Labor Day Weekend in Denver. Friday we did a three mile run without stopping, maybe we are getting acclimated??? We make dinner for Matt & Claire prior to Matt bicycling to the first of three Phish concerts this weekend. He has attended all of their local concerts for 15 years. Saturday we stayed home, finishing our last blog, doing crosswords and preparing to host nephew Jonathan Steen, wife Jolene and their four boys, twins Jolin & Elden, Jonathan and Claude Earl Steen IV or Tad. We grill eight T-bone steaks and mushrooms with corn on the cob and salad. This was a great night with a family that we love dearly. Sunday morning we go to The Denver Science Museum with Matt and Mae Louise. This is a great museum with a lot of interactive activities for kids of all ages. Matt and Claire are members and they know the museum well.
On Monday, Labor day, we go to the Denver zoo with Matt and Mae again, They also seem to know the zoo quite well and Mae has her favorite animals to visit. We each got a turn on the merry-go-round with Mae.
Labor Day evening we again prepare dinner on our deck so that Matt and Claire can spend some time with cousins Joel and Lacey Steen. After Labor Day we have only two more weeks in Denver and they have flown by. We have spent our days mostly indoors after early morning runs as the mid day sun here is intense and temperatures have been in the 90’s. The weekend after Labor Day we rent a car and drive to Vail to meet our “perfect stranger” friend Melissa Conlon. We had a great time with Melissa having lunch and exploring Vail. We did not have time to hike up the mountain but we did take in Octoberfest enjoying some very good German Beer. We then drove to Alma Colorado where Sandy’s second cousin Helen lives with her husband Gene Morse. We have visited them here a few years ago and were looking forward to Gene’s homemade Margaritas. He did not disappoint. We spent two nights with them, doing a 7.5 mile walk from their house going by a beautiful reservoir and ending at an abandoned silver mine just over 11,000 feet elevation.
The fall colors are just starting and Colorado is beautiful. After our walk we drove 15 minutes to Breckenridge and enjoyed a very busy active Octoberfest scene there.
We returned home to Denver Sunday morning to spend three days with daughter Emily who had flown in From Portland Oregon to participate in part of a weeklong Steen family reunion. We had dinner Sunday night with her cousins Joel and Lacey. Monday morning we had breakfast with Emily, brother Claude, his wife Donna and son Jonathon. That evening we prepared another dinner at home for Matt, Claire & Emily. Emily was a great help with these meals. Tuesday September 11 was Mae’s third birthday and we spent the evening partying with her before going to Joel and Lacey’s home so that Emily could see brother David and his wife Lynn before she flew home Wednesday morning.
On Thursday we drove to Estes Park with David, Lynn, Joel and Lacey for an exhilarating 7 mile hike in Rocky Mountain National Park. It was a perfectly clear day with comfortable weather and spectacular views and fall colors.
Friday evening we had dinner with all of the Steen’s who were in Denver with the exception of Matt & his family but we also included a second cousin from our maternal side Ben Gomez and his two boys.
Saturday morning Sandy found out that one of her “Sole Sisters” who lives in Washington State just happened to be in town and we made hurried arrangements to meet her for coffee.
On Saturday afternoon we all met again at Jon & Jolene’s place in Elizabeth Colorado, about one hour from Denver. Sunday morning we had one last breakfast together as Matt & Claire had been unable to make any of the others.
Sunday evening was our last night in Denver and we took care of Mae and Camden while Matt and Claire went out to dinner to celebrate their first wedding anniversary.
What a great four weeks with family. We arrived on Matt’s 40th birthday, celebrated Mae’s 3rd birthday, watched Camden double in age, celebrated their anniversary and spent some quality time with a lot of other relatives and friends. We now return to Boston for three days and then on to Italy for three months.
Some definitions from above. “Perfect Strangers” is a book that Sandy read after the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings telling about how Bostonians helped out all of the stranded runners by taking them into their homes, loaning them phones to call worried loved ones or just giving them directions. After that date we have made it a point to try and make friends with Marathon runners and invite them to our pre and post marathon parties. We have done this twice and have become very close with Kelly Leonard from Newport Beach, CA and Melissa Conlon from Ft. Collins, CO. Our two “perfect strangers” have met each other and become friends independently. They have both been in a prior blog titled On to London.
“Sole Sisters” refers to a group of Sandy’s female running friends ranging in age from 30’s to 70’s who not only run and party together, but they have also traveled the world together. They first met in 2010 when Sandy was training for the Athens Marathon. They have become very close and maintained the friendship over the years even though Dana has moved to Washington state, Susan moved to India and Sandy is all over the world.