Category Archives: Colorado living

Morphing into a Coloradoan

While half of my heart resides in my birth state of Minnesota and the other half resides in my adopted state of Wisconsin, I’m starting to feel more than a teensy bit “Coloradoan”. Hubs and I have now lived here more than a year, so it should come as no surprise that I’m feeling this way.

One of my impressions of those native to this state is that they look upon those of us non-natives with skepticism. Even sometimes with scorn. I get this as there has been a huge influx of transplants from other states moving to Colorado in recent years. The natives no doubt feel possessive of their beautiful, natural environment here. And they don’t want “posers” coming in to wreak havoc on their territory.

That said, and at the risk of coming off like a “poser”, I do believe that there are a number of  pieces of evidence that indicate I have indeed begun morphing into a Coloradoan.

Let’s start with Exhibit A:

20171018_103224
Check out the upper middle on plant on left side-a small, ripening tomato!

To prevent certain death from the frost that will undoubtedly come at some point this fall, Hubs aka the garden whisperer recently brought our pepper, basil, and tomato plants inside. I am simply delighted by this. I love the aroma of the basil, and seeing these plants thriving next to our big picture window in our small dining area. Hubs commented yesterday that he noticed a dude walking outside this window, who couldn’t help but peer in when noticing this foliage. Likely he assumed, at first glance anyway, that we were growing marijuana in our home. To be crystal clear, these are not marijuana plants. But it does amuse me that they could be, since growing them in your home is indeed legal in Colorado. 

Exhibit 2:

20171018_103111

Check out my snazzy hiking tennies! Hubs and I shelled out bigger bucks than we probably ever collectively have, on shoes anyway, when we purchased new hiking shoes at REI this summer. Because we are quasi Coloradoans now, we were compelled to invest in proper footwear to go hiking on one of the many dedicated open space paths or in Rocky Mountain National Park, which is just over an hour away from home.

Exhibit C1:

20170528_120138
Enjoying a sampler at O’Dells (?) in Fort Collins

As aspiring Coloradoans, Hubs and I have embraced the craft beer culture here. We have become, as my blogger friend CJ, has recently pointed out, “beer snobs”. I prefer to be considered a “beer nerd”, mind you, like our favorite beer pub owner and operator, Dave, refers to himself. It has a legitimacy to it, like we’re scientists or something, right? Thing is, there is a special type of camaraderie that happens when one visits one of the many brew pubs and gets to talking with the owner, bartender, and/or other customers  “beer nerds” about the complexity of the hops or the balance between hops and malt of whatever brew is being sampled amongst us. Plus, visiting these folks at these watering holes provides us with much information about things to do and places to see here in this beautiful, special, state.

And to further exemplify our status as “beer nerds” we have thrice brewed own our beer at home. First batch was the best, the second notsomuch, and the third was…something. Let’s just say it’s a work in progress.

Let me leave you with just one special thing about Colorado. Denver 9News’ The Next with Kyle Clark highlights the most Colorado thing seen on a given day. It is always fun to see what they come up with. Below is a good example. Enjoy!

The Most Colorado Thing We Saw Today

Practicing the 3 D’s

In the summer of 2016, Hubs and I had just moved to Colorado and settled into an apartment in Boulder while searching for a home to buy. We had decided prior to moving that I would take a break from paid employment. We didn’t determine how long this break would be, however.

We busied ourselves with the job of finding the right house, exploring the wonders of Boulder, and shopping for new furniture (we had a massive garage sale before leaving Wisconsin, greatly reducing the amount of stuff we had accumulated over the years).

Then once we found and moved into our new home at the end of August, we busied ourselves with unpacking boxes, finding the perfect placement for our new furniture and wall art, and familiarizing ourselves with life in our new townhome community.

Over the following several months, while starting this blog, joining a new church, settling in to a new weekly volunteer gig, and making new friends, I found myself referring to this period in my life as my “gap year”. And I wholeheartedly admit that I have milked this time for all its worth. If you find yourself financially able, unsatisfied professionally, and middle aged, I highly recommend taking a “gap year” to sort yourself out. 

The big epiphany here, for me right now,  is that my “gap year” is beginning to exceed it’s time limit. In other words, I have come to the conclusion that it is now time for me to expand my horizons. 

I’m going to start my job search, folks. In earnest.

Making this decision brings to mind words I found written in pastel colored chalk while on a morning walk in August 2016, while still living in Boulder.

Desire. Determination. Discipline.

I do believe these big and important words were submerged in my subconscious this past year. I had a great desire to pursue blogging. I had the determination to go ahead and start this blog. And I had the discipline to pen posts on a regular basis-3 times per week, with the exception of the weeks when we were out of town or hosting company in our new Colorado abode.

