Monday, October 29, 2012


"It's just that, you know, some places are like people. Some "shine" and some don't"...Dick Halloran/The Shining (photo courtesy The Stanley Hotel)
About an hour's drive from Denver, at the east entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park, sits beautiful Estes Park (7,522 feet above sea level).
Founded in 1859, this year-round mountain getaway provides world-class hiking and climbing, fishing, wildlife sightings (elk and deer are a common sight, wandering through town), golfing, galleries, unique shops, a varied array of dining and lodging choices, and the spectacularly haunting inspiration for Steven King's novel, The Shining ~ The Stanley Hotel.  Trail Ridge Road, the highest continuous highway in the United States, runs from Estes Park west through Rocky Mountain National Park, reaching Grand Lake over the Continental Divide.
A plug for our favorite eatery in town, POPPY'S PIZZA AND GRILL.  Weather permitting, you can dine out on the covered patio, right next to the Big Thompson River.  The food is FABULOUS, and the staff is awesome.  Right on the main drag...I wouldn't steer you wrong!
With your hunger satisfied and a penchant for more sightseeing, The Stanley Hotel looms large above town, and is begging to be explored.  And what a perfect week to tell you a bit about this charming old haunt...muahahahahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!
The Stanley Hotel, while known for its architecture and magnificent setting, may possibly be best known as being THE inspiration behind Stephen King's novel, "The Shining" (photo courtesy The Stanley Hotel).
The hotel has been featured on numerous paranormal television shows as one of America's most haunted hotels and with numerous firsthand stories from visitors and staff alike, The Stanley Hotel continues to "shine" today, as it did in 1909 when first opened (you know this isn't one of my photos, though I have been known to make it my screen saver on my phone around Halloween, laying claim to them as my children...the Grady twins, from the Stanley Kubrick movie - gotta' love those creepy girls!).
F.O. Stanley (and his famous Stanley Steamer) arrived in Estes Park in 1903.  F.O. set out to change the local economy and, on 160 acres, Stanley constructed 11 buildings in the original Stanley Hotel complex. Many of those original buildings remain in use today on the remaining 55 acres.
Construction of the Main Building began in 1907 and took two years to complete.  Multiple renovations have restored this 140-guest room hotel to its original grandeur, earning it a place on the National Register of Historic Places and, Historic Hotels of America.
F.O. Stanley also helped to shape tourism in Estes Park, building the road on which he brought visitors, riding in a Stanley Steamer (of course), to Estes Park and The Stanley Hotel. This was the first time in history that an automobile, instead of a train, was used to transport people to a resort area (and those would be Prairie Dogs on the lawn...charming, though annoyingly destructive, little critters).
The interior of the hotel is JUST as grand as the exterior.  I did not make it inside on this trip (though the exterior shots with the beautiful blue CO sky are my photos), and could not lay my hands on my own photos of the interior from a previous visit.  Believe me - it's spectacular, all the way around. It is said that most all of the rooms in the hotel have had “out-of-the-ordinary” experiences reported over the years.  F.O. and Flora Stanley are said to still spend time at the hotel, walking the lobby and playing the beloved piano in the Music Room.
The Shining Ball and Murder Mystery Dinner are an annual event at the hotel...if you dare.  "Boy, I bet you we could really have a good party in this room, huh hon?"...Wendy Torrance/The Shining
The hotel shows the uncut R-rated version of Kubrick's The Shining on a continuous loop on Channel 42 on guest room televisions.  "Come and play with us, Danny. Forever... and ever... and ever"...The Grady Twins/The Shining
Trivia...the original sinister room number in Steven King's novel was 217.  The lodge used for the movie shoot requested the number of the room be changed to 237, so that clients would not avoid their real room 217.
Whether a believer in the paranormal or not, the grandeur of this stunning old location demands a look around, for sure.  To plan a trip of your own, please visit STANLEYHOTEL.COM (where these final 5 photos were borrowed from) "I'm sorry to differ with you sir, but YOU are the caretaker. You've always been the caretaker. I should know sir. I've always been here"...Delbert Grady/The Shining

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 22, 2012

THE BOOK OF MORMON MUSICAL ~ My Professional Review...

