Today was mostly a day with members of my family–my aunt and uncle, who emigrated from Germany to Boulder in the mid-60s, and their children. But we started out with a leisurely morning walk in our own neighborhood, where there are two small, manicured lakes with nice walking paths around it and even a nearby bird preservation area, although we didn’t see anything except some red-winged blackbirds. But on the way back to the house we did see a prairie dog very close by!
We got back around 10 am (it was just a little more than a mile walk), and drove the 15 minutes to Boulder. My aunt and uncle, Karin and Peter, hadn’t seen me in at least 2 years (we can’t quite decide when we were last here, 2015 or 2014!) and were very happy to show us around their garden (huge vegetable and flower garden, which they maintain alongside another one at a house that they are renting). Their own house, a small but beautiful classic “Boulder home” from the early 1900s, has not changed in decades, and as we do every time, we admired the functioning and used Bakelite rotary telephone in their living room. We sat in the back yard for a while, also chatting with Benjamin, their grandson, who is doing a lot of hours of (paid) yard work for them in the summer. My aunt is 87, my uncle 79 or 80 (not quite sure), and they are slowing down a little bit, although my aunt controls what is going on in the garden with an iron fist, and is in fabulous shape for her age.
Peter then drove us up the canyon on their favorite road, Magnolia (steep but with beautiful views), and after a brief stop by a site where their son, my cousin Florian, is working on the foundation for an A-frame he is going to rent out, we went to their favorite restaurant, the Kathmandu, which serves an Indian buffet (as well as actual Nepalese dishes, but they are not part of the buffet line-up). We had lovely food and then drove to Eldora, the old mining town and now ski resort where they have had a cabin since the early 1990s. A lot of the cabins here are very old, some (like my aunt and uncle’s) converted miner’s log houses, and when I first came, there was no running water and a lovely old outhouse. A few years ago, they got a well and running water, and as of this year, Eldora mandated that all homes have to have a septic system. So they proudly showed us how well theirs is hidden under a rock garden; the inside of the cabin still needs the bathroom that would go with all of this newfangled water-in-water-out idea, but that depends on when Florian can make time to put it all in. From the cabin, we took a little walk to the nearby creek, which is a rushing mountain stream with some quiet spots, and we all sat on rocks and stuck our feet in. If I can still do that at 87, I’ll be a happy camper! From a bridge over the creek, we spotted a hummingbird hovering right over the water, dipping in to drink. Hard to photograph, but Mark was patient as ever and caught a couple of good shots there and also at Karin and Peter’s neighbor’s house, while we chatted with him. He had about 10 hummingbird feeders and the hummers were just swarming around them. That neighbor has turned his yard into bird paradise, with feeders and birdhouses for siskins, grosbeaks, tree swallows, and the innumerable hummingbirds. He said he buys about 300 pounds of sugar every season to fill his hummingbird feeders!
We then took off to go back down to Boulder, and I have to confess that I just slept all the way down the beautiful Boulder Canyon (I had woken up at 3 am that morning). We showed Karin and Peter some of our photos from the trip, and then drove over to my cousin Malva’s house, so that we could go for a walk through nearby Chautauqua Park with her, her husband Rick, and their son Benjamin. Malva and I caught up on the mutual news, Rick and Mark talked careers and a little tech, and Benjamin shuttled between the two groups and told me about his hobbies and summer activities, and about the upcoming trip he and his mom will take to the Autism Conference in Baltimore, MD, where he’ll be giving a talk he regularly gives about living with autism (the TedX version of the talk is on YouTube, https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=r05BUkOfOk8). When we got back to their house, we played with their adorable parrot, Midori, for a little bit and showed them photos also, and then took off. It was a long day (almost 8:30 pm by the time we were heading home) and we just stopped at the Burger King near where we are staying to pick up some junk food to take home. I crashed pretty much right after dinner and Mark followed soon after.