Wednesday, May 31, 2017
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Monday, May 22, 2017
Sunday, May 21, 2017
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
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
Thursday, May 18, 2017
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
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
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
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
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!
Saturday, May 13, 2017
This coming July a Hoyt Family Reunion will take place in Cannon Beach, Oregon for the first time in three years. We had all planned on getting together earlier, but the daughter of my cousin John's wife has had a baby around the time of the proposed reunion two years in a row, necessitating Barb (whose family owns the beach house where we get together) and John to cancel the reunion so they could help her daughter with the new baby. I think after the second birth Barb finally must have politely told her daughter to have her babies a different time of year from now on. Way to go Barb!
Friday, May 12, 2017
Although the forecast is for warm temperatures and sunny skies this weekend, we have had some pretty drenching and violent rain storms over the past few weeks. Monday the west side of Denver got golf ball size hail, which smashed skylights and windshields over a wide swatch of ground. The Colorado Mills Mall in Golden has had to close until further notice due to flooding caused by so many smashed skylights. Wednesday was pretty soggy too, although I thought it kind of funny that Denver's East High School choose that day to turn on the fountain in front of their school, as seen in the photograph above. The state is usually bone dry during the summer months and the threat of forest fires is ever present, so hopefully the moisture will help mitigate that fire danger. At my part-time job at a local grocery store, I have been driven on several occasions to wear a banana yellow rain slicker when I deliver groceries out to the customers in their cars, and am a figure of fun to the other employees when I walk back through the store. No problem. Never let humiliation get in the way of getting the job done, I always say.
Thursday, May 11, 2017
I went with my friend Mark to see the Chicago Cubs-Colorado Rockies game Tuesday night at Coors Field, located in historic Lower Downtown Denver. The previous night's game was rained out, and so the teams played a day-night doubleheader Tuesday afternoon and evening. Back in the good old days, you could see a doubleheader with one ticket, but these days, when maximizing revenue is the main goal, that has become a thing of the past. In any case, it turned out to be a very pleasant evening despite predictions of more severe storms. The Rockies won the afternoon game, but unfortunately that seemed to tire them out, because they lost to the Cubs 8 to 1 in the nightcap, and it wasn't as close as it sounds. On the bright side, the Rockies won 2 out of 3 from the Cubs, and the sportscasters are already saying this is beginning to look like a "very special" season. But it is still May, guys. Talk to me in September.
Wednesday, May 10, 2017
I featured a photograph yesterday taken at the wedding of Ingrid, who worked for me at the long gone Hatch's Bookstore many years ago. And so I felt I would be remiss if I didn't also feature a photograph or two of my friend Robins's wedding, which took place in Cripple Creek, Colorado at the ranch her family homesteaded. The photograph on the left is of my ex-wife Lisa (on the left) and Robin, taken at the ranch. Not only did Lisa and I get divorced, but so did Robin and her husband Tom after having two children, Caitlin and Colin. But at the time we were all happy and had a fun time at the ranch.
My sister was also a Hatch employee, and she and my brother-in-law George and Lisa and I drove up to the ranch together. In the photograph on the right are (from left to right) my sister Susan, brother-in-law George, and ex-wife Lisa, standing in front of the original ranch house. As I recall, it was very pretty country, and afterwards we drove into Cripple Creek to check out the town. It was very quaint, filled with Victorian architecture. This was before gambling was legalized in that city, and I haven't been back since. Hopefully it hasn't changed for the worst, like Central City and Black Hawk, two towns just west of Denver that today are mere caricatures of themselves after legalizing gambling.
Tuesday, May 9, 2017
I ran across the above photo the other day while I was looking through a box of old photographs. It was taken of Bruce (on the left), who was the Assistant Manager of the long gone Hatch's Bookstore at University Hills Mall, and my friend Stuart (on the right), who worked at Hatch's part-time. Stuart, as regular Blog readers know, is featured on this Blog frequently, still going strong, and so I thought it would be fun to feature one of his baby photos. Bruce went on to get a degree in archaeology, got a job with the Wyoming Highway Department, and has never been heard from since (Warning to people thinking about moving to Wyoming: THIS HAPPENS A LOT). The occasion of the photograph was the wedding of Ingrid, another Hatch employee. Ingrid told us that she was marrying a lawyer who sings on the side. My sister Susan, who also worked at Hatch's, wanted to know if that meant he sang out of the side of his mouth. Always a wisenheimer, that Susan.
Monday, May 8, 2017
It's May, and today we feature the dog of the month. I have chosen this particular dog because it is the only one I have seen tied up in front of the bookstore where I work over the past month or so, despite the very pleasant temperatures (and yes, my standards are indeed pretty low). So what's the deal with these dog owners, anyway? Are they still in hibernation? Wake up, man! It's spring, for God's sake - it hit 86 degrees the other day. Get those pooches out there! I need photos.
