Friday, June 23, 2017

Pearl Street...

One of my favorite neighborhoods here in Denver is the Pearl Street area, and not just because Kaos, my favorite beer garden/pizza parlor (seen in the photograph above), is located in the center of it.  Pearl Street is a mixture of businesses and Victorian residences, with a few million dollar duplexes thrown in for good measure.  In addition to Kaos and a number of other restaurants and shops, there is a sushi place on the corner that has a line to get in that goes around the block.  It is one of the few places here where I have seen Ferrari and Maserati automobiles being dropped off on a regular basis with the valet.  All just wanting to get a taste of dead, raw fish.  Enjoy, guys!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

A Ritchie Center Kind Of Sunset

I spent a rare evening at home yesterday - the first day of summer - which I believe is the longest day of the year.  And as long as I was home, I decided to take the above photograph of the University of Denver's Ritchie Center from the balcony of my condo.  Once again (Yes! Again!) it shows a beautiful Colorado sunset coming just after a day when the temperature reached 98 degrees.  It seems everybody in Denver is complaining about the heat.  The only person I met who wasn't complaining was a lady I delivered groceries to this week who recently moved here from New Orleans.  She likes the weather here just fine, especially compared to the humidity hell that is New Orleans.  At least in Stuart, Florida you have the ocean breezes. New Orleans just has alligator filled swamps.  Which is not to say it isn't lovely there, especially if you happen to like humidity.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Happy Summer Solstice!

Today is June 21st, the first day of summer, and to celebrate this wonderful event, I stopped at Washington Park after work yesterday  to enjoy the late afternoon atmosphere at that Denver landmark.  Everyone was jogging, walking their dogs, just hanging out, and even canoeing (see photograph above), taking advantage of the nice warm weather.  It has turned hot here in Denver,  and is predicted to reach 97 today.  Of course, it is predicted to hit 120 degrees in Phoenix, so I guess we can't complain.  I can just imagine what the temperature will be in Phoenix in August.  Of course, it is a dry heat, so 150 degrees in Phoenix is like 70 degrees in New Orleans.  So no problem.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Nerd Night!

As I mentioned in yesterday's Blog, I decided on the spur of the moment to go to the Colorado Rockies - San Francisco Giants game this past Friday night.  I arrived fairly early, early enough to get the free promotional hat being given out.  For the life of me, I could not figure out what the hell the hat was supposed to be.  It came with it's own blond hair, as you can see from me modeling it in the above photograph.  Was the Coca Cola Company just playing a joke on the fans, seeing what ridiculous thing they could get them to wear?  I looked it up later, and I found it was Jon Gray hair hat night. Jon Gray is a Rockies pitcher, and he evidently has hair like that attached to the baseball cap.  And so what I want to know is, is this a good look for me?  Should I wear this cap to work every  day?  Or do I just look like a nerd - a super nerd?  Don't answer that.

Monday, June 19, 2017

The View From The Cheap Seats

On the spur of the moment, I decided to go to the Colorado Rockies - San Francisco Giants game at Coors Field in Lower Downtown Denver Friday night, and found that the cheapest seat was a "general admission" seat on the party deck for $22.  It was more than I wanted to pay, but you got a food credit of $6 with the ticket, so in effect it came with a free beer.  You were allowed to sit in sections 310 to 314.  I chose 314, which was a big mistake. The section was filled with 20 somethings, and they either did not understand or did not care where they were allowed to sit.  I spent most of the evening trying to watch the game as hundreds of fans walked past me, forced to move to different seats or else going down to get food, beer, more food, more beer, etc.

It really wasn't all that awful, however. The view of the game wasn't bad, and the view of the sunset was great (see photograph on the left).  And the Colorado Rockies, who are in first place and are already thinking playoffs, won the game against San Francisco. It wasn't easy, however. The closing pitcher gave up a couple of runs in the 9th inning, and the Rockies won the game by a score of 10 to 8, by the skin of their teeth.  Pennant fever has taken hold in Denver, but will the pitching hold up through September?  I'm afraid my crystal ball is out of order, but if recent history is taken into account, don't bet the farm.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Happy Father's Day!

