Sunday, February 27, 2011

National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder CO

Time for a field trip! This time without the big yellow school bus and brown paper bag lunch. A field trip that even adults will find enlightening. The National Center for Atmospheric Research is situated high on Table Mesa Drive in Boulder, Colorado, and is a federally funded research center to study climates and atmosphere.
The goal of the NCAR is to educate people on the systems and atmosphere of the earth, how they change over time, and how we can help improve the environment. The scientists that are employed here, research atmospheric chemistry, climate, storms and interactions between the sun and earth.
Admission is free for everyone, and there are guided tours at noon everyday. If you can’t make noon, no problem, you can do a self-guided tour, but if your noon hour is open M-F, I would suggest hopping on.
You will have the chance to explore exhibits and expand your knowledge on tornadoes and other weather patterns. Catch a glimpse of some of the world’s largest super computers that store all of the dated collected. Grab some fresh air and take a stroll on the Walter Orr Robert Weather Trail, right outside the building. About a .5-mile walk, with different landmarks along the way, about the weather and climate of the area has encountered. Brown clouds, climate zones, fire, flooding, snow, ultraviolet light, and the list go on.
Leaning about the atmosphere is entertaining, and it’s our atmosphere, so lets soak it up.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Bryan and Baxter Haunted Tour

What’s that you say? Halloween is over? Well that doesn’t mean the Halloween tales end, they are always in season with Bryan and Baxter. The daunting duo flaunt their lime green ties, and stark black jackets to bring you a tour bus filled with energetic people and sangria. And best of all, stories about Denver hauntings and history, and their experiences behind it all.
They come from the Rocky Mountain Paranormal Research Society, and distinguish themselves differently than ghost hunters because they look at the investigations with a scientific approach and never fabricate stories. Just the facts, and hoping for some eerie experiences along the way.
They bring tales of possible ghosts behind the walls at the Croke Patterson Mansion, in the ground of Cheesman Park, behind the doors of the old Children’s Hospital, and many other places that have experienced reports of paranormal activity.
Like the now vacant Children’s Hospital (Downing and Ogden Streets) of Denver, where they spent the night in search of ghosts, before it was torn down. Despite freezing temperatures inside, they wanted to investigate the tales of spooky experiences. They did catch some mysterious noises on tape and saw toys moving with no one nearby.
They do their research, and reveal that the Croke Patterson Mansion may be one of the most haunted places in Colorado. The mansion doesn’t have luck keeping the same owner or residents. The history books have it that the first owner, Thomas Croke, bought the mansion, entered once and never again went back because he had such a frightful experience.
The next guy in line, Thomas Patterson, sold the mansion after he and his family encountered some out of the norm paranormal experiences. Later the not so humble abode, turned into an apartment complex then office buildings and is now sitting big and empty. No one is in line to buy the mansion. ..yet! Who knows how long it will remain available, especially when you hear that employees report that their typewriters, copy machines and phones somehow operated by themselves.
Getting off the bus again, to walk around Cheesman Park, Denver’s first cemetery, it was time for the next ghost story. A fellow by the name of E.P. McGovern was hired to take all of the underground caskets and move them to a different cemetery for nearly two dollars a piece. Now, this was in 1893, so quite the chunk of change for those days. But to make even more money, McGovern dispersed a single body over multiple caskets.
There are still reports from houses near the park of spirits knocking on their doors that are overcome with confusion, possibly because pieces of their corpses were separated, and now they are discom’bod’ulated. And some people have heard people talking but no one to be seen.
Whether you believe these reports are fact or fiction, Bryan and Baxter chat up energetic tales through the night, and sprinkle in some fabulous history along the way, brining you that much closer to Denver’s rich history.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Fill'er Up Coffee Station

I could feel that it was about time to fill up the cup after a day of nothing but snow. I was at the point where I might have gone for a Styrofoam cup and coffee that could have even been brewed eight hours ago...stale. Well the Fill’er Up Coffee Station in Midway Utah screeched the brakes on that one and welcomed me to come on in!
If national, this place would give the McCafĂ©s and Starbucks of the world a run for their coffee beans! It was refreshing to have some spunk in more than just my coffee cup. I didn’t leave feeling like I was ready to mediate and tune out for the night, I was energized and ready to trek down on that snow!
The husband and wife team of this coffee shop renovated a 1930’s gas station and kept the theme to make the shop stick out! The gas pumps are still there and even Old VW bug driving out of the garage. That’s vintage, and so is all of the memorabilia that decorate the inside!
Get your coffee any way you like it, or maybe a sandwich, or perhaps ice cream and you will find you will eagerly get yourself back here to fill’er up again and again!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Ice Castles in Midway Utah

The imagination of one Utah resident has brought in thousands who are eager to see his art. Brent Christensen has taken farming to an unheard of level, and it all starts with icicles that he harvests and grows by adding water from sprinklers. They turn into ice castles growing 20 tons a night and can reach to the skies up to twenty feet high.

