Sunday, December 31, 2017

New Year's Eve!

This is New Year's Eve,  the time when everyone throughout the world celebrates the end of the old year and the beginning of the new.  This year for New Year's Eve I am featuring a photograph of my mother Mary and father Nelson back in 1968, celebrating behind the bar in the family room of our home in Country Club Hills, in the south suburbs of Chicago.  We moved there in 1966 so that I could attend a high school which provided a far better education than the one I would have received at Calumet High School, my mother and sister Susan's Alma mater.  I did not like Country Club Hills - it was treeless and the homes all looked alike.  I was not all that crazy about Rich Central High School, either.  It was a good thing when my parent's moved down to Stuart, Florida, which they absolutely loved, in 1976 and I moved on to my very first apartment in Forest Park, just east of Chicago - a studio across the street from the L" train barn and the Daisy Hill meatpacking plant, which I also liked quite a bit.  In any case, that is neither here nor there. Happy New Year's Eve everybody!

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Home For The Holidays

I just finished reading Home For The Holidays, another in the series of comic "Murf" novels by the late Gary Reilly.  These stories feature Denver cab driver Murf, who tries not to get involved in the personal lives of his fares, but always does anyway.  Murf lives in Denver's Capitol Hill neighborhood, on the top floor of an old house converted into apartments.  He enters it via an outside stairway, much like the one that can be seen in the background of the above photograph.  This time Murf goes home to Wichita for Christmas, mixing with his many Irish relatives and trying to prevent an old school chum from making a horrible mistake: getting a regular job.  Murf believes that taxi driving is not work, and only drives enough to pay for his minimal expenses. These stories are amusing and kind of corny, but are a good change of pace from more serious fare.  I heartily recommend them.

Friday, December 29, 2017

The Edge Of The Great Plains

I drove up up Fort Collins this past Friday morning to take my brother-in-law George to a doctor's appointment and to take him and my sister to run various errands.  I took the above photograph out the driver's side window while going around 85 miles-per-hour.  Not smart.  But in any case, the drive up to Fort Collins goes all along the edge of the Great Plains.  In the photograph, you can see Long's Peak and the start of the Rocky Mountains, with a light dusting of snowfall.  It is a nice view, but the view in the other direction is flat prairie all the way to Kansas City.  Not a fun drive, as I can tell you from experience.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Dinner With Mark At Pepper Asian Bistro

I had dinner with my friend Mark - who works at the University of Denver's Anderson Academic Commons (the library) - last night at Pepper Asian Bistro, the Chinese restaurant just down the street from the bookstore where I work. Mark tells me he is planning to visit the UK again this coming April, making his base of operations in Leeds.  I myself know nothing about Leeds, but Mark is looking forward to visiting friends there and going to soccer games in both Leeds and Newcastle (Mark is still obsessed with soccer, of course).  Pepper is a really nice restaurant, and both of us enjoyed our entrees - Mongolian beef for me and tofu with garlic sauce for Mark.  Yes! Tofu!  You're a better man than I am, Mark.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Waiting For the 2018 CTA Historical Calendar

I keep checking the Chicago Transit Authority's web site to see if the 2018 CTA Historical Calendar is out yet.  In my opinion, it is one of the highlights of the new year.  It is a regular calendar that you can download to your computer, and print out if you want, and features historical photographs of Chicago and it's public transportation.  The photograph on the left was taken near 111th and Longwood Drive, in Chicago's South Side Beverly neighborhood, not too far from where I grew up in Brainerd.  Of course, this photograph was taken a few years before my time, but is a lot of fun to look at.

As of yesterday, the 2018 calendar has not yet been released, but they do have an Historical Photo Collection with many photos from Chicago's past, which you can access on the CTA web site.  That is where I downloaded the photograph on the right.  Does this photograph not remind you of traveling in a time machine.  It is of course just a CTA bus, not a Delorean, like in the movie Back to the Future, but I say use whatever works. If your time machine happens to be a CTA bus outfitted with a flux capacitor, so be it  Check out all those photographs at

The photograph on the left is of a bus called The Green Hornet.  The CTA used to have all kinds of fun names for their trains, buses and services, like the Skokie Swift, the Ravenswood Line, the Night Owl Service, and other such monikers.  Now all the "L" trains are just named different colors, and buses are just referred to as numbers.  Where has the romance gone in public transportation? You probably think I am crazy getting all excited about Chicago's public transportation. Actually, you know I'm crazy, but I don't care.  I strongly advise you to check out the CTA web site and download their calendar as soon as it becomes available.  Check it out at

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Boxing Day!