Hard won tickets to the hottest show on the planet right now, took me back to Denver for a second trip this summer.  45 minutes online in Las Vegas (with three separate pages on my computer open) the morning tickets went on sale for the first stop on the tour - clicking, refreshing, refreshing, refreshing.  My Mom on two separate phone lines in Denver, dialing, hanging up, dialing, hanging up, sold out for the entire 2 week run in 2-1/2 hours, but we were lucky...we could have never imagined just HOW lucky.  What a show!  My professional review ~ in a word ~ BRILLIANT!
In the heart of Denver, the beautiful Ellie Caulkins Opera House (within the DENVER CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS including Boettcher Concert Hall, the Opera House, Bonfils Theatre Complex, and the Denver Center Theatre) was originally the Denver Municipal Auditorium - built in 19008.  Absolutely beautiful inside, and so very different from the old venue where I took my two year old to see Ringling Brothers Circus, 24 years ago.
I used to walk under this canopy when it wasn't there (in my younger, working girl secretary days) - I walked down this street to get to the building I worked in.  I'm sure it has changed even more to my folks.
Being a South Park fan, I knew nothing has ever been off limits to Trey Parker and Matt Stone -  a review from Entertainment Weekly probably described it perfectly..."an exhilarating Broadway musical at once revolutionary and classic, hilarious and humane, funny and obscene, uncompromising in production standards and unafraid of just about anything" (READ MORE REVIEWS HERE).  I couldn't have said it better.  Except, perhaps, to add GENIUS and/or PERFECT.  SEE IT, IF YOU CAN!!!   (Two musical scene photos from
A word of warning - not for the faint of's printed right on the tickets.  The language is ALL South Park - but laugh you WILL!  I don't want to give anything away here, so will leave it at this (this, and the Tony Awards video below - Book of Mormon won 9 Tony's in it's first year)..."The Book of Arnold WILL change your life"!  They had me at "Hello"...

Saturday, October 20, 2012


Do "they" REALLY think this helps ANYONE make up their minds????  I played a game this week and, for four days (FOUR days - that's it!), collected the political ads that have flooded my mailbox.  I threw them directly on the floorboard of my car where they sat until yesterday, unread.  UNREAD, like all the rest I have received the past few months - these pieces of paper are NOT helping make up my mind.
This morning I piled them on a TURKEY platter - 29 PIECES of unwanted crapola that went unread until I crumpled them up this morning - both political parties are represented in this mess.  29 pieces in just FOUR DAYS.  29 pieces of not just regular paper advertisements, but shiny, EXPENSIVE, heavy card stock that hurt my hands, in my fit of rage.  Who do they think this is helping - REALLY?!!!!
Yes, I particularly like this one.  29 pieces of unsolicited garbage - I didn't ask for any of it, NOR will it sway my vote in a few weeks, except maybe to think about who sent me the LEAST amount of waste - so much for the "Go Green" platform.  And how in the WORLD can the post office be hurting?  Looks like they're being kept pretty busy to me, not to mention revenue on postage.  And, don't get me started about the phone calls during dinner and later, evening hours!  Does anyone even listen (or TALK?) to those folks?
Stick a fork in me, I'm DONE...
On a happier, prettier note - and I know I've been lax this week, but the winners were notified on Sunday, last...the "In The Pink Giveaway", being the nature that it was, warranted a "pair" of winners.  Cindy, from FAT COW STUDIO, and Pat, from AHL COOPED UP were the names drawn.  I'd show you the slips with their names on them, but I couldn't find them this morning - probably lost somewhere on the bottom of the political garbage platter!  Congrats, girls...check your mail boxes this week.
Leaving you with a much prettier photo than the stuff up top - hope your weekend is wonderful and junk mail free - hope mine is too, but I KNOW that "ain't happenin'".  Back to "What I Did This Summer" on Monday...

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

PINK SCARF PROJECT - Make a Scarf ~ Make A Difference

All photos herein taken by, and courtesy of,  Vicki Boster @ 2 Bags Full
to participate
in the
"Pink Scarf Project."
Simply stated - it has only one goal~
To bring a smile to the face of a woman who is fighting her own battle with breast cancer.
Information regarding this year-long campaign can be found at Vicki's delightful blog, 2 BAGS FULL - please click on the link here, or the button on my sidebar, to be taken there directly...I'll let Vicki fill you in on the details for this great cause.  I just came back from my local yarn store - I knew I was in on this one from the moment I read it this morning.
This is THE Vicki...join her...join me...join all the other generous craftspeople in this venture (you don't even have to be a crafter - she's got details for you HERE).