Harvesting 1,000 to 2,00 icicles a day, Christensen now has thirty distinctive towers, adding icicles where he sees fit. There is no supporting substructure; every element you see is made solely with ice castles.

By night, lights are turned on inside the castles making me feel like I was in the Renaissance era. The two largest towers have paths carved through them so you can really get an inside look at these masterpieces and the deep blue color that reflects naturally.

Now I now, it there was anywhere to be frozen in time, it’s at the Ice Castles!

*The cost is 5.00 per adult, 3.00 for kids and is located at 100 N. 200 West in Midway

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Sundance Film Festival

The curtains to the 2011 Sundance Film Festival have fallen, but you bet your golden tickets that the planning for 2012 is rolling at speeds more than quadrupole the speed of the projectors that highlight some of the most noted films.

It is far out until next years festival, but it's never too late to start thinking about yourself being one of the first to see a screening to a movie that will be premiered by some of the top filmmakers.

Sundace has the reputation behind it. Reasons being it is the largest independent film festival in the United States. It has been the break out for people like Quentin Tarantino and films like Little Miss Sunshine, Super Troopers, Garden State and Napoleon Dynamite.

And it all started in 1978 in Salt Lake City Utah, headed by a company owned by Robert Redford. The majority of the festival was later moved to Park City Utah and now takes place annually in January, an ideal time for the cool weather and slick slopes.

Well thanks to this kid, and his crew Park City sparkles as one of the brightest cities.

This year brought 200 films in 10 days and throngs of anxious fans, producers, actors and cinematographers all over the main street of Park City.

I'll see you at the box office!

And one more thing...if you ever have the million dollar question of where the name Sundance originated from, don't assume the Sundance Mountain. If you want the buzzer to make money fall...the answer is after Robert Redford's character, "The Sundance Kid."

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Miley and me

I walked upstairs completely oblivious to who would soon be my absolute best bud for the next 24 hours. I kept my line in sight right in front of, walking completely past miss Miley. My sister laughed, I questioned her, she pointed, and I melted. I didn’t want to get attached to quickly, so I tried to keep my distance. I walked away, turned back, walked a step forward, turned, and I was toas as I scooped up this yellow lab puppy who had my undivided attention for the day while my sister dog sat.
But there was a problem. You see, she had everyone’s undivided attention that came across her. Everyone wanted to hold her, smooch her, talk to her, play catch with her! Ohh and when this pup plays catch, she catches air too. She leaps and jumps high for that ball, and wrestles it to the ground, then sprints to an opposite corner, leaves it and struts away like nothing happened. And looks up at you with those wide eyes.
I have never fallen in love with anything quite so quickly and surely. I had a good friend of mine try to convince me to get a dog. I never considered it because I was afraid it would eat my homework...and my shoes, heaven forbid!
But I really do now see how a dog is man’s best friend, or any animal for that matter. But I tell you, Miley was loved by everyone right away. You would hug her, and she would stick out her tongue at you! Of course only to lick your cheek. I guess she might of liked us too! I know if she was mine, we would stick together like rama lama lama, cuz that’s just the way it should be!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Breakfast on Broadway

There is something especially sweet about mom and pop types of restaurants. And Breakfast on Broadway, right off South Broadway as one might guess, definitely has all the right ingredients. A cozy atmosphere which has black and white photos blanketing the walls with the historic touch of Broadway. And combined with this is a friendly staff and a menu that is almost impossible to decide from because you want it all, and even the customers really make an impression. It seems rare to meet a customer in a restaurant that inspires you. Well I didn’t exactly meet this customer, but he was definitely the pay-it-forward type. Something most could do a little more of.

When it came time to pay the bill, our waitress started to tell us about a regular they have here. I thought, I could totally relate! I figured I soon wanted to be a regular here. She continued to tell us that he chooses one table about every week, and picks up their tab. I instantly thought what a great idea, and started scanning the customers to see who he might have picked and if we could get a front row seat to see the happiness spill across their face! Maybe balloons would fall from the ceiling all over the table, and the wait staff would cover them in confetti.

“And you guys are who he chose. He is a single guy who works in construction and is of course just a really nice guy.” I couldn’t believe that we had been chosen! Not that it was even about the money, or the feeling of winning something (ok maybe a little, I do go a little nuts when I win a raffle) but the thought that goes along with something like that and the ability to keep on doing it.