Now is the time for me to move these big, important words from my subconscious to my brain’s frontal lobe on a daily basis.

Do I have the desire to find employment? Yes.

Do I have the determination to find employment? Most certainly. In fact, once this post is published I will immediately be checking for jobs on Indeed.com. Fact is, my ulterior motive for creating this post is to enhance my personal accountability for this endeavor. 

Do I have the discipline to find employment? I like to think I do. I believe the fact that I’ve made the decisions to get my arse in gear, make a daily to-do list upon waking each morning, and then complete each task before the day is done (top on the list is searching for jobs and filling out applications), exemplifies my self-discipline.

 

Potential Pinterest Fail Project

images (44)

I present to you the owl I was hoping to make to display on my kitchen wall. I pinned this on one of those days last summer when I obviously had too much time on my hands. I thought it was cute and kitschy, and a great way to recycle those beer bottle caps I’d been saving.

This week, when I re-discovered this pin, I decided to actually read the instructions on how to create this spectacular  work of art. However, there were no actual instructions. 

But there was a list of items and tools needed for this project, which included the following:

  • Large metal lid-All my pot and pan lids are glass. May have to purchase used one at thrift store.
  • Medium metal lid-See above
  • Small metal lid-See above again. Duh.
  • Metal washer-I think those are little circular things used for stuff around the house. Check with Hubs.
  • Metal button-I ought to be able to find one around here somewhere.
  • Dessert spoon-What the fudge is this? Who has special spoons just for eating dessert? Not this broad.
  • Metal cutters-Ummm…not sure about this one..check with Hubs.
  • Vice-Well, my vice is chocolate. Not sure how that fits into this project. But I’m willing to try and figure it out. 
  • Pliers-No dental tools in this house. Maybe Hubs can come up with something?
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks-Now, I know for a fact I have glue sticks because I recently bought them to use on a far simpler project than this. But damned if I can find my trusty hot glue gun. Must make a run to Michael’s asap.
  • Cordless drill-Yay! Something I know we actually have in the garage.
  • Screws (optional)-I ought to be able to round a few of these up.
  • Slender tree branch (also optional)-We have plenty of trees in our neighborhood. Might need to get out the ladder to find just the right branch on the right tree though. Maybe Hubs will volunteer since I’m scared of heights?
  • Beer bottle caps-Certainly we have enough of these!

I would like my beautiful owl to look precisely like the pic I pinned. Which means I need green, silver, and white beer bottle caps. Problem is, we don’t necessarily like Heineken beer. We like craft beer, like what we find here in Colorado (though technically, Heineken is considered a craft beer, surprisingly enough). And our delicious craft beers do not all have green, silver, or white caps. Damn!

20170927_120519
Our beer bottle cap collection.

 

Hmmm…guess I could buy the estimated 18 cases of Heineken required and dump it down the sink. But what a waste of mediocre beer not to mention a huge waste of money. 

Maybe I could find a neighbor who regularly drinks Heineken. I know 3 of my neighbors so far. The odds are not with me on this. 

Oh, I could go and knock on all the neighbors doors, introduce myself, and ask them if they drink Heineken and if they keep all their bottle caps. I’ll explain to them my new art project and what it means to me. I’m sure they are all nice people and will help this gal out, right? 

If that doesn’t work, then I could put an ad on Craig’s list or on the Next Door neighbor app, pleading for donations of Heinekin beer caps.

This could take a while.

Thank you

Hubs and I recently received the best thank you note very possibly in the history of thank you notes. After reading it, I questioned aloud if responding to this thank you note with a thank you note could be a thing. Because this lovely sentiment was deserving of this.

The note was written by a woman named Elaine (name has been changed because I view her as a private, humble person who would not feel comfortable being gushed over). She, along with Hubs and I and 4 other members of our church, formed a small group which meets bi-monthly over a meal  as a support system for each other in our personal journeys as Christians and human beings. I love that it’s called the “Joy group”.

So earlier this month, Hubs and I hosted the first gathering of our “Joy group” at our townhome. It was the first time we’ve had this many people over since we moved to Colorado last August. Earlier in the day, whilst doing my best to get the house clean enough for company and preparing a few things for us all to nosh on, my neurotic brain worried that our townhome might be too small to accommodate everyone, or that I might do that thing I do where I get really nervous and talk too much.

While we were right on the edge of being too close for comfort, the amount of space for this gathering was workable. While at times I probably did a bit more blabbing than perhaps I should have, the evening ended up going very smoothly and I think that all had a good time.