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

IN THE PINK - Breast Cancer Awareness/200th Post GIVEAWAY

Well, who woulda' ever "thunk" that I would actually keep at this for 200 posts! And, it just happens to land smack in the middle of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. AND, while I have been on the subject of family, and those near and dear to my heart, I'm going to continue for one more post. Most every one of us have had our lives touched by Breast Cancer, in one way or another - my grandmother was a survivor. What better way to celebrate this post milestone than a GIVEAWAY, celebrating someone special in that lucky winner's life.
The rosary style chain has been hand wired - sterling silver beads and S-hook (the necklace is made so you can change out pendants), amongst beautiful PINK matte Czech glass beads.  The chain will slip right over your head, with a 14.25" drop to the top of the S-hook.  The pendant is 3" X 1" - two panes of glass sandwiched between lead-free solder.  Total, overall length of necklace is approx. 18".  You will be receiving the very chain shown ~ however, the little girl on this pendant happens to be my Grandmother, so this particular pendant will be going to my own Mom.  BUT, here's where more fun stuff comes into play, just for you...
The lucky winner will be able to email me two photos of that "special to THEM" person, so that I can make up a personalized, double-sided pendant.  Color or black and white photos...makes no never mind.  We will discuss that once the winner has been chosen.
My Mom's sister, as a young girl on the reverse side.
How do I enter, you may ask?  "Follow" and leave a comment...simple as that.  Winner will be chosen on Sunday noon, October 14th.
I had made up a few of these this summer, and had an overwhelming response to the one I wore for most of my vacation.  These will hit the Etsy store soon, or you can email me ( for details if you don't want to wait, or want something special ~
$45.00 for one double-sided pendant AND hand-made rosary style necklace set
(that's $15.00 pendant/$30.00 necklace)...
$12.00 for each additional pendant ordered with set.
In the meantime, take care of your "girls" - get that check-up and urge your loved ones to do the same!  Happy Tuesday...XOXO

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


“If you look deeply into the palm of your hand, you will see your parents and all generations of your ancestors.  All of them are alive in this moment.  Each is present in your body.  You are the continuation of each of these people.”  ~ Thich Nhat Hanh
I am related to each and every one of the persons in the photos of this post.  Spending a wonderful summer with beloved family, dragging my poor father on two trips through an old mountain cemetery looking for a lost family plot, and perusing family "documentation" served as a reminder of the importance of present family and ancestors long gone, in my life.  I'm a sucker for old photos (it's usually the first thing I go for in the antique stores), so thought I would share the love in this post.
My Paternal Great Grandparents O'Brien; my Grandmother Katherine (left), and her little sister.
My Grandma Kate and Grandpa Carl Rudolph Anderson, who immigrated to the United States from Sweden at the age of 17, all by himself.  Ja...that makes my maiden name Anderson, also.
My "Greats"; My Grandmother Kate; her son/my father Arvid (it's a Swedish name), as a baby; and his older brother/my uncle Robert (Bob), with his wife/my aunt Delores.
These gentlemen were all brothers on my Mother's side...the Rhyno brothers - uncles of my Grandpa Rhyno, I believe I have been told.
My Grandma Hazel and Grandpa Herschel Rhyno - Grandpa ran his own garage business behind the house in North Denver for as long as I had him in my life.
Their marriage brought about my Aunt Violet (upper left, with my Grandpa and Mom as a toddler), and my own Mother, Barbara (that's her at age 3); bottom photos are the family, and my Mom and Grandpa sharing a story on a family camping trip.
The union of two families led to this, folks, Arvid and Barb; me, with both sets of Grandparents; my parents with me and my brother, Arvid; and my brother and myself in a photo my talented Dad took and developed himself.  I married and had two kids of my own, further propagating both family lines (as well as melding with the ancestors on my husband's side), much as I hope my own children will.
"Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one" ~ Jane Howard
And, driving down the road this summer from the meadow and mines in Freeland, where we spent the day remembering those that came before us, we set out on a mission to locate the long lost family plot of my Great-Great Grandmother Lory (the older woman from the family photo in the FREELAND post), my Great-Great Grandfather, and their 3 year old grandson.
Three of us hiked for an hour and a half on the first trip through, looking at just about every single headstone there was.  Sadly defeated, we left the mountain for the lure of margaritas, but with a vow to return and find the plot later in the summer...and that we did!  Another hour and a half spent walking row after row looked like it was going to end the same way - hand in hand my Mom and I headed back to the car that held my sleeping Dad.  We had all but thrown in the towel when we decided to look over one last wall before we quit - there they were.
"Misplaced", but not forgotten - found at last...documented now in the online registry of the Idaho Springs Cemetery - Margaret and Richard Lory, and Ernest Nicholls (he had passed in 1894, before the photo in the previous post was taken - he would have been the oldest of the children)...a sweet, melancholy day, rewarded with a tear, a hug, and a huge thank you for dragging my dad back through with us a second time - he's pretty awesome!
"We all grow up with the weight of history on us. Our ancestors dwell in the attics of our brains as they do in the spiraling chains of knowledge hidden in every cell of our bodies"  ~ Shirley Abbott

