Joined January 2016 Message
  • Day 7 and beyond

    March 27, 2019 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 11 °C

    Thoughts and impressions.
    • I had a great time and it will take a few more trips till I’m used to the masses of people, xpressways, and cars. I’m a little too used to my “suburban” surroundings. The culture shock should disappear after a few more visits. Gee, if only I had loved going to Chicago growing up. (Although Denver doesn’t have a very good mass transit system compared to other major metro places I’ve visited: DC, Boston, Chicago.)
    • Everywhere we went we took highways and they always seemed to be crowded, even early weekend mornings. Rach said that people go to the mountains on the weekends beginning before 6:30 am and roads get packed fast. I will just have to get used to waiting in traffic and being patient. I’m also a nervous rider with anybody, even with my friend Linda here in EL. I think it’s because of the way I drive my Volt. First, I drive in low so I don’t have that feeling of power when driving. Second, I do a lot of coasting instead of using my brakes to stop, which is not the way normal car drivers drive. Everything just seems to go very fast when I’m riding in other cars.
    • The airport is a ways out of town and north of Arvada where they live so you have to go through heavy traffic going through/by Denver no matter if morning or evening drive time. It did only take us about 35 minutes on Monday at 9 am when she dropped me off.
    • Everywhere I looked there were tons of apartments and duplexes (oh, so many) and a good number of condo or retirement communities. There are abundant shopping venues/malls no matter where we went; so, having quick access to food, gas, etc. will not be a problem.
    • Rachel reached out to her Wellesley community asking about gyms and retirement communities. I’ve got some really great leads on gyms, with the nearby YMCA offering a bunch of classes (although some may be at their other 4 locations) as well as a free 3 day trial membership that I hope to try next time.
    • One of the Wellesley alums is a realtor and has offered to take me around to retirement communities. After some significant moaning on my part about being put out to pasture in a retirement community allowing me easy transition from independent living to assisted to nursing home, it seems R was just very concerned that I’d be extremely lonely and the social community would be nice. For the time being, I’m interested in looking at ranch type condos or townhouses or duplexes with a garage within about 10 -15 minutes of Nachel’s place WITHOUT using an expressway. If it’s a retirement community, that’s ok but I’m betting that’s more expensive. I’m going to look more during 1 of my upcoming visits.
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    Thanks for sharing your great pics, Lin!! Trip sounds so fun-filled -- I can't wait to go. Their apt looks very nice too.

  • Day6

    Day 6 - Tues., Mar 26

    March 26, 2019 in DR Congo ⋅ ⛅ 34 °C

    1. Since Rachel had a 2 hour employment prep appointment at the hospital at 11 and my flight was at 3:40, I opted to have R drop me off at the airport before hand. I used my United club pass to chill in the lounges there. I had breakfast of fresh fruits, oatmeal, and sundry pastries/breads. Then I charged my devices while re-reading “The Hobbit” on my kindle. For lunch I had baja chicken “soup” and cheddar/broccoli soup and crackers and mini brownies. There was a salad bard and bread stuffs but I chose to just eat the fattening stuff.
    2. All my flights arrived early and after a 2+ hour layover in Chicago, I was home and in bed by 11:30 pm.
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  • Day5

    Day 5d-March 25 - flagstaff summit

    March 25, 2019 in DR Congo ⋅ ⛅ 30 °C

    3. Then we drove up a very winding road to get to the top of Flagstaff Mountain Lookout. We got as close as we could to the top before the road was closed. So we walked up the last half mile to the top and had some nice vistas to take pictures of and just sit and ponder. Rachel had us a do an exercise where we focused on something and shared our thoughts.
    4. Nick showed us around UD-Boulder campus and then we walked the pedestrian mall in Boulder, more of what I envisioned a pedestrian mall to be like. We did look for some snowboarding gloves for R but even though there were end of the season discounts, we couldn’t find something she liked for the right price. I did buy R some wool walking sox at Mont-bell and R got a membership which gives discounts at some bar, I think. (The kids are going snowboarding in Whistler on Tues- Thur, staying at an airbnb.)
    5. We met Katie at 7:15 at a Boulder gluten free restaurant, Fresh Thyme Eatery, and enjoyed some good food and company. Katie is fellow student from Cape Town who now lives in Chicago; we had dinner with her our last night in Cape Town. R and I shared a protein and 2 sides: pork chili, lentil salad, and ??? salad. Nick got a large Mac Attack with chicken and pesto.
    6. Home by 9 pm and off to bed soon thereafter.
    pix: flagstaff summit views
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  • Day5

    Day 5a-March 25

    March 25, 2019 in DR Congo ⋅ ☁️ 31 °C

    1. Dana had given us some ideas of where to hike since we seemed out of steam for any advanced, uphill hikes. So the plan was to do Flatirons (level hike on the plains) and Flagstaff Mountain (drive to the top and walk around there); both in Boulder where we were meeting Katie Loeb (??) for dinner. So that’s what we did.
    2. We first did the Flatiron Loop Trail which is about 2.5 miles long. It was flat traveling and afforded a few shots of snow-covered mountains in the distance. (NB: most mountains were not snow covered at all but on the north sides there were a few smatterings of snow.)
    Pix 1-6 apartment: living room, dining, kitchen
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  • Day4