Today is Boxing Day, celebrated in the UK and in Canada, and a few other places, but not so much here in the United States.  It is the day when people give presents, as well as a day off, to their servants, after they have worked so hard during the holidays, not to mention Christmas Day itself.  I myself celebrate this day too, mostly by buying half price calendars for  the condo.  After all, I don't have any servants, and so the day is relatively cheap and carefree for me to celebrate. I do have to work, of course, but they are paying me, not the other way around, so it is definitely a win win.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Today is Christmas Day, and I am once again featuring the black and white photograph of the whole family taken on Christmas morning in the living room of our home in the south side Brainerd neighborhood of Chicago.  I know I use it every year, but it was taken when we were all young and happy and together, and so what the hell.  From left to right are my mother Mary, sister Susan, me, and my father Nelson.  My sister Susan absolutely hates this photograph, for obvious reasons, and so that is still another good reason to feature it. Merry Christmas everyone!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Christmas Eve!

Today is Christmas Eve, and as usual on this day, I am featuring the Christmas card I sent out to friends and relatives this year. It features, in the front row from left to right, my brother-in-law George, sister Susan, and me.  In the back row are my father Nelson and mother Mary, whom I wish were still around to celebrate with us.  I took that photograph of them during Christmas of 1964, on the back porch of our house in the south side Brainerd neighborhood of Chicago, back when I was a mere 11 years old.  A child prodigy at that age with a camera.  I wonder what the hell happened?

Saturday, December 23, 2017

The Final Weekend Before Christmas

This is the final weekend before Christmas, the busiest period of the year for bookstores, and everyone at the store I work at is hoping and praying for a big finish.  Competition with the internet is fierce in the bookstore business, but as push comes to shove and it is just a few days until Christmas and you still need to buy gifts, bookstores have the advantage.  Where else can you buy such great, last minute gifts?  Paula, the cashier at the counter in the photograph above, told me it has been very busy today, and so the weekend is off to a good start.  Be sure to support your local bookstore during these last two days and buy buy buy!

Friday, December 22, 2017

Winter Is Here

The day before yesterday, it was 66 degrees in Denver, but then that evening conditions changed drastically, and Thursday morning - the first day of winter, no less - everyone woke up to cold and snow.  We only got half an inch , but because it was so warm the day before, a fine coat of ice covered the roads under the snow, resulting in a very slow drive to work.  Conditions were, of course, much worse up in the mountains, but if people want to drive into the mountains during a snowstorm, they get what they deserve.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Celebrating The Winter Solstice With Stuart

Today is the Winter Solstice, the first day of winter, and my friend Stuart and I celebrated the occasion a little early last night at the Old Chicago Restaurant in beautiful, exotic Lakewood, Colorado.  Last year, as I recall, I featured a shop up in Denver's West Highlands neighborhood called Ritual Craft, which was having a Winter Solstice sale on magic potions and books on witchcraft, but this year I felt it was better to celebrate the Winter Solstice with beers and burgers, a tradition I believe was started by the Druids.  And if I am wrong about that, please let me know.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

George Is Back!

George is back home, sitting in his easy chair and watching television, returning after 6 weeks at the Medical Center of the Rockies in Loveland, Colorado, and  a rehab facility in Fort Collins.  His doctors say he is cancer free, but will undergo chemo just as a precaution.  George is still pretty weak after that ordeal, but very happy to be home.  He got his Christmas wish, as did we all.  Welcome home, George!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Denver Zoo Nostalgia

It has been a pretty busy six weeks for me, and so I have not had time to get to the Denver Zoo for quite a while.  And even if I will have some free time over the holiday weekend, the weather forecast is for snow and  frigid temperatures, so I don't imagine many of the animals will be frolicking out in the fresh air.  Therefore I am forced to post an oldie but goody - a tiger gazing calmly at me from the confines of the old tiger compound.  This past year the Denver Zoo built a new facility for these animals, and have been hyping it as a place that will let you get up close and personal with the tigers.  I myself have found just the opposite - they are now able to climb up to a ledge and completely disappear from view for hours at a time.  Evidently zoo designers are not zoo goers.  I'm just saying.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Christmas Is One Week From Today!

