Monday, January 31, 2011

01_29_2011 New lighting --> New paint --> New Blinds --> ??

You know how home improvements go...add one thing and the outdated nature of some other thing becomes clear. Replace that item it and it reveals something that requires additional attention. And so on...

So, the new fireplace was installed and looks amazing. One of the latent consequences of it though is it somehow highlighted the fan. THAT fan. The one in our entry way (who puts a fan in an entryway?) that is dark, old, dirty and just an eyesore. It was like low-hanging rotten fruit.

This happened at the same time there was some frustration expressed by Dave (aka melt down) regarding the lighting situation in his office (cave?) downstairs. There are two bedrooms downstairs. The builder didn't feel that bedrooms should have actual lights in them. That's right, no light on the ceiling. Nothing. Well, each room does have a tiny sconce directly above the light switch by the door. Let me tell you, it's about as good as no light. This clearly needed some attention.

Standing at the doorway of Dave's office gave us clear view of the problem in the Den: Very poor lighting. At the the builder put a light in the ceiling - one small globe light. No more. The night light in the wall throws more light than it does!

So new fireplace --> new lighting (This equation has transitive properties as it applies to rooms not near the fireplace).

We headed to the home improvement store and bought several new lighting fixtures. I'd been ogling some of the lights for a couple of years. Then our friend Phil (owner of Nuance Lighting here in Boulder) came over and did the work.

**I have to apologize here for failing to take photos lots of before photos. Happily Phil had taken a few** The ugly icky ceiling fan along with the dark wood beam-thingy on the ceiling were removed (revealing some scary paint colors underneath). Now there is a simple brushed nickle entry way light. And it dims. Very nice. This install was tricky as it involved existing three-way switches that didn't act that way. One switch with power didn't seem to go anywhere. After some detective work and updating of some connections, things were again sensible and safe.

The scary paint color revealed beneath the mystery wood on the ceiling was sort of the color of coffee...dirty coffee. Thus, the next equation is:

New lighting --> new paint.

I started painting the entry way. Wow - it's looks good and what a work out. I found a muscle in my rump that is not used in climbing or riding or walking or anything except painting it seems.

Because the entryway is sort of connected to the living room, it was clear I needed to continue the paint into the living room. We didn't realize how gray the old color was. Bleck. It's really bright and fresh now. This step of course revealed the next equation:

New paint --> New window blinds.

Happily, only one new blind. Again it's been a mystery to us why one of four windows in the living room had chocolate colored blinds while the other three were white. Well, it's white now and it is amazing looking. We wonder why we waited so long.

The next room that Phil tackled was the den. Out went the tiny dim globe (any one in the market for a globe? Haha) and in went some very cool and bright track lighting (with dimmer - all the lights have dimmers here now).

The bird's room got a new contemporary sconce. And the next big room that was tackled was Dave's office. A new sconce was installed, a new closet light wired and installed and even better, track lights were installed in his room. His office looked bigger - but we knew it'd be even better if:

New Lighting fixtures --> New blinds

And the den, bird's room and Dave's office look much better now. Well, except for the dingy paint on the ceiling. Ugh. Back to the earlier equation:

New lighting --> New paint.

Yesterday after climbingI painted the ceiling in the den. Now the ceiling looks great, but the walls... Color is being selected now for the den and the bird's room. Dave is still holding strong saying his room is okay paint wise.

I wonder where this updating contagion will end?


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Monday, January 24, 2011

01_13 to 18_2011 Mom and Rachel Visit CO

Mom and Rachel decided to come to Boulder for a visit. When asked what they wanted to do, they didn't respond with any suggestions. That gave me full ability to do what I wanted. They are lucky that I'm so nice...I didn't have us embarking on a hiking bonanza or a four day bike tour. Hee hee.

First up was some time at the Essentials Spa in town. Each of us were scheduled for a signature facial. For some reason, even when faced with this, they both continued to look like they were awaiting sentences for some heinous crime. After the facial, we had professional make up application then headed to Sherpas Restaurant for a nice lunch.

Another event I had planned was for us to attend our very first Afternoon Tea. I made reservations at the St. Julien Hotel and it was great fun. Excellent tea, atmosphere, food items, etc. I look forward to doing this again!