    Day 4b-Sun mar 24 - lookout mtn pix

    March 24, 2019 in DR Congo ⋅ 🌧 28 °C

    4. Off to Table Mountain where we hiked the North trail. It was pretty crowded there with respect to parking so we had to park probably ¼ mile down the highway from the trails. It is a 3.5 mile loop (or is it 1.5 miles?) with the gradual side being 3 (or 1 miles??) miles long and the steep side 0.5 miles long. Of the 3 ratings for hikes, the steep side is rated “advanced”. Since time was limited, we did the steep side and got to the top in a whopping 20 minutes, even with a very long 5 minute rest for me within 50 feet of the top. It seemed like forever to go back down (especially if it was just 1 mile) but we did make it. Along the way Rachel (and the rest of us) passed Peyton and his wife, but we didn’t know it; just her.
    5. By the end of the hike, I had done 19,500 steps and Rachel had done over 20,000 steps. Were our feet tired??? Yes, they were!!!
    6. On the way back we stopped at a King Sooper (part of Kroger chain) but not the one within walking distance of her home). It seemed to me like a Whole Foods sorta in that they had a soup bar, classy cheeses and a swanky produce section.
    7. While Nick prepared dinner, R and I went to the Arvada “old town” area, where Rachel, Nick, and Dana had previously rode their bikes to for a chocolate fundraiser; I definitely want to come next year for this event. We stopped at the most popular shop on that fundraiser and bought breakfast for our Monday hikes: Rheinlander Bakery. I got a Danish, R got an almond “Danish”, and we bought Nick something that looked like a giant butter cream filled cannoli.
    8. Nick made his famous lasagna but we didn’t have time to actually make a sauce so that was bought. We picked up some day old bakery brownies and Dana brought a healthy salad.
    9. After dinner, the four of them played euchre and I sat next to Rachel doing a little advising because she is trying to master the game. That night she won both sessions with Henry as her partner; she had never won before.
    Pix 1-3 Lookout mtn views
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  • Day4

    Day 4a-Sun, Mar 24

    March 24, 2019 in DR Congo ⋅ 🌧 28 °C

    1. Rach and I had our usual breakfast of oatmeal. Our plan was to get out fairly early to hike at Lookout Mtn so that we could be home in time to host Dana and Henry for dinner.
    2. We set out and first stopped at the visitor center which wasn’t open for about 15 more minutes. It was colder than we anticipated up here. We walked over to the adjacent Boettchler mansion (closed on weekends) and walked around it. Then to the visitor center and found out the trails were snow/ice covered and recommending crampons or yak trax for the shoes and definitely hiking shoes (which I didn’t bring this trip due to a suitcase full of GS cookies – lol).
    3. Anyway, then we had to figure out what to do. We decided we’d do Table Mountain which had been one of our choices to begin with. But on the way down from Lookout we stopped to see the Buffalo Bill exhibit and gravesite. It was pretty cool and he certainly seemed like a cool guy. (He’s the one with the wild west shows and Annie Oakley; I know Dan knows all this.)
    pix 1-5 Boettchler mansion, Lookout mtn, Buffalo Bill site; 6-table mtn
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  • Day3

    Day 3a-Sat, mar 23

    March 23, 2019 in DR Congo ⋅ 🌧 30 °C

    1. Rach and I got up and went off to feed Dana (Rachel’s high school friend and bridesmaid) and Henry’s 4 chickens and see their home. Rach fed the cat and retrieved 3 eggs from the coop. When we got back to the apt, Nick made a brunch of bacon and omelets and toast. We were a little behind schedule at this point because we were supposed to meet Miriam downtown Denver at 2 but we let her know and it all worked out.
    2. We set off for downtown and traffic was very congested for, in my mind, a Saturday afternoon trip into the city. We weren’t really sure where the place was that we were to meet Miriam so we had to call her. We finally met on a corner near the Cambodian art exhibit she wanted to see. [Miriam was in town for the Association of Asian Studies conference of Asian; she presented at the conference. She also had seen the kids on Wed. night, probably in town since she didn’t have wheels.] The art exhibit was quite interesting and sorta like a collage. There were only about 10-12 items and they were like a story board, depicting many things, much having to do with the Khmer Rouge genocide.
    3. After that we drove a few blocks away to just outside Coors baseball stadium on Blake Street. We then (all 4 of us) walked over to the 16th Street 1 mile pedestrian mall (i.e., the street is blocked off to traffic, except for free shuttle bus up and down the street). While it had potential to have a lot of interesting, touristy shops, it seemed like it was mostly chain type stores. At the end, we stopped at a Starbucks to rest our feet and try to get warmish. Our meter was running out (only 2 hours allowed) and we wanted to get to the Blake Street Tavern to meet up with the MSU alumni club to watch the game.
    4. Luckily, we were able to find free parking right in front of the Tavern. While it isn’t the office MSU bar, the alumni club comes here often (I am a lifetime member of MSU Alumni Assoc.). (Blake Street Tavern, about 1 long block from Coors Stadium, hosts alumni events for MSU, ASU, IU, Creighton, NW, Notre Dame, UCF, UD, USC, Wichita State. Also: Redskins, Patriots, and Seahawks.)We were too late to get into the large room where they were unless we’d be willing to stand but got put into the MSU overflow room and quickly got a great table.
    5. The kids got drinks and we 1st ordered a large pretzel appetizer. Then R and I split a reuben with some kind of chili verde fries and Nick got his own Reuben. We hooted and groaned with everybody and left as soon as game was over.
    Pix: 1-4 Blake Street Tavern
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