy ice cream/candy store in their little town of Arvada called "Scrumptious" and as you will see, we were quite silly! My birthday ended with a generous scoop of the most delicious cup of made-on-the-premises ice cream that was to die for. Probably all that sugar made us loopy!

Here's my "photo essay" of our sightseeing travels around the Denver area - I'll follow this post with another and show you some of the watercolors I did during my stay, both in my journal and on paper. I spent some time by myself journaling and sketching and driving around both with Sam and with Maddie and with my sister Suzanne. It was a most excellent adventure!

Suzanne gave me a fun gift for my birthday - a class for both of us in making books! We learned Japanese Stab Binding and each made a small book to take home.

This is such a gorgeous area, I hope you enjoy!

Fun window shopping and lunch in Evergreen, Colorado
Driving around the area, the scenery is breathtaking!
Bear Creek in Evergreen, Colorado

Cactus Jack's Saloon and Grill on Bear Creek in Evergreen, CO.
We had fun listening and dancing from across the bridge
as a band played all our favorite oldies.
Fred, Suzanne and Me along the creek in Evergreen

Fred shooting the scenery at Red Rocks Park and Amphiteater

Maddie and Fred standing in front of the rock formations for scale!

Beautiful Red Rocks Park
Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater where you can sit under the stars and listen to a concert
Entrance to Red Rocks Amphitheater - seating is below, to the left,
reminded me of Roman or Greek amphitheaters! 
On my 65th Birthday - Maddie helping me show a 6 and a 5!

Sister Silliness at the ice cream/candy shop in Arvada called "Scrumptious" - it was!

In Denver they say, "if you don't like the weather wait 5 minutes."
After beautiful days, we suddenly had hail!
My Sammy - my niece, my sister's elder daughter. The writer.
At "Scrumptious" - Suzanne asked me how I liked my ice cream
and I said "It's Scrumptious!!" We all laughed.

There are no words. It's just plain silly. And fun.