Yes - it's true.  Christmas is exactly one week from today, and so it is time to think about starting to do your Christmas shopping.  Granted, there is still a full weekend before the big day, which helps. but it might be a good idea to start the planning phase of the task right now - a book, a calendar, a Lexus, a Mercedes, a BMW?  I see from the television commercials that a new luxury car is the "in" gift this year.  Mercedes is running an ad showing a young child who each year is looking for a Mercedes, but finally gets one when he has a family of his own.  Very heartwarming, but think of all the people in poverty stricken and war torn countries who can expect nothing more than a Chevy.  Poor things.

Sunday, December 17, 2017


I am currently reading IQ, a private eye novel by Joe Ide.  It is the story of a freelance detective in East Long Beach, California, who takes only the cases he wants, but whose clients usually don't have the money to pay him for his services.  Running out of money, he reluctantly takes on a case brought to him by a former "gangsta" friend, investigating the attempted murder of a famous rap star.  The book has gotten rave reviews, and I have found parts of it a very exciting read indeed.  This is the first book in a series, and the second book, Righteous, has just been released.  Will I read the second book?  Maybe. I'm still deciding about how much I like IQ.  Sometimes I have to finish a book and think about it before I make that decision.  So many books, so little time.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

A Little More Florida Nostalgia

I took the photograph above of my father Nelson in Panama City Beach, Florida, back in April of 1975. We were taking a roundabout route to Stuart, Florida, where my Uncle Bill (my mother Mary's brother) and Aunt Elsie lived, to see if my parents might want to retire there, too.  We visited Biloxi, Mississippi first (long before gambling was legalized there), and then drove along the Gulf of Mexico, stopping in Panama City Beach, Florida for the night.  Panama City is a summer resort (the area was often called the Redneck Rivera), and so we had the place to ourselves in mid-April.  This was also before the place became a popular spring break destination. As I recall, we were the only people dining in the restaurant that night, and as far as we could tell, the only guests at the motel.  The next day we drove on to Stuart, which my parents loved and moved to the following year.  And as regular Blog readers know, my sister and I still own the condo they bought there, although it is currently rented, and so we can't go down there to escape the cold Denver weather.  I think our tenants would not be happy to see us at their front door with our suitcases.  But I could be wrong.  And often am.

Friday, December 15, 2017

The December Mutts Of The Month

The December Mutts of the Month are none other than Blackberry (on the left) and Tutu (on the right) in the above diptych .  I know they were also the November Mutts of the Month, but it has been cold in Denver lately.  Because of this, people are not walking their dogs to the bookstore where I work, which is where I find the best photo opportunities.  In any case, since I am driving up to Fort Collins almost every afternoon these days, they are awfully convenient to photograph, and are seen here in the kitchen of my sister Susan and brother-in-law George's townhouse, where they are cordoned off to prevent them from depositing any early Christmas gifts behind the furniture.  And you ask why I don't have any pets?

Thursday, December 14, 2017

A Visit To The Capitol Hill Neighborhood

The Finance Manager of the local Denver bookstore chain where I work retired last month, and I have inherited the job of filing the company's sales taxes each month. Therefore, when the next sales tax class was offered by the State of Colorado, I headed down to the Capitol Hill neighborhood to attend that seminar.  I arrived early, and therefore had time to take a self-portrait in front of Colorado's State Capitol.  It was built in the 1890s and has a distinctive gold dome covered in real gold leaf.  And yes, they do have security guards that will stop you from climbing the roof to scrap that gold off, even if you tell them you were just looking for the restroom.  Trust me - it didn't work.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

James Rollins Appears At The Tattered Cover

James Rollins spoke and signed copies of his new adventure thriller Demon Crown at Denver's Tattered Cover Bookstore last night.  It is his thirteenth Sigma Force novel, and involves the Sigma team trying to stop a formerly dormant, very deadly species that is now free and threatening the very survival of the human race. I was able to obtain an advanced reading copy of the book, and am looking forward to reading it.  Rollins always writes a good story, and I always enjoy them, but I must say the theme of his stories are all pretty similar.  Each book seems to revolve around a disease or species that threatens the world.  I am not saying that is bad - just pointing it out.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The End Of The Line For Hillary

Hillary Clinton made an appearance yesterday at the local Denver bookstore where I work to sign copies of her new book What Happened.  Since I didn't buy a copy, I wasn't able to take a photograph of her this time, but I was able to take a photograph of Derek, a fellow bookstore employee who's job was to hold a sign letting people know where the end of the line to see Hillary was located.  Hillary was signing books on the bottom level of the store, which is where my office is located, and so I had to wait until the Secret Service went through the area with a secret service dog before I could enter my office.  The only problem was that the bathrooms, also located on the lower level, were off limit for the entire signing.  It was a very long 5 hours, let me tell you.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Hillary Clinton Returns!

