Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Happy Birthday

...to me.

First, thanks to all of you who have already wished me Happy Birthday via phone, emails or comments on this blog.

I'm heading into my 74th year of living. For those with a mathematical mind, you immediately know that I am celebrating my 73rd birthday. Wow. I remember when anyone in their seventies was a really old person. No doubt to anyone under 30, I would look like a "grandpa". You know the type: thinning gray hair; saggy wrinkly skin; opinionated. Yup that would be me. Depending on the age of that person under 30, I could be a great grandfather. Really old and more wrinkled.

The only grand parentage I can claim is several grand pets. Since they have been neutered or spayed, there will be no great grand pets. :-)

Digging through the archive of photos that I inherited from my mother's diligent saving, here is a photo of me in first grade. Looks like the once missing front teeth are growing back. Still have them. With some minor repairs.

My formal education began at a country parochial two room school. There are few memories of those school days. One of those memories is about reading books. At the rear of the classroom was a book case of perhaps five or six shelves. To read those books, you received permission from Miss Alma (the teacher). She dutifully recorded your reading. At the end of first or second grade, I received an award for reading the most books. Considering Mom saved most everything, I wonder where that award went. There were times I could have used that award when applying for a job.

This 73rd birthday celebration began at Starbucks with my tea being free. Then it was off to do errands and grocery shopping. Had to get my birthday dinner: seared salmon, cucumber salad and cheese cake for dessert. In case you're wondering, I didn't eat the cheese cake crust. The cheese cake may not be paleo, but an occasional sin is allowed at this advanced age.

It was another great day as I was able to celebrate another milestone in life's journey.

What I actually celebrated was the anniversary of my birth. Since few were there at my birth, the usual happy birthday greeting is appropriate for those many others. Essentially, I am wished a belated happy birthday -- year after year. Okay. So it's just words.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

From The Archives

To quote Yogi Berra, "When You Come to a Fork in the Road, Take It!" 

From this T intersection, go left or right.

It was the same distance back to Cortez.

After completion of reconstruction on the road to the right, the highway department corrected the sign with the bright new arrow.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

From the Archives

This sign was at the entrance to a city park. Saw the sign at several points since there was a bike trail going through the park.

Sure doesn't appear to be friendly Welcome.

Thursday, July 25, 2013


Growing up in northern Wisconsin and living there until my mid twenties, the foods eaten were mostly locally grown -- and canned or frozen. There may have been some edible products shipped in from some warmer climate. However, it probably didn't get onto the table of my childhood home. It would have been unrecognizable as food and -- more than likely -- too expensive.

Chili is an example of one meal from my childhood. Nothing like any chili I've seen since. Mother started with ground hamburger, small amount of onion, lots of home canned tomato juice, kidney beans and elbow macaroni. A little chili powder. A little black pepper. With soda crackers, that's dinner. Essentially, it was chili soup.

A recent conversation with friends was about foods of our childhood. Essentially, we each ate "regional" foods or "ancestral" cooking. Most times it was based on locally available foods. Today, the foods we eat may have traveled a 1000 miles to get to our grocer's shelf or produce section.

Soon we were talking of individual food items. Time to relate that first artichoke. After university, my first job was in California. Introduction to the artichoke was at the home of a friend. The artichoke is boiled. Then pick off the leaves and dip in a seasoned mayonnaise. Then scrape the leaf across your teeth to extract the mayonnaise and the pulp on the leaf. Once all the leaves are gone, the heart of the artichoke is eaten after liberally applying the mayonnaise dip. Seemed to be a lot of effort for a little food.

Five decades later, no doubt an artichoke can be purchased at a grocery store in northern Wisconsin. Today after population movement and immigration, that northern grocery store will also have the ingredients for Asian cooking and Mexican dishes.

Although most foods are available in a grocer anywhere across the country, regional dishes and specialties remain. Fish boils are concentrated in northeastern Wisconsin. Pastys are quite popular in Upper Michigan. Booyah is another Wisconsin and Minnesota creation that can be found at community fund raising events.

Do you have memories of food from your childhood. Any regional or ancestral dishes that I might want to check out.

All this talk of food makes me think about the refrigerator -- just 15 feet away.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Reading The Sun Dial

Time for the annual hike with Joe. Favorite place for Joe and easy driving from Denver is Roxborough State Park.

Once at the parking lot, Joe and I grabbed our trekking poles and the first stop was at the visitor's center to check on mountain lion sightings. Yes. There were recent sightings. At our late start, I doubt that we would see the mountain lion. Only humans are out hiking in the sun.

For those able to read Roman numerals and can read a sun dial, our late start is recorded with this photo. The sun dial is outside the visitor's center.

Note: The sun dial records daylight time. No one has set this dial forward for the summer hours.

Should have taken another photo of the sun dial after the hike. Blew that. Actually, I would have been embarrassed to post the time. That would be especially bad considering the short distance we hiked. The reason being is that Joe is considerably older than me. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. 