Elaine’s thank you note was verbose, but in a really really good way. She started out by apologizing for “running way behind” on sending a thank you note. How sweet is that? We weren’t even expecting a thank you note-from her or anyone else for that matter.  We were appreciative that our new church friends were interested in spending time getting to know us, and really, that’s thanks enough in my book. She then commented that we had a “lovely house” and that she enjoyed chatting with everyone. Despite the fact that I was certain I bored everyone with too much detail (yes, I am on the verbose side too-shocker right?) about our two kids and our grandson and how much I adore them all to pieces, she commented in this note that it “sounds like you have raised a couple of unique and responsible daughters”. She then apologized for what she perceived as a “slight” for asking us if we were renting (to which I replied no, we bought this townhome-maybe my nerves made me come across slightly defensive?) . She explained that she asked this question based on her understanding that the housing market is “still pretty tight for buyers” (so this of course was a totally legit question). She then commented on how we have “created a beautiful house” and mentioned that we must be glad to have gotten rid of the red walls in our kitchen, which was a reference to when I complained about the ugly red walls that existed in our tiny kitchen when we first moved in, which we have since painted a muted tan/yellowish color. Way to be thoughtful, right?

So with a grateful heart I say to you, Elaine, thank you so very much. You are a good, kind, thoughtful woman whom I am glad to know.

Image result for images of thank you

The best things about living in Colorado

After living in Colorado for almost 9 months now, I am in the throes of falling in love with this state. Life is different here than anywhere else we have lived (which includes, in order: northern Minnesota,  central Minnesota, Lubbock, TX, way northern Minnesota -I could essentially see Canada from our rented cabin,  Wichita, KS, the Twin Cities, Holmen then La Crosse, WI, and now Colorado). I am blessed to have the rare opportunity, at least for the moment, to be unencumbered by the stress of paid, full time employment. This “unencumberedness” has gifted me with the ability to slow down and appreciate my new surroundings. And let me tell you, there is a lot to love about this new state that the hubs and I now call home. Below is my list of favorite things in this oh so colorful state:

  1. The scenery! I can literally walk to the edge of our townhome community and see the Rocky Mountains. To say they are spectacular is actually an understatement. As a bonus, the majority of the daytime the skies are blue and the sun is shining. And the skies at night are often stunning, particularly around sundown. The hubs has a Nikon and has taken some tremendous photos of said skies. Like this one: 20161205_070430

 

2) There are dogs everywhere! This is especially awesome for the canine lover in me. From Kevin and Bandit, our big, furry friends who live with our neighbors across the way, to the two sweet mutts who are the children of a nice young English guy we interacted with at our local watering hole, (Twenty Brew in Westminster), to the little fur ball named “Rhoda” who has the pleasure of living with a most wonderful older couple from our church, everyone seems to have a dog (or two). And dogs are also welcome in the most unlikely of places here. Example: I recently witnessed a large golden retriever taking a nap next to his human while he was at the customer service desk at Lowe’s (and no, he did not appear to be a service dog).

3) Easy access to great live entertainment. Since living here, we’ve gone to the Buell Theater in Denver to see “MoTown the Musical” which was amazing. We’ve gone to Boulder to see the band “Cake” at the Boulder Theater which was a crazy-good, rockin’ show. We went to Left Hand Brewery’s “Leftapalooza” event which featured cover bands of The Pretenders, The Who, and other classic rock bands. We have tickets to see Train with O.A.R. and Natasha Bedingfield at Fiddler’s Green Amphitheater in Englewood on the Fourth of July, which we are super stoked about. And we have Red Rocks, which is around an hour away from where we live. While we have been there to check the place out twice now, we have yet to see a concert there. But it is certainly on our list of things to do while we are living here!

4) Okay, here’s the elephant in the room: weed is legal here (both medical and recreational), which I deem to be a very good thing. I have seen documentaries in which regular people suffering from medical conditions who have told their stories about how medical cannabis has dramatically decreased their pain levels and increased their appetite so they could gain much needed weight. From what I understand, the legalization of weed has been quite a boon to the economy here as well, as a host of new jobs have been created as a result.

5) The Next with Kyle Clark on 9 news. This is my favorite news program. The stories are often of the human interest variety, but always specific to Colorado. I learn something new about this state every time I watch it. And that Kyle Clark is a good looking, smart, and witty guy a person might just like to have a beer and shoot the sh*&t with.