Hillary Clinton will be meeting her supporters and signing copies of her book What Happened at the local Denver bookstore where I work today.  The store sold all 1000 tickets to the event in just two hours a few months ago, and all 1000 will be looking for a place to park at the store this morning, which will make getting to work an adventure today.  She will be greeting her fans in the basement of the store, which is where the office where I work is located, and I have been told we will have to leave at 10:00 A.M. to allow the Secret Service to sweep the place with their (secret) service dogs.  Whether we will be allowed to return to our offices after this is done is still an open question.  And by the way, I took the above photograph when Hillary came to the store a few years ago, before she announced her candidacy.  I messed up the first photograph, and took a second, right before a Secret Service agent took me by the arm and guided me toward the stairs. This time I am not buying the book (I already know what happened), and so will not be able to get a photograph today, unless I open the door to the event space and step out into the room where she is located.  A Secret Service agent would of course shoot me on sight, so it would be hardly worth it.  Perhaps I can get a shot of some Secret Service agents instead, before they can shoot me, of course.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

A Timberline Kind Of Sunset

And no - this photograph was not taken at the altitude where the tress stop growing and the bare, snow covered mountains begin.  It was actually taken on Timberline Road, out in the wilds of Fort Collins, not too far from The Farmhouse At Jessup Farm, a rather upscale restaurant that I was went to with my sister Susan and brother-in-law George a few times (good food, great country atmosphere, but rather pricey).  And why is Timberline Road named Timberline, even though it is on the plains and not in the mountains?  Beats the hell out of me.  There is also a street in Fort Collins called Lady Moon Drive.  Try and explain that one.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Getting Together With the DU Gang At Bonnie Brae

I got together with some of the old DU Bookstore gang at the Bonnie Brae Tavern last night, and it was a really nice evening.  We all caught up on what each other has been up to, and at the end of dinner I decided to take a group photo for the Blog.  It wasn't until I got home that I realized that I had not included Wally, my friend and former University of Denver Bookstore co-worker in the photo, who still works at the bookstore.  No matter - I have files and files of photographs of all the DU Bookstore people (thye come in pretty handy, by the way), and I simply photo-shopped Wally into the picture.  And so, front and center is Wally, and then going around the table clockwise are Wally's wife Linda; Renee, wife of Bill (former operations manager of the store), who is seated just to her right;  Ruthie and Dale (parents of Mark), and Mark, who works at the University of Denver's Anderson Academic Commons (the library).  The Bonnie Brae Tavern, by the way, is famous for it's pizza, and has been located at the same spot in Denver's Bonnie Brae neighborhood since June 6th, 1934.  That is a long time.  In fact, I think they still had dirt paths instead of roads in the neighborhood back then.  It was probably not easy to get your pizza and beer back then, but by golly, Denverites did it.  Talk about determination.

Friday, December 8, 2017

The Exodus Begins

I heard on the local television news the other night that a record number of people moved out of Colorado in 2016, citing the high cost of housing, low paying jobs, and major traffic jams.  I can attest to all three complaints, especially the high cost of housing.  Around the block from the local bookstore where I work on East Colfax here in Denver an apartment has been advertised for months now, with no takers.  It is a 1 bedroom, 1 bath unit in an older building, seen on the right hand side of the above diptych, and the asking price is $1,050 per month.  It is a nice neighborhood, but that is pretty pricey for an apartment in an older building, especially if you are making close to minimum wage.   You can't blame people moving to a more affordable location.  It makes me glad my apartment building went condo back in 1999 and I was forced to buy a unit if I wanted to stay.  I was pretty unhappy about it at the time, but it turned out to be a blessing. And just a word to others who are thinking of leaving Denver and Colorado: I have lived here for 36 years, and the housing costs have always gone back down since I have lived here.  There is no reason to believe it won't happen again.  I recommend just getting a dozen or so roommates together and waiting it out.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Pearl Harbor Day