Monday, October 1, 2012


The Phoenix Gold Mine, down the road from Freeland and a “hop, skip, and a jump” up from Idaho Springs (or a 30-minute drive from Denver), sits at 8,200 feet in elevation, and is a working gold and silver mine owned and operated by third-generation hard-rock miner Alvin "Al" Mosch.
The mine's temperature hovers between 42 and 54 degrees F. year round, so it's a good idea to take a jacket no matter what month you arrive. Tours last between 45 minutes to an hour and 15 minutes, depending on how many questions you might have. It is a walking tour on a slight grade - no ladders involved - strollers and wheel chairs are permitted. For the enthusiast, the price of the mine tour includes a chance to try your hand at gold panning (gold pans provided) in the stream that runs through the mine property. There are also picnic tables and barbecue pits alongside the stream.
Originally discovered in 1871 by a miner named, appropriately, Miner. He, in turn, sold The Phoenix Vein to a Cornish miner who was said to have worked it until he was able to return home to England, a wealthy man.
In 1930, the mine was sold to a local real estate investor for $20.00 in taxes owed. The agent "salted" the mine by firing a shotgun loaded with gold into the dirt, and sold it to a family of two Minnesota farmers named Gunderson for $5,000. They went 30 to 40 feet further along the drift and struck ore. They continued down 100 feet and the vein was 11 feet wide, yielding a high output of 6 ounces of gold per ton of ore. In 1934, the government devalued the dollar, which raised the price of gold in the area from $20.00 to $35.00 per troy ounce.
In 1943, President Roosevelt closed all gold and silver mines to divert miners to mining minerals needed for the war effort. Mr. Gunderson was forced to close the mine in 1943, but did so as a very rich man.  After World War II, only a few mines re-opened. Gold was still valued at $35.00 an ounce but was costing much more, per ounce, to process. Small miners had a very rough time of it.
In the 1950's the mine was leased to three partners - these men swept the gold dust left in the stopes and tunnels and each man made enough money to buy himself a brand new Cadillac. It was not worked again until Al Mosch acquired the property in 1972, for that seemingly magic number of $5,000.00. At the time, he was working as a silver miner.  Al has since done a lot of "dead work," greatly adding to the original workings, creating tunnels, blasting stopes, installing support beams, laying track, etc.
Also seen on this tour are the tunnels and rooms of the Resurrection Vein. The Resurrection vein was discovered by Al’s teenage son in an outcropping of rock above the west side of the Phoenix tour of today. The Resurrection vein was mined through the original tunnel and led to the exposure of the High Grade ore found on the Phoenix vein, in the deepest part of the main tunnel of the tour. Al never mined the High Grade, which has enabled tourists over the past years to see just how the ore looks when it is still in the ground. The aqua-colored (from copper oxidation) vein is very evident in the ceiling of the Shaker Table and Ball Mill rooms.
Historical mining tools, ladders, milling equipment, buckets, emergency equipment and much more is on display throughout the tour. You will be able to see Gold, Silver, Copper, Iron Pyrite and Tellurium (Tellurium - the stuff they make solar panels out of - the lighting inside the Phoenix is all solar-powered), still in the earth.
"The Widow Maker"...a 150-pound compressed-air-powered, one-man rock drill that was just about guaranteed to kill its operator after three years of use (prior to the use of water to cut the dust that caused silicosis of the lungs).  GREAT tour guide!
"The Lucky Bucket" has stories of its own surrounding it, about hundreds of people who have rubbed, hugged, or kissed it, and had phenomenal good luck - we threw pennies in that day, but the 320 million dollar Lotto prize later that week eluded us.
Now, the fun stuff - those who know me, know that one of my silly self indulgences is my love for the unexplained or spooky.  I adore Stephen King novels and ghost stories; a good scary (not slasher) movie; and sitting in the complete darkness on a Friday evening, watching paranormal shows, which my husband rolls his eyes at and sleeps through. 
On the way out of the mine, my Mom (a very sane woman) quietly told me that she had turned at one point to see an old miner standing behind me in one of the tunnels.  The only persons on the tour (or in the mine at all) were my folks, me, and the tour guide...certainly no old miners.  Upon doing research for this post, I ran across the following, unexpected quote from a mining group..."In two of Al's mines, ghosts have been seen - most notably an old miner who has been seen by several people in both mines, as well as unexplained touches on the shoulder or hair, etc.".
And that leaves me with this final, ghostly shot from inside the mine, at the end of the tour.  This is the Shaker Table, which was used pretty much how it shake the gold from the rocks and debris when placed on it.  If you look to the right hand side of this photo, you will see one (ONE) glowing orb (I told you I watch the ghost shows - I tried to "debunk" this one, and can't)...the old miner from back in the tunnel?!!
I had taken photos throughout the entire tour, and not come up with flying dust specks on any of them, mind you (though conditions inside the mine would have been right, with the hard dirt floors).  This, and this alone, was the lone anomaly (ONE ORB - if it was dust there would have been more) I captured in all those dark tunnels.  Like I said before, this is my story, and I'm sticking to it...that's the old miner, right there!  I know it is...YOU know it is!
Something far less spooky...he'll be waiting for you, too.  If you want to take the tour, The Phoenix Gold Mine is open 10 to 6, daily...winter, weather permitting - Phoenix Gold Mine Website