I wanted to meet this kind man, but we wee informed he was no longer here. Well I tell you, one of the most common questions people ask is if you could meet ANYONE who would you meet? Oh gosh, how about Nelson Mandela, Rubin Carter (the hurricane) or my Grandma! But this guy was definitely added to my list. I want to know how and why he started paying-it-forward, maybe he was really inspired by something someone did for me. I would also ask if it was too late to get another round of green tea, and the lemon poppy seed French toast (Just kidding!)

I am not telling you this to suggest you go and try to win the kindness that we did, although it completely made over my day. And of course the butternut squash pancakes and Oscar eggs Benedict (asparagus, crab, and of course hollandaise sauce) definitely added a spike! But the real treat was how much a simple random act of kindness, makes you wonder what you could do for someone. Maybe it’s not picking up someone’s tab…but time is money! I could perhaps help scrape off someone’s windshield in honor off the last snowstorm we had?! And you don’t have to decide right now, but it fun to think about isn’t it?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Hit The Refresh Button on Colorado Legislation!

At sunrise I had a feeling it was going to be another good day. Now that it’s five hours past sunset I look back on the day and realize it was more than just a good day. And not just because I looked up in the press area of the state capitol and there was Ed McCaffrey, just like that!
Knowledge is power. I have more of a grasp on the Colorado Legislature than I did when my alarm shook off the nightstand. The U.S. history I learned during school was obviously replaced! What’s a girl to do? Just brush up and keep the questions coming!
CSU day brought me to the capitol to support my alma mater, because well it just matters! Different programs, projects and colleges cam to catch the support of legislators, or anyone that could possibly get them the support of higher education.
The crowds were congregating outside the House and Senate Chambers, so I got in on the buzz. I felt left out, nine out of ten people had on blue name tags, outlined with white lettering. Where could I get mine?! Well that would require me to register as a lobbyist, and of course have a purpose behind lobbying. Not in the cards today, it was time to get to the bottom of the capitol workings.
I got familiar with the layout, basically the first floor is all things Governor, his office, and committees. Hick was most likely in a meeting, so I hit the second floor.
The House and Senate Chambers are here. Every day, while in session from the beginning of January to May, for 120 days, it’s time for Senators and Representatives of the House to get busy on the bills that have been drafted and could be come laws. The chambers are closed to the public, but on my next stop to the third level, I could overlook the chambers and listen in.
I thought I was out for the day, but I started talking, which resulted in more questions. I found that the Committee Hearings are open to the public…well time to pay the parking meter for the second time and stay awhile. Well one hearing, turned to three! And I was at the parking meter once again rummaging for quarters, dimes, nickels!
And this buzz goes on M-F for 120 days, which makes up the legislative session. Looks like I have my new spot in town. Someone hit the refresh button on Colorado government, and now next time I go back I will fill up the brain just a little more and a little more after that!
Of course M-F’s are the hot days to go, but if you ever want to mysteriously develop a cough, a cold, or even the flu…it’s a great way to spend it at the Sate Capitol and get that insight back on our government. Or maybe you are one of the lucky ones who never lost! If not, you will soon learn which Senator or House Representative represents your district, what bills are on the schedule and a little of the workings on lobbyists. So I lobby for you, get to the capitol and see the traditions that go all the way back to our Founding Fathers.

Solider Hollow Snowshoeing

When you have a hefty handful of places to decide where to snowshoe in Utah, how do you ever decide? At least you really can’t go wrong, especially if you choose to snowshoe across history at Soldier Hallow. I marched myself right over to join the ranks. After all, if you are on the same grounds that qualified to host the Olympics, you don’t need to question if you are on solid ground, you are on gold medal winning territory. Even today National Championships and World Cups are still held here.

Most can associate the history of the place when you learn that the biathlon and cross-country skiing for the 2002 Olympics were held here…and if that’s not enough… it was once a site for Native American Encampment in the 1850’s. And now, you can catch the Heber Valley Pow-wow here in the summer! It’s your chance to get up close to Native American art, traditions and dance, and of course hear some stories! And I hear the fry bread is dynamite!

But with it being winter and all, we had our own pow-wow with the fresh pow pow. Snowshoes strapped in, following trails, sometimes wandering off trails, up mountains and on unclaimed powder this was an adventure that was just calling Carri.

And I know the next adventure to be had here will be on cross-country skis for the actual 5k course in the Olympics. I am sure if the Olympians were racing, I would be lapped, a few times. However, it’s just about the experience, the rush and feeling some of the American Pride circulating right on through you! I’ll salute to that. 

Monday, February 7, 2011

Toby Keith's I Love This Bar

Toby Keith’s new restaurant and bar finishes the sentence for us, the full name is “Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar And Grill.” It’s named after it ever so popular song “I love This Bar.” But it’s not just about the 85 –foot-long guitar shaped bar, and the beer served in mason jars, it’s about the food too, which has it’s own touch.