Today is December 7th, the 76th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, which led to the United States entering World War II.  This attack killed 2,403 people, on a level with the terrorist attacks on September 11th, and anyone alive at the time remembers it vividly.  My father Nelson served during that war as a dentist on Okinawa, to his great surprise.  He and his friend and fellow dentist Ed were listening to the Northwestern (my father's alma mater) football game when the doorbell rang and he got his draft notice.  This was at a time when he was in his mid-thirties.  His friend Ed thought that was real funny, and went home to find he got a draft notice, too.  Ed was sent to be a dentist in Paris, while as I said before, my father served on the typhoon plagued island of Okinawa. That Hoyt luck, by the way, continues to this day.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

A Denver Zoo Flashback

It has been a while since I have had time to visit the Denver Zoo, and so I decided to look back through my files and choose a good zoo photo to put on the Blog, just for old times sake.  The photograph above is of a lion cub that I took back in May of 2013.  I believe 3 of them were recently born back then, and at that age they are still curious about their surroundings and the all the people they see looking at them.  Which is great for photo opportunities.  I just wish people were more like that.  Dream on, McDuff.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The Heart Of Darkness Club

I am currently reading The Heart of Darkness Club, the 3rd book in the "Murf" the taxi driver series by Gary Reilly.  Reilly wrote 11 of these stories before he passes away, and none were published in his lifetime.  After his death, friends and family got together to start Running Meter Press, which has so far published 8 of these novels and will eventually put all 11 in print.  Murf is a bohemian cab driver who lives in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Denver.  He vows never to get involved in the lives of his fares, but always does, resulting in various, usually humorous adventures.  This time Murf picks up a man moving from one apartment to another, carrying all his possessions in a few cardboard boxes.  He winds up doing this twice, and each time tips Murf with a $5.00 bill with a cryptic message on it.  Murf can't resist trying to find out what it all means, and does so, with interesting results.  I recommend you pick up a copy today.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Bad Susie And Bad Janet

My sister Susan was waxing nostalgic the other day about her time living on East 85th Place on Chicago's South Side, where she (on the left in the attached photograph) and her friend Janet (on the right) ruled the neighborhood. Susan and my mother Mary lived there with my grandparents while my father was in the army during World War II.  Back then Susan and Janet were known as Bad Susie and Bad Janet, and would sometimes decide to take off their clothes and run around the block, prompting frantic phone calls to my Grandmother Spillard. In point of fact, they were ahead of their time - the world's first streakers.  A landmark achievement indeed.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Pick A Topic, Get A Poem

I took the photograph on the left at the First Friday Art Walk on Santa Fe Boulevard here in Denver the other evening.  The man in the photograph, typing away on an old typewriter, will write a poem for you on your topic of choice for a donation.  I have also seen a young woman sitting at this same typewriter on the 16th Street Mall on the weekends, with the same, handwritten "Pick a topic, get a poem" sign.  I assume they are a couple, and are somehow trying to earn a living doing this.  Although the woman standing in front of him seemed  pretty enthusiastic about it, I would have to think this would be a tough way to make a buck. Hopefully they both have regular full time jobs - possibly writing greeting card verses - and this is just a hobby.  If not, their next business sign will say "Will write poems for food."

Saturday, December 2, 2017

The First Friday Of December

Yesterday was the 1st Friday of December, and I headed to the Santa Fe Arts District (located on Santa Fe Drive here in Denver) after work for the First Friday Art Walk.  It was a lot less crowded than in the summer, but there was still a fairly good crowd walking around, although the Michael Warren Contemporary Gallery - seen in the photograph on the left - was pretty empty.  They are currently displaying the art of Margaret Boozer, whose works of clay represent the landscape (harbors in this exhibit), but to me looks like cracked mud hanging on the walls.  I'm not exactly sure who would want to hang these things in their house, although I'm sure it would be a good conversation starter at parties.

There was also, as usual, musical entertainment, although I didn't hang around too long to listen.  At least the fellow in the photograph on the right was singing a song you could listen to, as opposed to the band in a gallery down the street, where the decibel level was about the same as a jet airplane taking off. Why do they do that?  As I have mentioned before, they play that hellishly loud and obnoxious music at ball games, soccer games, bars, you name it.  You can't hear yourself think, let alone have a conversation.  Am I truly becoming an old curmudgeon or what?

Friday, December 1, 2017

It's The Christmas Season!