I uploaded the above photograph of my father Nelson and myself in the backyard of our house in the South Side Chicago neighborhood of Brainerd a few years ago, but as far as I can tell, never used it.  It brings back many happy memories of living in that house and that neighborhood.  I really admired and loved my father, a decent, kind man who did his very best for his family, and who worked for most of his life as a dentist, a job he detested.  He passed away at the early (to me) age of 74, but was able to live for 7 years down in Stuart, Florida, where he could play golf every day and finally enjoy life.  I am very happy that he was able to do that.  Happy Father's Day everyone!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

The Esplanade

I took the above photograph of The Esplanade - which runs between City Park and Colfax Avenue - the other morning after I parked my car at the garage next to the local Denver Bookstore where I work as the bookkeeper.  East High School can be seen on the right, quiet now that school is out and summer is just over the horizon.  Denver is a very pretty city, with many parks and greenspaces and parkways, not to mention old, tree-lined neighborhoods throughout the city.  In recent years it has also become quite unaffordable, and I read somewhere it had become the most expensive city in the country between  the two coasts.  The good with the bad, I guess.  And we can't send all those Californians back at this point.  Or can we?

Friday, June 16, 2017

Unnatural Acts

The Action Center in Lakewood, Colorado holds the "Beautiful Junk" sale every March and October at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds, and I make a point of showing up for the last hour of the sale, when you can buy a shopping bag full of books for $10.  There always seems to be a lot of  Stuart Woods paperback mysteries available, and so after I grab everything I really want, I grab some of these to round out the bag.  I was waiting to get some books from the library that I had requested, and so in the meantime decided to give Unnatural Acts, a Stone Barrington mystery,  a try.  I have read other Stuart Woods mysteries before and I must say they are nothing extra - not horrible, but nothing you would put a request into the library for. Unnatural Acts was okay - it passed the time, and was a quick read, but once again nothing extra.  And happily, the Denver Public Library called yesterday to tell me that Little White Lies, the new Spenser mystery by Ace Atkins (picking up where Robert Parker left off after passing away) is ready to pick up. Now that is something to look forward to.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Baseball Nostalgia

The Colorado Rockies are in first place and pennant fever is strong in Denver.  That is all well and good, but these days I think I prefer minor league baseball to the major leagues.  The seats are much cheaper, you are much closer to the action, you can park right next to the stadium, and they always have a lot of fun promotions every inning.  One of my favorite minor league ballparks is Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Florida, home of the single A Jupiter Hammerheads and Palm Beach Cardinals.  I took the above photograph of my mother Mary one summer evening when I was visiting my mother down in Stuart, Florida. She wasn't all that crazy about baseball, but was always a good sport and would go to the game with me when I was down there.  A great way to spent a pleasant Florida evening.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

An Inland San Francisco?

I was walking back to my car after visiting the Art Student's League of Denver's Summer Art Market this past Sunday afternoon and took the above photograph of The Rosebud Cafe (must be some kind of Citizen Kane reference).  The Rosebud is located in a tree-lined neighborhood of old Victorians and trendy new apartments.  The population seems to be on the young side, and you can feel the vibrancy of the place.  It reminded me a lot of those little neighborhoods in San Francisco with all the inviting Victorian homes and fun little business districts.  It is certainly much cheaper to live here than in San Francisco, but unfortunately I recently read that  Denver is the most expensive city in the country between the two coasts.  More than Santa Fe, New Mexico?  Unbelievable.  Who would have thunk it?  But I must say, I have lived in Denver for 36 years now, and while real estate prices have gone up like this in the past, they have always come down again.  Always.  So my advice to prospective buyers is to wait a while, buy low, and then sell high, instead of the other way around.  Just call me a financial genius.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

More On The Annual Summer Art Market...

This past weekend, for the first time in several years,  I was able to attend the Art Student League of Denver's annual Summer Art Market. one of the first big art festivals of the season here in Denver, and it is one of my favorites.  The art is very good, the prices are reasonable, and it takes place at 2nd and Grant Streets in one of Denver's nicest neighborhood.  The streets are tree-lined and filled with old Victorians, and there are nice little cafes and coffee shops scattered around the area.  It is also only a short distance from downtown.  How great is that?  And no, despite the reasonable prices, I did not buy any artwork.  Not only do I not have a place to hang any more paintings, I am on a tight budget these days, and art is not on it.  Plus I am a cheapskate. What more can I say?  In any case, be sure to check out the Art Student's League of Denver's website at

Monday, June 12, 2017

Best of Show? Congratulations Joe!

This weekend was the Art Student's League of Denver's Summer Art Market, and through a lucky scheduling break at my part-time job at a local grocery store, I was able to attend. And a mainstay at the festival is Joe, my friend and former University of Denver Bookstore colleague, who once again had  a booth displaying his artwork.  Joe teaches printmaking at the Art Student's League of Denver two days a week, works at the DU Bookstore another two days a week, and spends the rest of his time working on his artwork. The photograph on the left is the photograph I was originally going to use for this Blog, since it shows a bit of Joe's artwork.  Joe wanted to make sure, however, that I included the plaque on the right side of the photo.