Sunday, May 7, 2017
I didn't think I would be watching the Kentucky Derby this year, since I had to work at my part-time job at a local Denver grocery store all day yesterday. But happily the race took place during my lunch hour, and I was able to watch the entire thing on the wide screen television in the store's break room. The winner was Always Dreaming, who at 9 to 4 odds was the favorite. And no, that is not the winning horse in the photograph on the left. I took that particular photo as the horses were heading to the starting gate, and I thought that the colors displayed were much nicer than the winning horse. You have to have your priorities, after all.
The race took place on a very muddy track, and I assume it had been raining pretty heavily earlier. I suspect, for this year at least, it was much better watching the race on television instead of actually being there. I have always liked the Kentucky Derby because it reminds me of back when my parents hosted Kentucky Derby parties with our relatives and friends each year. My father would cut the names of the horses out of the newspaper, put them in a hat, and then each person would put in their money and pick two horses out of the hat without looking. The winner would get the pot, of course, and everyone had a good time. This year, by the way, I was rooting for Patch, an underdog with only one eye. Lucky thing I wasn't there to bet on her.
Saturday, May 6, 2017
What a difference a week makes. Last Saturday it snowed all day, and this Saturday it will be in the 80s, with more of the same tomorrow. The other evening I stopped off at Denver's Washington Park after work, and the place was crowded with people taking a late afternoon walk or bicycle ride. The neighborhoods around Wash Park are very trendy, not to mention expensive. I myself live fairly close to the park, and the tax assessment on my condo has doubled over the past year. Oh joy. It reminds me of a co-worker who lives in the Highlands neighborhood, which is the most desirable neighborhood in Denver among the young and trendy set. It is filled with new condos, restaurants, and boutiques, and it is almost impossible to find a parking spot there. She has lived in her house there most of her life. It used to be a downtrodden part of the city, with crack houses on nearly every block. But the taxes on her place were low low low. Now that it has become such a hot spot, property taxes have gone through the roof. She now longs for the days when it was filled with those crack houses. The good old days.
Friday, May 5, 2017
I stopped at Washington Park the other day on my way home from work at a local Denver bookstore and took a few photographs, including the one above of the sunset over one of Washington Park's several lakes. As I have said on many occasions, Roddy - my old (he is the same age as I am) University of Denver photography professor - insists that sunset photos are cliches and not worth taking. I strongly disagree. And besides, Roddy is from Scotland, and the Scottish are weird. I think it has something to do with the lousy climate up there.
Thursday, May 4, 2017
I ran across the above photograph while going through a box of old photos the other day. It shows my ex-wife Lisa feeding the seagulls at the pier near my parents (and now my sister and my) condo down in Stuart, Florida. Lisa and I were on vacation down in Stuart, and during that trip - I think - we had gone to Stuart Beach to see the locals help newly hatched turtles make their way to the sea. Afterwards we had dinner at Two Guys Pizza, which, by the way, has not been around now for many many years. It was a good trip, filled with happy memories. My sister and I still own the condo, thank God, and hopefully it - and all our memories - will stay with us as long as we are around.
Wednesday, May 3, 2017
As I have mentioned before on this Blog, the pool at my condo building is once again open after being closed for 3 years. The HOA finally realized that it would cost far more to get rid of it than fix the leak it had, and it is now open, and open far earlier than it used to be. In the past, building management waited until classes were over at the University of Denver, located just across the street, due to the propensity of some student residents to dive off the balconies of the building into the pool and seriously injure themselves. Of course, to be honest, I have lived in this building 30 years and have never gone in the pool once. But still, my condo's balcony is right over it, and it is very pleasant to just stand at the railing and look down over it. And therefore, as far as I am concerned, the money fixing it was well spent. Now bring on summer!
Tuesday, May 2, 2017
I just finished reading The Kennedy Connection, by R. G. Belsky. I had read an advance reading copy of his latest mystery novel, Blonde Ice, last fall, and liked it, and decided to read the Kennedy Connection, the first book in the series. The books feature a hard-boiled New York newspaper reporter named Gil Malloy, and I thought the Kennedy Connection was very well done, too. It centers on a series of murders that seem to be connected to the Kennedy assassination over a half century ago. I strongly recommend that you run out immediately and buy a copy of this book at your local bookstore, no matter the hour. If it is closed, just hang out. I am sure it will open soon.
Monday, May 1, 2017
I drove to Coors Field Saturday morning to buy tickets to the Colorado Rockies-Chicago Cubs game next week for my friends Stuart, Mark, and myself. I walked out into a spring snowstorm, and found 5 inches of snow on my car. Nothing unusual - our last snowfall in Denver is usually sometime in May - but it is still disconcerting. I have attended baseball games in the snow before, and it is not a fun experience. I just hope that the weather next Tuesday night will not look like the photograph on the left.
And for all you baseball fans out there, the North Side Chicago Cubs and South Side Chicago White Sox have identical 13-10 records, which puts the Cubs in first place and the White Sox a mere half game out of first. And none other than the Colorado Rockies are 16 and 10 and have the second best record in all of baseball. Is this going to be the year all three teams make the playoffs? Well, as the photograph on the right shows, there is still snow on the ground in a lot of places, which means it is still very early in the season. Much too early to tell, but it does seem highly unlikely. But isn't pretty to think?