Today, believe it or not, is December 1st, which means whether you want it to be or not, the Christmas season is upon us.  And to get into the spirit of things, I headed to Old Town Fort Collins last night after taking my sister home from visiting her husband George in a nearby rehabilitation center, and took the above photograph.  They decorate downtown Fort Collins to the nines during the holidays, and it really puts you in the holiday mood.  Of course, it was damn cold out last night,, so there weren't too many people out on the streets, but I assume they were all tucked away in the many restaurants and bars in the area. But since I had to get back to Denver, I didn't bother to check.   Probably for the best.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Museings About Fuzzy's

I took the above photograph (with Blackberry the dog patiently waiting for a walk in the background) from the living room of my sister Susan and brother-in-law George's townhouse in Fort Collins, Colorado. George is re-cooperating from a major operation in a hospital in nearby Loveland, and my sister Susan and I had just gotten back from dining at a Mexican restaurant called Fuzzy's after a visit to the hospital.  I must say I was not impressed.  I ordered the ground beef burrito with beans, and was surprised to find that it had plenty of beans, but very little ground beef.  That makes it a definite skip in my book. The nurse at the hospital recommended the place highly, and I was expecting a great meal.  But no.  Susan and I were wondering why they called the place Fuzzy's before we walked in the place, and now we know.  The ingredients in their meals are all a bit fuzzy.  Order only if you don't mind disappointment, like true White Sox fans.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Another Loveland Sunset

I snapped the above photograph of the sun setting over Colorado's Long's Peak the other night from the parking lot of the UC Health Medical Center of the Rockies, after visiting my brother-in-law George, along with my sister Susan.  Despite the fact that they are cliches, I still like sunsets, and I think the colors in the above photo are spectacular.  I also think Taco Bell makes great tacos, too, so accept my opinions with all due caution.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Two Kinds Of Truth

I am currently reading Two Kinds of Truth, Michael Connelly's latest Harry Bosch detective novel.  It is an excellent read, and I recommend it highly.  Harry is once again continuing his crusade against evil, this time investigating a double murder in San Fernando, a small community surrounded by Los Angeles, as well as trying to discredit the "new evidence" a serial killer is using to overturn a conviction for a murder that Harry led the investigation on years ago.  I advise you to pick a copy from your local bookstore immediately, or else demand that you be given a copy for Christmas.

Monday, November 27, 2017

The November Mutts Of The Month

This month's mutts of the month are none other than my sister Susan and brother-in-law George's dogs, Tutu (on the left in the above photograph) and Blackberry (on the right).  Susan was taking them on a mid-afternoon walk and I was able to snap that photograph without my sister noticing.  She doesn't mind me taking photographs of the dogs, but if I try to take a photograph of her, she comes at me with a sharp kitchen knife, if one is handy, or with her fists if not.  I myself call that hypersensitive, but that's just me.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Small Business Saturday

Yesterday was Small Business Saturday, a day meant to encourage people to patronize the small businesses across the country that are competing against huge corporations such as Amazon and Walmart.  The bookstore where I work ( the entrance to which I am posing in front of in the above photograph) went all out this year, with promotions, gifts, and even "meet the author" sessions to lure people in to buy books locally instead of through places like Amazon.  In fact, one of my favorite authors and personalities, Phil Goodstein, was at the store for a few hours to greet customers.  Goodstein is a true eccentric, and a bit of a curmudgeon, too.  In addition to writing books on the history of various Denver neighborhoods, he gives highly entertaining walking tours, which are well worth the $15 cost.  I would have liked to talk with him, but  I had to drive up to Fort Collins and didn't have the time.  Next time Phil!

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Burgers And Beers At Pappy's Corner Pub!

I drove up to Fort Collins once again last night to take my sister Susan to visit her husband George at the hospital, where he is slowly recovering from a very serious operation.  George seemed to be doing a little bit better today, which really cheered up my sister.  Afterwards she treated me to burgers and beers at Pappy's Corner Pub, located just across the street from her townhouse complex in southwest Fort Collins, Colorado. I must say, the place was pretty crowded and even had live entertainment, as seen in the above photograph. The burgers were pretty good, too. It is by far the liveliest spot in the neighborhood.  If you happen to be in Fort Collins, I definitely recommend you stop by.