The plaque has his name on it, and I thought that was the only reason he wanted it in the photograph.  It wasn't until I uploaded the photo that I actually read it. And what it says is "Best of Show, Joe Higgins, Summer Art Market 2017."   Wow! Congratulations Joe!  What a great honor!  If I had known he had received this honor from the beginning, I would have cropped the photograph as it is on the right.instead.  Joe is, of course, a great artist, but I have to wonder if the artistic atmosphere of the University of Denver Bookstore had a great deal to do with inspiring his art?  After all, look at me.  In any case, I'll have to ask him about that the next time I see him.  And be sure to check out Joe's website at

Sunday, June 11, 2017

A Shout Out To Donovan!

I ran into my old University of Denver Bookstore colleague Barry and his wife Mary at the local Denver grocery store where I work part-time the other night.  We caught up on what we have been doing as I packed their groceries into shopping bags.  Barry mentioned that Donovan, who left the DU Bookstore to become head of computer sales at the Auraria Bookstore (which serves the University of Colorado Denver, Metropolitan State University, and the Community College of Denver) had been laid off.  He evidently moved up the ladder at the university, and soon after he was hired, his department was eliminated.  I know I tend to whine a bit about the treatment of the DU Bookstore employees by the University of Denver when we were outsourced, but I guess many if not most universities are just the same - trying to cut costs and eliminate staff to increase revenue.  It seems a shame universities feel they have to operate the same way a major corporation does, but when the Board of Trustees are made up of business executives, what can you expect?  In any case, I took the above photograph of Donovan and Tristy, the DU Bookstore's former Director, back when we still all worked there.  Donovan is wearing his "interview" suit, and I believe this was one of the rare times when Tristy was not wearing makeup.  Good luck Donovan.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

The Mummy Returns! To Colfax!

The City of Denver is building a new recreation center at the northeast corner of Colfax and Josephine, just a block away from the local bookstore where I work as the bookkeeper.  As I was walking past the construction site, I couldn't help but notice that a large poster advertising the movie The Mummy has been placed on the construction barrier along Colfax.Avenue.  Just what "the longest, wicked street in America" needs - an infestation of mummies.  When all those damn zombie movies and television shows become popular, Denver was soon overrun with zombies.  They even have their own day every October.  Now, in addition to zombies, we will probably be seeing all kinds of mummies running up and down Colfax, inspired by that new Tom Cruise film.  Perfect.  We already have street people using the bathroom at the bookstore to shave and groom themselves.  Now we will have mummies in there re-wrapping themselves every day. Such is life in Denver.

Friday, June 9, 2017

A U-Hills Kind Of Sunset

I took the above sunset photograph after I finished delivering the final grocery order of the evening to a car in the parking lot of the local Denver grocery store where I work part-time.  It reminds me of the sunsets we used to see out of the windows of Hatch's Bookstore at the University Hills Mall, which was located on this very spot back when I first came to Denver from Chicago in 1981.  I was manager of that store from March of 1981 through the summer of 1984, when I started working for the University of Denver Bookstore.  And yes - sunset photographs are a cliche, but I like cliches.  So there.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

A Pick List Conundrum

I was sent several photographs from my grocery store co-worker Barb of her and another co-worker, Marty, wearing yellow rain slickers and soaked to the gills, taken after making grocery deliveries to customers in the parking lot on a particularly rainy night.  Marty says they look like drowned rats.  I personally feel they look like extras in the Italian opera Pagliacci, but that's just me.  I was just dying to post it, but the grocery store I work at part-time frowns on photographs taken at the store and then posted on social media.  Corporations have no sense of humor these days. Since I will be leaving that job June 30th, it wouldn't effect me, but I was worried about Marty and Barb getting into trouble..  I have vivid memories of the grief a previous employer gave me over my Blog.  In any case, I decided to not post the photo, and to just use still another self-portrait of me instead. Bummer.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Exit Strategy

I just finished reading an advanced copy of Exit Strategy, the second Nick Mason adventure novel by Steve Hamilton.  To be honest, I was not all that crazy about the first one, titled The Second Life of Nick Mason. Mason was a prisoner at a high level security prison in Terre Haute, Indiana who made an agreement with a incarcerated criminal mastermind to work for him on the outside if he arranged Mason's  freedom from prison.  He wound up back home in Chicago, having to murder whoever the mob boss told him to.  I frankly found it a bit depressing, although the story did take place in Chicago, including the south side, where I grew up.  I liked Exit Strategy much better, although I must point out that Hamilton either didn't know the south side neighborhood of Beverly, which is two miles from where I grew up, or else purposely altered it to suit his own purposes.  In the book, it was where an IRA terrorist and killer lived above a bar, and Hamilton describes  Beverly as an Irish working class neighborhood.  It is heavily Irish, but it a community with huge mansion along Longwood Drive, and very upscale housing everywhere else.  What's the deal, Steve? Slacking off on your research?