Snippet of Kyle Clark doing his thing

6)  That of course brings me to the beer. Specifically craft beer. After living here for 9 months, I very likely would be considered a “beer snob” by my old pals still living in Wisconsin. I’m good with that though. Our favorite local joint, Twenty Brew, serves up a rotating menu of Colorado craft beer. You can purchase 4 oz. tasters up to 16 oz. glasses of anything from Kolsch styles, a wide variety of IPA’s, Stouts, Lagers, and more. An added bonus here is that the bartenders, and sometimes other patrons, are always up for lively conversations. There are also numerous breweries within a short drive from our house, such as Westminster Brewing Company, Left Hand Brewing, 4 Noses, and Wild Woods (just to name a very few we have visited). The best ones have outdoor seating, where you can sit back and enjoy the beautiful scenery and sometimes catch some cool live music. Here’s hubs and I at Twisted Pines Brewery in Boulder (highly recommend-not only do they have great beer but the food is amazing). 20170409_122706 (1).jpg

7) The people! I love the friendships I have started to make here. There’s my new hairdresser, who is a spunky, hilarious, big hearted tattooed  and pierced mother of two who operates her business in the basement of her home. There’s my dynamic, artistically talented, kind and smart friend Tina, who I met through the “Meet Up” website. There’s the folks I volunteer with at FISH, a food pantry in Broomfield, through whom I am learning a lot about Colorado.

My ultimate goal for this summer, amidst a trip to see our beloved family and friends in Minnesota and Wisconsin, and a work related trip with the Hubs to D.C., is to experience more of what makes Colorado, well Colorado. And for those of you pronouncing it “Col-oh-rado”, I heard from a legit source (The Next’s Kyle Clark) that the natives pronounce it “Col-ah-rad-o”. A concert at Red Rocks just might be on the agenda. I will certainly keep you all abreast of our shenanigans in this uniquely wonderful state we now call home.

 

 

 

Home Sweet Home

While I do believe that Wisconsin and Minnesota are truly where my heart lives, and the hubs and I envision moving back to one of those states at some point in the future, I am good with life in Colorado. We moved here last summer, from what we referred to as our “Grandma House”, a simple ranch with beautiful hardwood floors, a great backyard and sweet 3 season porch, to a more modern 3 bedroom townhome smack dab between Denver and Boulder. Upon returning to our Colorado home last Friday after the most emotionally challenging  9 days of my life thus far (spent with aging parents in Minnesota), I have newfound interest and energy for sprucing up our townhome. The fact that the hubs had professional painters come in and paint our downstairs walls (which houses a small living room, dining room, kitchen and half bath) is a major inspiration for me as well.

That said, I’d like to do something a little fun here with this blog post. Hubs and I have lots of ideas for how to adorn our walls downstairs and soon we should be able to start making some purchases. I’ve taken pictures of the wall spaces that I believe need to be customized to reflect our lives here, right now. If I had to categorize our home decor style, I’d say it is “arts and crafts meets modern rustic”. I’m highly open to comments or suggestions people!

So without further ado….let’s begin!

20170427_102913

This is our dining area. The small framed mirrors were a find from a few years back, which I still love,  from Ikea. I really want to keep them right where they are. However, I think they need some color! I would like to tie in the hints of burgundy (or maroon, depending on how your eyes see it) somehow. I’m thinking possibly a thin dark wood shelf above the mirrors with some small basic tealight candles in just the right shade of burgundy/maroon.

20170427_102850

So here is our main wall in our little kitchen. Pretty boring right? It is such an improvement from the previous color, however, which was a wine/burgundy that made the space seem even smaller than it is. I like the idea of a beer theme here (Hubs and I are fans of Colorado craft beer) though I don’t want to go overboard. I have been saving bottle caps from beers we’ve enjoyed with the notion that some day I’m going to actually try one of the many Pinterest crafts I have saved. One idea I have is to superglue the bottle caps onto this clock that we both really love. We want this clock to stay where it is for sure. Then possibly put a couple of framed (black and white possibly) pictures of beer. Or else some small wood shelves on either side of the clock with tea light candles (beer scented-but that might be overkill).

20170427_102942

So this is a pic of the wall next to our entryway. I am in love with the placement of the peace sign, which I picked up on Pearl St. in Boulder shortly after moving here. And the peace lily is so beautiful and special, as it was a gift from my in  law’s for my 50th birthday. I just feel that the wall space needs a tad bit more color. Perhaps adding it by putting colorful ribbon on the peace sign? Not certain if I should mess with this or not.

20170427_103046

This is of course the fireplace wall. One thing Hubs and I have agreed on from Day #1 in this townhome is that the peach colored tile framing the fireplace is quite hideous and needs to go! Especially now with buttery yellow combined with chocolate brown on the wall above it. We do plan on having a beautiful picture of the Colorado sky,  which the Hubs recently took, blown up and framed with rustic looking wood for above the fireplace. The real dilemma for us here is how to re-face (is this the correct term? Not sure) the lovely (not) peach tile. We are thinking slate or stone, but have no knowledge of how to do it. I do have faith that once we figure that out, it will be something special.

I have more pics of my house I may share in the near future, but these are the areas I am most interested in updating at this moment in time. As I said earlier in this post, comments and/or suggestions are much appreciated! It’s time for this joint to become a real home for the two of us 🙂