Friday, November 24, 2017

The 43rd Annual Mile High United Way Turkey Trot

Yesterday was the 43rd Annual Mile High United Way Turkey Trot, which is held every year on Thanksgiving morning in nearby Washington Park.  I have lived in Denver for 36 years now, and have  missed every one.  I was thinking seriously of getting up early and attending this year's run, but when the alarm went off, for the 36th year, I said to myself "perhaps next year," and went back to sleep.  However, on my way up to Fort Collins to take my sister Susan to visit her husband George, who is still recovering in the hospital from a serious operation, I decided to stop by the park and see what was happening.  The run was over by then, but I was able to photograph the people walking home.  I know they give you a tee-shirt with a big turkey on it if you participate, but I suspect you have to provide your own turkey hats, like the couple in the photograph on the left are wearing.

I was also able to take a photograph of two mounted police officers, seen in the photograph on the right, who were no doubt sent to handle crowd control.  The only other time I have seen mounted police officers has been on Opening Day near Coors Field, where the crowd can exceed 50,000.  It was a really nice day, sunny with a high of 72 degrees, and riding horses in Washington Park must be considered a perk assignment.  But what I know is what the mounted police do the other 363 days of the year, not to mention the horses.  Do they keep them in a pasture somewhere, or just rent them for the day?  Inquiring minds want to know.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving Everybody!

Yes - I do realize that I use this photograph every year, but it is the only one I am pretty sure was taken of us on Thanksgiving.  And I was just so cute back then.  From left to right are Aunt Kitty (my Grandfather Spillard's sister), my mother Mary, her mother Louise, (my Grandmother Spillard), my Grandmother Hoyt, and me, at my charming best.  In the cage in the background is Petie the bird. I wish my sister and I could go back in time to that house in the south side Brainerd neighborhood of Chicago and join them today, but I still cannot get my hands on a flux capacitor, let alone a Delorean, and so it will be off to the hospital to visit my brother-in-law George, who we very much hope will be doing well today.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Back To Nostalgia!

Lately I have been driving up to Fort Collins after work each day to take my sister Susan to the hospital where her husband George is recuperating from major surgery.  And so it is kind of hard to take the time to find good Blog subjects to photograph.  Therefore, I am resorting to using some of the photographs from the family photo album, such as the one above of my mother Mary preparing for an Easter dinner in the dining room of our house in the south side Chicago Brainerd neighborhood back in 1957.  My mother just loved that house, and I think her pride shows through in this photograph.  And no, I was not the one who took this photograph.  I would have been 4 years old, and although a very bright child, my interest had not yet turned to photography.  I think that began when I was 5.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Still Another Colorado Sunset

They were raving about the sunset Sunday night on the local television news, and so I decided to feature the above photograph that I took of it as I was stopped for a traffic light on my way through Fort Collins, Colorado.  The clouds are evidently called a mountain wave, and Kathy Sabine, the local NBC weather forecaster, showed a dozen versions of this particular sunset during her forecast.  She also likes to show photographs of horses, but lately I am pinched for time and so you'll just have to be happy with this.  The horse photographs will come later.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Monday Morning Victorians

I took the above photograph just as I pulled away from the corner of 13th and Josephine, as I was heading toward the local Denver bookstore where I work as the bookkeeper.  These Victorians look really nice in the morning sunshine, and as I have mentioned many times before, were once a bargain, but no more.  They have been purchased, remodeled, and primped, and now cost a small fortune. And the Congress Park neighborhood where they are located has gone from inner city to gentrified.  To someone from California or the east coast, they are still a bargain.  However, for someone who is just starting out and looking for their first home, they will have to move out to the eastern plains to find something they can afford.  Which means a long commute to work.  And although it really isn't close to the Kansas State line out there, it sure looks like it.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

A Fluffle Of Bunnies

I took my sister Susan to the Medical Center of the Rockies in Loveland, Colorado the other day to visit my brother-in-law George - who is recovering quite nicely, thank goodness - and spotted the bunny rabbit on the left hanging out in the parking lot.  He didn't seem especially fearful of us, and let me snap the photograph before he moved on.

It reminded me of the rabbits in the front yard of the beach house in Cannon Beach, Oregon where my cousin John and his wife Barb hold the Hoyt Family Reunion every so often (see photo on right). Even though Barb pays a woman to tend the garden in that front year, and the rabbits feast on it incessantly, she still likes to feed the rabbits and makes sure they stay around.  Just shows what you can get away with when you are cute, and I should know.