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Now That's A Skyline...

As I mentioned in yesterday's Blog, I have never been impressed with Denver's skyline.  Since I originally came from Chicago, I naturally compare Denver with Chicago's skyline.  I know that Chicago is the third largest metropolitan area in the country, and that it is unfair to compare it with a medium sized city like Denver, but I don't care.  This line of thought led me to dig out the above photograph I took back when I lived in Chicago.  It was taken in the early 1970s, during a bike ride along Chicago's lakefront with my sister Susan and brother-in-law George.  Now THAT's a skyline.  And I also know it is unfair to compare Denver's cityscape with the Chicago lakefront, but once again I don't care.  Nothing can compare to that vista.  Now if you will excuse me, I am going to play the song "Running Lake Shore Drive" a few hundred times.  Here it is at

Monday, June 5, 2017

The Denver Skyline

I have never been too impressed with Denver's skyline, even today, when there seems to be a construction crane on every block downtown.  I am especially not impressed by the view of the skyline from the Santa Fe Arts District, where I took the above photograph.  Denver is, after all, a medium sized city, and so it is unfair to compare it to cities like Chicago, San Francisco, or New York, but I don't care.  However, I did see a really great photograph of the city on a postcard once.  It was taken just after sunrise from City Park, showing the city skyline against the mountains.  It was really spectacular, and I have always wanted to replicate it.  However, it would require getting up before dawn, and since I am currently working four nights a week at my part-time grocery store job, in addition to my full-time job as a bookkeeper at a local Denver bookstore, taking that shot in the near future is not going to happen.  I will just add that goal to my "bucket list, " along with flying to Mars and back.  It will happen

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Plug-In Art

There was a time when art that you plugged into the wall was considered low brow.  I remember walking down Milwaukee Avenue on the near northwest side of Chicago many years ago and looking into the window of a shop with a plug-in objet d'art and later describing it to fellow workers at the Walden Books where I worked at the time.  They all laughed about it.  And now these days it is all the rage, with an entire exhibit dedicated to that form of expression a few years ago at the Denver Art Museum.  I was thinking about all this when I took the above photograph at an art gallery during Denver's Santa Fe Arts District First Friday Art Walk last week.  And I must say, I still have a bit of a prejudice against plug-in art.  And no, I did not buy one of the above pieces.  Hell, I won't even buy art that I like.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

First Friday

Yesterday was the first Friday of June, and since I had the night off, I drove to Denver's Santa Fe Arts District after work for their First Friday Art Walk.  There were not a lot of people there yet, but it was still early, and so perhaps all the hipsters showed up after I left.  The first art gallery I hit was Metropolitan State University's Center for Visual Art (seen in the photo on the left), where they had on display a juried printmaking exhibition.  A lot of the prints were very good, especially the ones that incorporated photographs into their design.  I even ran across two prints by my old University of Denver Bookstore co-worker Carol, which were also quite nice.  Carol is now working as an artist full time, as is Joe, another DU Bookstore alumni.  Check out their websites at and

Speaking of photographs, there is a gallery (painted yellow) in the alley behind the east side of 9th and Santa Fe that features different photographers each month, usually displaying photographs of exotic locales.  They have a man playing a guitar out front (see photograph at right) to let you know it is an art gallery and welcomes visitors, as opposed to, for example, a crack house.  The photographs are always pretty good, the artist is always on hand to talk about his or her work, and they seem to have a lot of free food available.  My kind of place, but I don't know the name of the gallery because I always enter through the alley, and there is no sign outside.  I should have checked to see if they had any brochures available, but didn't.  My bad, as they say.  However, anyone wandering around the neighborhood will eventually run across it, as I did.  Are those enough directions for you?  I thought so.