Enough with the classy stuff, we did some sight-seeing too. Not just your average sight-seeing, but the sort that one shouldn't really own up to. :/ We drove up four-mile canyon and looked at some of the burned acreage. Very sad. We ended our trip in Gold Hill and stopped in the Cafe for some hot chocolate. It's actually only my second time there the first being a couple of years ago when Dave and I mountain-biked up there. It's really great that the fire-fighters were able to save Gold Hill.

Another stop on our sight-seeing tour by car was to drive by the home where Jon Benet Ramsey was murdered. I hadn't been by it though I'd driven nearby several times. Grim.

No tour in Boulder would be complete without a stop at Chautauqua Park to get a photo of the Flat Irons. Doesn't everyone who comes to Boulder have this photo? It's for a good reason that we all have it - it's beautiful.

Another stop was one for my Dad. 30 years ago or so he ate at a restaurant in Denver (actually Lakewood) he remembered being very unusual. We looked it up and headed out one's the amazing Casa Bonita! It was definitely unusual. People diving off faux cliffs and other assorted things. I hear a man dressed in a gorilla suit goes around and is angry. I'm happy I didn't see him. I don't think I would have liked it. It was bizarre - a bit of a child's Vegas place in the Denver area. Who knew?

And finally, no trip here would be complete without some climbing. Off to the plastic palace we went. Mom declined the opportunity to scale the walls, but Rachel gave it a try. First we took the slide from upstairs to down, then she did her first every rock climbing. I *think* she liked it. I hope she found it fun.

I think those were some of the highlights from their trip. It was good having them here. Hopefully they'll want to come again one day.

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01_24_2011 New Fireplace!!!

Okay, maybe not the biggest news to you, but we are really excited to have a new gas fireplace put in the living room. Not only is this thing cool-looking, but it's really warm. We run it a little bit when we get up, and a while in the evening and the house is comfortable.

While getting it installed was a tremendo-pain, it's been worth it. (It doesn't hurt that my memory of dealing with IDIOTS fades quickly). Ha! One thing is certain, it's an excellent home improvement worth celebrating!

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01_24_2011 Winter scenery

Again, though beyond - busy, Dave has managed to get out and get some really pretty photos of the area.

While these show a lot of snow/ice, we have really enjoyed a very mild winter. There have been two snows where we got dumped on, but it is melted away days later.

It's nice he's been able to capture some of these images. And it's nice that we've had mostly a lot of nearly 50 degree days!

Not much else to add about these images except that we hope you enjoy them.

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01_24_2011 Winter Bird Photos

It's been crazy busy around here. Lots of work. Lots of play. Still more work. Deadlines getting away. Ugh. Nonetheless, Dave has found some time to get some nice photos we thought you'd enjoy seeing.

What a beautiful Red-Tailed Hawk! This is the first bird shown. I love the way he is looking at the camera and how beautiful his feathers are. Very pretty.

This winter has offered a special treat - a Townsends Solitaire. She is pictured second and last in these photos. These birds generally stay in higher elevations, but this winter, this bird has been visiting us daily. They are generally found alone (hence the name). She (not sure really if it is a male or female) generally shows a little after 7am to get a drink. And some days she comes back for some additional drinking. These birds eat berries so she must have found a nice source nearby. It'll be sort of sad when she moves back up the mountains when it starts warming.

No collection of bird photos in the this area would be complete without the ubiquitous Red-Shafted Northern Flicker (third bird). I like this photo of this male. He has clearly been napping and just pulled his bill out from the warmth of his wing/back feathers to take a look at the camera. He even has a 'groggy' look about him. Cute!

The fourth photo shows a couple of European Starlings. Considered a heinous pest by many, yet I like them. They did not ask to be brought to this country! But brought they were and they are terribly successful. Of course, this comes at the cost of native birds (they are pretty aggressive). I wish they'd adopt more peaceful ways, but one can't deny how beautiful they are fresh after a molt. By the time Spring comes, the tips of their feathers will have worn off giving them the more commonly seen glossy black look.

Up nest, a common American Robin. Common, but still quite pretty. This bird is a female (note ash colored head versus a black head found on males). Not much to say about them except to note they are pretty in their own right.

And finally, a groovy little sprite - a Red-Breasted Nuthatch. I love these little birds and their wispy feathers. They are fast too - happily Dave caught this one sitting still for a nice portrait.


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