You will find fried Twinkies, fried bologna sandwiches, cowboy burgers, blue nachos…but no French fries here! You notice there’s a patriotic theme here so naturally, they become freedom fries! And yep, he is so patriotic that if you are an American Solider, you get a burger for free when you show your military I.D.

Toby Keith’s memorabilia lines the walls, a mechanical bull is ready to buck you off, and a dance floor with music five nights a week Tuesday through Saturday…and twice a month there will be a national show in attendance! Bleu Edmonson drew me in on a Tuesday night, and I was back just a few nights later for Randy Hauser!

And you best get your fix in Denver, or take your friends because there are only four “Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar and Grill,” in the nation. The song talks about the bar where all types of people are found, from cowboys, truckers, hustlers and even fighters. And in the end you might head out too singing:

I love this bar
It’s my kind of place
Just walkin’ through the front door
Puts a big smile on my face
It ain’t too far, come as you are
Hmm, hmm, hmm, I love this bar.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Denver Big Air

Denver Big Air was everything it said it would be. Some of the worlds best ski and snowboard athletes from across the nation threw out everything they had tucked up their sleeves and landed some insane tricks. And right in Civic Center Park, which brought in an urban setting with the capitol building ahead of you and the Civic Center building to your back that was screaming fluorescent colors all night.
The custom built ramp was 101 feet tall, 300 feet long and 80 feet wide. This was a serious show, and brought in a serious crowd, and tricks that are hard to even say without stumbling. So one skier got the audiences attention and earned our applause by throwing out a double cork 1260-degree spin with a mute grab. But the crowd was anything but mute after he landed that. YAAHAHAA!!
And aside from skiing, the parked housed the LG FIS World Cup Snowboard Big Air, the first time for the U.S. Part competitions have been held in the in Moscow, Barcelona, Quebec, Seoul an London. It’s about time Denver took a bite.
Swithfoot and One Republic performed to top off the evening. A concert in the winter snow combined to make this seem like the most exciting winter wonderland you could imagine!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Beyers Evans House

A historic home sits in the shadow of the Denver Art Museum, but it’s history shines more light than any building. Built in 1883, the elegant Beyers Evans House is located on the corner of Bannock and 13th Avenue is named after two of Denver’s most influential characters, William Byers and Gary Evans.

These two men were so influential that the Colorado Historical Society spent nearly 1.5 million to renovate the home that was donated from the Evans family around 1982. William Byers, the publisher and founder of the Rocky Mountain News, started the paper to spread the word about the great city of Denver that he knew was ready to prosper. After living there for six years, he sold the home to his friend Gary Evans in 1889.

Evans also had an agenda to put Denver on the map. He did so by establishing Union Station and expanding the tramway from Wyoming to Denver, because without it how could this city ever be discovered?!

The house is a discovery in itself. Restored from the time period of 1912 to 1924, the home displays original furnishings inside. As you study old games, pictures, art, radios, kitchen utensils, you know they are truly historic. You may wonder what the conversations were like at dinner, what brought this family the most joy, the most stress and closet together. And you know exactly who slept in the beds, brushed their hair with the combs, turned the butter churner or lined up the toy soldiers. That seemed to be the most magical part.

Tour guides bring in energy and will guide and engage you by telling you with interesting stories and fun facts they have learned along the way. And you never know who might show up…maybe some of the lineage of Gary Evans. Some of his family line is still in the Denver area and may show up on a tour to offer more stories about a home that kept two people that helped get Denver on its way.

*Tours are offered Tuesday through Sunday starting at 11:30 and take of every hour from there until 2:30!
The house is located at 310 Bannock Street.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Gregg Rolie

TRIVIA TIME! Who was one of the founding members in the bands Santana, Journey, and The Storm? Tick Tock… Here is another clue. He is a keyboardist, organist, and singer. Need on more hint? If I was a friend of his, I would call him roly poly, but spell it rolie polie. Okay okay…it’s Gregg Rolie and I had the excitement to see him play in Denver.
At the time, I didn’t know his credentials or background or that he had such a stunning beard. He was playing at a convention and I stumbled in. Once he started singing, and keyboarding, I was a fan quicker than someone could suggest I would be on Facebook.
I moved up closer to the stage to find out who this extraordinaire was. Gregg Rolie. And it’s not wonder he was inducted into the Rock ‘N Roll Hall of Fame in 1998. He has the stage presence, the look and the personality. From his Santana and Journey days, he has gone on to create his own band, the Gregg Rolie Band.
His band is composed of 4 musicians, 2 from Santana. They bring out something familiar from Santana but still distinguished enough as something that has it’s own distinct flair, rhythm and beats.
Proof that sometimes you just need to reinvent the wheel a little bit and something great can still be achieved every time.