Friday, June 2, 2017

The June Dog Of The Month

I am wasting no time in featuring June's dog of the month, which was tied up in front of the grocery store where I work the other night as I was leaving the store.  If I was going to own a dog, it would be either be a golden lab like the one in the photograph above, or a beagle like Irma, the dog I had when I was a child.  In any case, you can see some of the flowers the store has been selling in the background.  A week or so ago the temperature dropped below freezing and they had to take all of the plants indoors for the evening. Tables of them were placed in the aisles, in the Starbucks seating area, and everywhere else.  It was like having to walk through the Brazilian jungle to pick up a can of peas.  Kind of fun, but store management was not pleased

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Me And Travis McGee

When I started working as the Assistant Manager of the Walden Book Store in the near west Chicago suburb of North Riverside back in 1976, I found out that one of the benefits of the job was that I could rip the cover off any paperback book I wanted and take it home to read.  My father recommended the Travis McGee mystery novels by John D. McDonald, a series which took place in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and after reading just one, I was hooked, and read every one of them.  I then waited until each new Travis McGee mystery came out,.and immediately bought and devoured it.  That is why I was so thrilled to have my picture taken by my sister Susan at the Travis McGee memorial plaque next to Slip F18 at Fort Lauderdale's Bahia Mar Marina. This was the fictional location of Travis McGee's houseboat, and I searched it out after Susan, my mother Mary, and I finished a cruise on The Jungle Queen, a well known local tourist boat that cruises the New River.  When I retire, perhaps I'll give in to my fantasy and imitate Travis McGee's lifestyle - living on a houseboat by the beach, going out on various adventures in South Florida, and saving various damsels in distress.  That sounds like a reasonable retirement goal, right?  Right?

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Kickoff To Summer

I am happy to report that there is once again a Memorial Day Weekend Festival on Old South Gaylord Street here in South Denver.  Old South Gaylord, located just a few blocks east of Washington Park, consists of a street of restaurants and locally owned shops that has been a popular gathering spot for the neighbors for years.   For as long as I can remember, they have had a Memorial Day event, but eliminated it a couple of years ago for budgetary reasons.  But now it is back with a new name:  Kickoff to Summer.  Despite the name change, it seems to be the same old festival, thank you very much, which is all right with me.

I took the photographs above and to the right Monday afternoon before I headed up to Fort Collins for a barbecue with my sister Susan and brother-in-law George.  A tremendous downpour took place about an hour before, and the weather still seemed a bit threatening, which I imagine is why attendance was a bit low.  Hopefully they attracted good-sized crowds Saturday and Sunday and the festival will be back next year. Perhaps if they offered nickel beer - I know I would certainly attend.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Memorial Day 2017

I drove up to Fort Collins yesterday to spend memorial Day with my sister Susan and brother-in-law George. George doesn't do any hiking anymore, and so he and Susan invited me up to their townhouse for steaks cooked out on the grill instead. Because of my part-time job, I haven't seen either of them since January, so it was good to get together again.   I took the photo on the left of George in action at the grill.   George doesn't mind having his photograph taken, but my sister Susan does.  In fact, she came after me with a knife once when I took a candid photograph of her in her kitchen.

Susan does not want her photograph taken, of course, because she is getting a little older now.  I am too, but I don't mind having my photograph taken ("God knows that's true" is what I imagine regular Blog readers are thinking now).  In any case, she is so against having her photo taken, I decided to instead use a photograph I took of her back in June of 1973 in the patio of our house in the southern Chicago suburb of Country Club Hills.  And I want to publicly state here and now that Susan has not changed a bit since this photograph was taken.  And because of that, I am sure she will be more than happy to let me take her photograph next time.  Right?  Right?

Monday, May 29, 2017

Happy Memorial Day!

Like the photograph I use every Easter on this Blog, I always use either a photograph of my ex-wife alone or a variation of the above photograph every Memorial Day because they are the only ones I know for sure were taken on that day, back in the 1980s.  The photo above shows (from left to right) my ex-wife Lisa, my brother-in-in-law George, and George's cousin Richard on one of our annual Memorial Day hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park.  I'm sure my sister Susan was there too, but just didn't want to be in the photograph because of a bad hair day or something.  We would all meet mid-morning in Estes Park, then take one car into the park to a hiking trail.  Then we would hike up the trail through fog and snow until the snow got so deep and the fog so thick that Lisa would start crying and demand to turn around.  Then we would drive back to Estes Park, find a local brewpub, and drink beer.  Those were the days.  Ah, the happy memories!

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Fender Bender!