After the hike, it was off to nearby Sedalia for lunch at Compadres.

Great lunch. Good hike. Caught up with Joe and his life. It was a great day.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Sunset Cloud

West is where the sun sets. However, sometimes looking east at sunset is where the good photos are found. Looking east this evening is when I found the moon rising over the clouds reflecting the setting sun rays.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Long Lake Hike

I've been walking neighborhoods just to get some exercise. However, there have been few hikes in the mountains. Long time Boulder friends Donna and RC begged (not really) me to join them for a hike at Brainard Lake Rec Area. With lots of choices for hikes when we arrived, we opted for the short loop around Long Lake.

Starting the hike, it was mostly clear skies. Some of the clouds looked like rain.

However, with rain gear in our packs we were up to the possibility of getting wet. Returning in the rain is better than heading out in the rain. Actually that would not have happened. If it was raining at the trail head we would have not gone on a hike.

The water was running high and along the trail there were several muddy sections attesting to the recent rains. With little sun and the moist air, the mosquitoes were sucking blood every chance they could get. Sorry. No photos of the blood draw.

With lots of mushrooms that I identified as little brown jobbers, here are just some of the many along the trail.

All along the trail and along the streams there were wild flowers. With an overcast sky it was a great day for wild flower photos. Here are just two photos from the many that I took.

At less than a mile from the trail head where we started, the skies turned gray. With lightening and thunder, we were sure to get wet if we stayed out there for too long. Might be a good time to get off the trail and into the car. That is when I remembered the lottery odds: you have a better chance of getting hit by lightening than winning the lottery. Time to move along.

Off the trail and loaded our hiking gear in the car and started back to Donna and RC's house for dinner. Less than a half mile on the road and the rain was falling. It rained most of the way back to Boulder.

No lightening strike to write about. We were dry at the end of the hike. It was a good day for a hike.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Mushroom Weather

The recent almost daily rains and high humidity of the past week meant there were mushrooms growing in the landscaping of the nearby shopping center. Of the three varieties I saw, this was the most photogenic. Some little brown jobbers were about an inch high and deep in the grass.

The only place I pick mushrooms is in the grocery store produce section.

Not sure if the variety in the photo was edible. May have been edible with butter. But would I have survived to tell others about the mushroom found in the shopping center parking lot.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Equine Memories

On July 15th, 98 years ago, my dad was born in a very different time. Horses were transportation -- when you didn't walk. Planes were still a novelty and cars were yet to be a part of my dad's life. He was just a youngster when grandpa acquired his first car.

Growing up on a small farm with his two siblings, it was walking about a mile to the public school. Walking to school a mile away was normal unless there was a ride with grandpa delivering milk to the cheese factory.

Time moves on and Dad had trained one of his father's draft horses for riding. In this photo at the age of 21 in 1936, dad had ridden to my Grandpa Reinie's farm and my mother or Grandma Jo took this photo. Probably my mother took the photo.

Shortly after Mom and Dad married they took over Grandpa's farm. King and Dick were black percherons providing the farming horse power in 1947 when dad bought a tractor -- an International Harvester Model H. It was powerful enough to handle the farm loads. The percherons were sold.

Fortunate for me, Dad never lost his love for horses. So when a 14 year old kid wanted a horse, soon there was a horse added to the farm. Don't know how much I rode, but it was Dad and me that rode the horse. My siblings had no interest.

Horses were one of Dad's many interests. Tinkering, thinking and inventing to make life easy is the way I remember Dad.

Dad lived to the age of 90. Get out of Wandrin Lloyd's way. With those genetics, at that age I will still be driving Silver Slug towing Wandrin Wagon. You've been warned.

Western movies and TV shows were a part of my upbringing and the cowboy myth was deeply instilled in this brain to the point of belief. Then there is reality. I share that reality in the Shattered Myth.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Sculpture of Ravens

Throughout the city of Loveland Colorado, sculptures can be seen at many intersections or in the city parks. The Benson Sculpture Garden on 29th has the largest concentration of sculptures. In some cases the landscaping has grown around the sculpture hiding the beauty of the work. What do I know. Perhaps that is what the artist wanted.

There are over 100 sculptures in the ten acre park surrounding a pond. Each time I go through the park, I always come away with The Ravens as my favorite. This is the 2013 photo.

A slightly overcast day is a perfect time to take a walk and get good photos without too many shadows on the sculptures.

Click here to see photos of the sculpture collection in the park.

Saturday, July 13, 2013


Cloudy days and rain has been a daily treat. The monsoon moisture flow from the southwest has provided the Front Range of Colorado with rains for several days. The rains take the edge off the high temperatures. Some lightening and thunder for drama and it is good for a nap.

One of these days, I may actually get a photo of a sunset with clouds. Seems the sunset is all clouded over or the clouds clear by sunset leaving a clear sky. Need some broken clouds for good sunset photos.