I was pulling out of my parking space at my condo yesterday afternoon to go to my part-time job at a local Denver grocery store and wound up hitting a car driving by.  I was sure I looked behind me to see if there was anyone there, and thought I was clear, but evidently wasn't.  The other driver said she saw my parking brakes on and speeded up to avoid me, so she must have been going pretty fast.  It was a rental car, and I suspect she was in town to attend a high school graduation taking place across the street at the University of Denver's Ritchie Center.  Which means, of course, that it is all DU's fault for renting out the space to that damn high school.  And by the way, the photograph above is of Denver's District 3 Police Station, conveniently located just around the corner from my condo, where I spent what seems like all of Sunday morning reporting the accident.   But I am not bitter.  As regular Blog readers know, not being bitter is one of my finest qualities.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

More About Golden...

As I have mentioned before, Golden was Colorado's first state capitol, and the building in the photograph, the Old Capitol Grill, was where the legislature originally met.  After taking care of the state's business upstairs, they would adjourn to the tavern below to celebrate their legislative successes.  Inside the Old Capitol Grill,  they still have the glassed off room in the back where ladies were allowed to sit, separate from the corrupting influences of the bar area.  Golden was originally founded to service all the mining camps just to the west, where the mountains start.  The mining camps are long gone, but Golden remains, with many historic buildings from the 1870s.  It also has lots of hiking trails, not to mention a lot of fun spots to hang out. A truly nice place to visit, and separated from Denver by tall buttes, it is a place unto itself.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Dining At The Trailhead Taphouse With Stuart

My friend Stuart and I had Cubano sandwiches and beers at the trailhead Taphouse in beautiful downtown Golden, Colorado last night and thought it was a really great place.  Stuart discovered it a few weeks ago after hiking the nearby Clear Creek Trail, and thought it looked like a good place to try.  The Cubano sandwich was great, and they serve a mean porter, too.  It was a fairly youthful crowd, which kind of surprised me, but the Colorado School of Mines is just a few blocks away, and so I assume they were mostly engineering students out for a night on the town. Nobody parties like engineering students, after all.

Afterwards, Stuart treated me to a cup of decaf at a nearby Starbucks, where we sat outside, across the street from the Table Mountain Inn, a really nice hotel with - according to Stuart - a really great Cantina (as seen in the photograph on the right).  We both agreed eating Mexican food after a hike along the Clear Creek Trail would be a great idea.  Golden is a wonderdul town, older than Denver, and was actually the first capitol of Colorado.  It has a beautiful historic district, in which is located Golden City Brewery, a beer garden and the second largest brewery in Golden. What's the biggest one again?

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Good Neighbors?

When the Washington Park Profile comes out each month, I immediately turn to the University Park News and Views column to find out what's happening in my neighborhood.  I was happy to see that the University of Denver's quarterly Good Neighbors Meeting was going to take place Wednesday, May 24th.  I missed it last time because they moved the meeting to the previous evening, which was a great disappointment.  I want to attend these meetings because DU says it's number one priority is to move the DU Light Rail Station to the corner of University and Buchtel Boulevards, which is where my condo building sits.  Therefore, I requested the night off at my part-time job and showed up yesterday at the appointed time.  I saw on the events sign at the entrance to the Chambers Building that the meeting was to take place in room 160.  I hurried there, and it was empty.  Fooled again.  What is the deal with this?  DU wants to be good neighbors, but they don't seem to want to meet with the neighbors whose neighborhoods they want to take over for their own use.  Surprise!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Shooting For The Stars

I just finished reading Shooting for the Stars, the second book in the Gil Malloy mystery series by R.G. Belsky.  Like his first book, The Kennedy Connection, and his latest effort, Blonde Ice, it was an excellent story, featuring hard-driving newspaper reporter Gil Malloy.  These books are a fun read, written with good humor and a compelling story.  I suggest you order all three from you local bookseller today.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Even More Wedding Nostalgia...

Last week on this Blog I posted some photographs taken at the weddings of several Hatch's Bookstore employees back in the 1980s.  But before I moved to Denver, back in the late 1970s, my entire family and I attended the wedding of our cousin Betty.  My parents drove up from Stuart, Florida, and we once again all got together as an extended family like we used to in the good old days.  I think this was probably the last time that ever happened.  I moved to Denver, soon to be followed by my sister Susan and brother-in-law George, and my parents for the most part stayed put in Florida.  In the photograph on the left (from left to right) are my sister Susan, my Uncle Jack (my mother's brother), my father Nelson, my mother Mary, and my cousin Byron, Betty's baby brother.