That said, this is what the western skies over the mountains looked like this evening:

Writing about weather is easy. Nothing can be done about it. It is what it is.

An hour later at 8:30, clearing over the mountains to the west produced this photo:

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Neighborhood Walk

Time for a walk to get some exercise, I walked that 44th and Tennyson neighborhood in Denver. First photo stop was the Oriental Theater. Opening in 1927, it was the same year for the first "talkie" -- The Jazz Singer.

 Micro breweries have been around for a couple of decades. Seems now you can make your own liquors. I would have gotten the details if the place was open when I walked by. Going to have to go back some afternoon to get the full story.

A wrought iron fence creates an interesting and playful pattern on the sidewalk.

Walking along, I noted in an antique store window there were items dating to my childhood. Perhaps not antiques. Maybe just collectibles for someone. Not me.

Checking out the inside of the store, it seemed that about half the store was for toys of all kinds and vintage. Lots of Hot Wheels in original boxes. Model cars from the 1950s. There were farm toys -- tractors and farm implements. Too bad I didn't hang onto some of those items. One item that I remember having as a kid had a price tag of $35. Not sure that would have been worth keeping all these years.

Then I noticed these spinning tops. This collection was of varying vintages. The sight reminded me of the humming top that was at my grandfather's house. It was something to entertain us kids while the folks did chatted. Perhaps there were other toys at his house, but that humming top is the only thing I remember.

Some buildings had murals. Had to pass on the murals because of the cars parked at the curb. Found one where I was able to get a photo of a section of a larger mural. Cars weren't blocking it this time. It was trees.

Nice walk and nice recollections. It was a great day.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Pedestrian Crossing

...or is it a deer crossing.

Oh dear me! There is much to wonder about the signage. The caution sign shows a deer. According to the sign, there is only a single pedestrian to watch for. While I stopped to take the photo, I searched the area and saw neither that single pedestrian or a deer.

Note: This is from my photo archives.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Fourth of July

In bed this morning at four o'clock there were early celebrations. Considering the nearby fireworks stand, I wondered momentarily if there was an arson attack. Whatever it was, the celebration was short lived.

Wonder what happened to Independence Day as a celebration. Appears the holiday is now the Fourth of July. Abbreviating it even further, it is the Fourth. Much of that is courtesy of the media. Also reduces the number of letters on grocery ads promoting the traditional grill items "now on sale": bratwurst, hamburgers and hot dogs.

Sure is no longer Independence Day. With the recent NSA revelations, seems the USA citizenry has traded independence from England in 1776 to the US government agencies snooping into private lives without any consent of the governed. Additionally, enacting laws without citizen consent seems to be the norm for most laws passed by the federal and state government legislatures.

On that less than happy note, it is time for my afternoon social hour celebration.

As a result of those comments, this post will be passed around the federal agencies. Shortly after that I will be declared a person of interest. It's a good thing I have no intention to do plane travel since my name will undoubtedly appear on the "no fly" list.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Tasty Recall

Yum. The familiar aroma of sugar, chocolate and the fat. Begin by breaking of the Old-Fashioned Chocolate doughnut into bite sized pieces. The tactile sticky oily sense on the fingers. Place a bite in the mouth. Feels good on the tongue. The first taste of sweetness. The taste is sweetness and chocolate and an oily feel. With some texture, it was a pleasure chewing to release the sugars and chocolate. A little balance of flavors, but mostly sweetness, it was very enjoyable.

That wasn't at a recent visit to Starbucks. I was just reliving a past experience as I stood in line to get tea. That last Starbucks Old-Fashioned Chocolate doughnut was a year and a half ago. However, all the senses involved in the enjoyment could be relived within my mind. It was delicious -- and satisfying.

It was a great visit to Starbucks to have my usual tea. Plain. No milk. No sugar.

Discovery of my body's gluten intolerance meant the end of those doughnuts or any pastry. Or breads. Or pasta. Life is great without pain.

Forget the gluten free products. After removing husk and vitamins from the wheat, what chemical process was used by the industrial food conglomerates to remove the gluten.

After living for a year and a half without any grain derived products, there is a tasty world of meats, vegetables and fruits containing all the calories I need.

According to the Starbucks web site, the ingredients for the Old-Fashioned Chocolate doughnut:
sugar, enriched wheat flour bleached (flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), palm oil, water, nonfat milk, cocoa processed with alkali, maltodextrin, egg yolk, soybean oil, soy flour, corn starch, leavening (sodium acid pyrophosphate, baking soda, monocalcium phosphate, sodium aluminum phosphate, aluminum sulfate), dextrose, salt, cottonseed oil, food starch-modified, propylene glycol, natural flavors, soy lecithin, mono- and diglycerides, caramel color, agar, calcium sulfate, potassium sorbate (as preservative), citric acid, wheat starch, locust bean gum, guar gum, disodium phosphate, polysorbate 60.
Nuff said!