Betty, by the way, was married to Tom for many years and they had two children, Carrie and Sandra.  Tom worked as the Lumber Manager at Gee Lumber, a popular lumber yard and home improvement chain in the Chicago area before places like Home Depot and Lowes put them out of business.  Tom had a major stroke while still in his forties, was paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair, and could no longer speak.  I am not sure how much he was aware of us and his surroundings, although he let his youngest daughter Carrie help him. After a year or two, Tom passed away, and a few years after that Betty met Frank at her church, and they got married.  We were all very happy for them, and they were happy together for the rest of their lives.  My sister and I never saw any of our Chicago relatives again after we moved to Colorado, although my mother went back a few times to visit with them. Years ago, people would remain in their neighborhoods, such as our south side Chicago community of Brainerd, for their entire lives.  Now everybody is spread out all over the country.  Just a sign of the times. I guess.  And in a way very sad.

Monday, May 22, 2017

The Couple With The Yellow Ducky

I live across the street from the University of Denver's Ritchie Center, an athletic facility on the University of Denver campus.  This time of year the facility hosts high school graduations - dozens of them, almost every day of the week.  There was one of these graduation ceremonies that took place yesterday morning, and I took the above photograph of a couple leaving the Ritchie Center with a huge yellow ducky.  What I want to know is what they were doing with it?  Was it a graduation gift that they took with them to the ceremony?  If so, I would think the people sitting behind them would complain.  Perhaps they were simply using the facility's El Pomar Nataorium (the swimming pool) and were just heading home.  It is indeed a big pool, so I suppose a huge yellow rubber ducky would not be out of place.  I suppose they could have been selling little rubber duckies to the graduates and the big one was just an advertising tool, but when did little rubber duckies become a hot graduation gift?  I myself got a dictionary for college when I graduated high school, but that was Chicago, and we were a different breed.  A whole different generation, too, I might add.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Giving Notice At My Part-Time Job

As regular Blog readers know, I have been working at a part-time job in the evenings and weekends at a local grocery store to help with expenses.  Fortunately, I was able to rent my sister Susan and my condo in Stuart, Florida for the year, which was my biggest expense, and the day before yesterday was able to mail the final installments for the property taxes for both my condo in Denver and the 40 acres of forest I inherited from my father just south of Herbster, Wisconsin (a long story).  And so, I felt it was time to give notice at my part-time job, where I shop for groceries ordered on the internet and deliver them to customers at their cars when they arrive at the store. In addition to the above reasons for giving notice, I can't help but mention that much of the time over the past four months or so it has been midnight, like last night, or after 9:00 P.M., as it was when I took the above photograph, when I finally get home.  It is sometimes hard to remember what the place looks like in the daytime.  In any case, I gave my final day as June 30th, to give my boss time to replace someone who is essentially irreplaceable.  And so it surprised me that 15 minutes later she had a post-it note with the name and starting date (July 2nd) of the person she wants to replace me sitting on the desk. Evidently everyone in the grocery store wants to transfer to our department and start living the good life.  Of course, I am sure the fact that they were able to replace me in 15 minutes doesn't mean they won't miss me, right? Who wouldn't?

Saturday, May 20, 2017

The Historic Buchtel Trail

I used to think that the Historic Buchtel Trail, which runs for almost a mile along Buchtel Boulevard starting just east of my Denver condo, was historic because of the early yuppies, who walked or jogged along it to Washington Park without the benefit of either bottled water or cell phones.  As great as those hardships were, it turns out that the trail is historic because it is the last remaining prairie in the City of Denver.  I learned this by reading the historic marker seen in the photograph above.  I suppose I could have read this years before, but each time I approached it my eyes were drawn to a huge sign warning of wild coyotes roaming the area.  When I took this particular photograph, I saw no such warning, and so was able to read the marker without worrying.  Which begs the question - are the coyotes gone, or does the city just assume we all know about the danger and doesn't feel the need to warn us about it anymore?  Good question.  Any answers?

Friday, May 19, 2017

Snow In Late May? Oh No!

Actually, it is not unusual to have snow in Denver this late in the year, although this is the latest snowfall we have had in 10 years.  I have personally seen it snow in Denver on June 6th, which was quite a shock to the system, even if it melted as soon as it hit the ground.  Yesterday's storm was far more messy than anything, and the snow melted as soon it hit the streets.  Of course, the local news stations claimed that the snowfall was much heavier to the south and north of Denver.  And Evergreen, a small town in the foothills just to the west, received 14 inches.  However, since the local news channels always make such a big deal about these storms, I think they often are just trying to justify their rather hysterical coverage.  But then again, as everyone knows, I am a cynic and a curmudgeon, so who knows?

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Walking Around DU...

As I have mentioned many times before, I live right across the street from the University of Denver campus, located right in the heart of south central Denver.  I must say the campus is very beautiful, and is a very pleasant place to stroll on a warm spring evening.  As I have also mentioned before, DU wants to "seamlessly connect" with the surrounding University Park neighborhood, and  wants to build a "gateway village" just across the street from me. Unfortunately, they also want to move the University of Denver Light Rail Station to the corner of University and Buchtel Boulevards, so that the people disembarking the train will see the glory which the University of Denver is.  That happens to be exactly where my condo is located.  Of course, they might be thinking about putting the station on the other side of University Boulevard, but it still makes me nervous.  Especially since I once saw a map of the campus on the wall of the Vice Chancellor's office which showed the Light  Rail Station exactly where my condo is located

Happily, next Wednesday is the quarterly DU meeting with it's University Park neighbors, and I made sure I was off that night from my part-time grocery store job so that I could attend.  I will finally be able to ask DU officials what they have in mind, and if it involves putting a wrecking ball to my condo building.  As regular Blog readers know, DU outsourced the University of Denver Bookstore, where I worked as Finance Manager for almost 30 years, to Follett Higher Education group.  But as regular Blog readers know, I am not at all bitter about that.  Much.  But to also throw me out of my home seems to me to be going a bit overboard.  Can't wait to "reach out" to out you, DU officials!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

After Work At Washington Park

Now that it stays light out untill 8:00 in the evening here in Denver, I like to stop at Washington Park in the evenings for a short while just to enjoy the beauty of the park and the people-watching.  It is a very pleasant and restful place, one of the nicest spots in Denver, and I am very lucky to live so close to it.  When my mother Mary was alive and living with me, I would bring her here whenever I could.  She used to love to sit by the children's playground and watch the kids having fun and blowing off extra energy.  In the photograph on the left can be seen the historic Washington Park Boathouse, which was restored a few years ago and now used for weddings and other various functions.

It will be no surprise that the geese and duck population in the park is huge.  In their flight south from Canada they evidently stopped off here and decided to stay for good.  Kind of like all those Californians we have here now.  And as you can see from the photograph on the right, there are plenty of young ducklings and gooselings around here this spring.  The down side of all this is that you have to watch where you step when you walk around the park. Another problem is that they cross the streets at will, always assuming they have the right-of-way. Still another similarity with Californians.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Country Club Towers - Politics As Usual

Against the strong objections of neighborhood residents, the City of Denver allowed a real estate developer to build twin 32 story luxury apartment buildings (seen in the photograph above) at the corner of South Downing and East Bayaud Streets here in Central Denver.  In anticipation of the increased traffic to be generated by the project, stoplights have been installed on that corner, and I can't help but notice that every time I pass that intersection, there is a huge traffic backup, even though the buildings are still empty.  I can just imagine what life will be like in that quiet residential neighborhood once those two towers are fully leased.  Another victory for city hall and the real estate developers, but a major loss for neighborhood residents.  Surprise!

Monday, May 15, 2017

The Lioness Is The Hunter

I just finished reading The Lioness is the Hunter, the latest Amos Walker detective novel by Loren Estleman. I have been reading this series for years, and enjoy it very much.  Walker is a hard-boiled private detective who lives and works in Detroit, which as everyone knows is going through tough times these days.  In this particular story, he is hired to find the missing partner of a real estate entrepreneur, who disappeared just before signing to buy one of Detroit's historic, but abandoned, downtown buildings.  The next day Walker finds his client dead in the vault of that very building, and the story moves along quickly from there.  I recommend that you run out now and buy it from your local bookstore immediately, or if you are a cheapskate like me, get it from the library.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Happy Mother's Day!

Today is Mother's Day, and in honor of that I am featuring one of my favorite photographs of my mother Mary.  I remember exactly when I took this photograph.  I used to visit my mother down in Stuart, Forida almost every August, when the weather was hot and humid and the town was pretty mellow.  My mother loved to go to a restaurant called The Prawnbroker on Friday nights, and sit in one of the booths in the bar, where all the action took place that time of year.  Afterwards we would drive to The House of Refuge, an historical site on the beach, and just enjoy the pleasant evening, which is where I took this photograph.  It was a wonderful time, and I only wish my mother was still around to do it all again.  Happy Mother's Day!