February 26, 2012
Dear Friends and Family,
It has been several months since my last Colorado Tales.
In September Ken was inducted into the Optical Pioneers Hall of Fame for his work in bringing the old ophthalmic lens industry into the high tech, digital age. He was in Las Vegas for meetings at the Venetian hotel and I flew in the day of the award and out the next day.
Why such a short visit? Well, I have been to Las Vegas a couple of times and if you like gambling and nightlife that is where you go. Not me. The most important reason for my early return was so I could start setting up our home for Longmont Studio Tour in a few days.
We had 5 artists showing in our home and about 175 people visited during the tour. I have found that people will buy small original art unframed. So, I will have to do more small pieces.
At Thanksgiving we had neighbors and friends over to enjoy the feast.
Our neighbor’s horse farm is at the end of our private road. They have added a chicken coop and a flock of chickens. Now Amber, the 10-year-old girl, has her very own egg business. She has named the business “Laughing Sun Farm” and has named all the chickens. These names are written on her egg cartons. There is one rooster named Foghorn. We order a dozen eggs each week. Smiling Amber delivers them.
We had a party for the Treats (old Connecticut friends) and Hevenors in December. The Hevenor’s grandchild, Cece, a sweet girl just 1½ years old toddled around and everyone was relieved that our dogs were great with her. They have never been around a little person before. We were proud of Guinness and Lily.
Also in December we had a neighbors’ party and an artists’ party. I cook for all these events and was partied out before Christmas. A friend of mine asked how long are you going to do these parties? I answered: until I am too old to do it.
I’m active in several art organizations. One is Colorado Artist Guild. Several months back an email was sent out to all members of CAG asking for submission of jpegs of paintings of Colorado. Senator Michael Bennet was looking for artwork for his Washington, D.C. office. I submitted two jpegs of paintings that represent our state. In September I received word that both my paintings were chosen. I called the Washington office to set up delivery, etc. for the shipment and asked if they had many applications sent to them. They advised they had over 100 and could only pick 15. They picked both of mine. I’m thrilled. You may see these paintings on my website. They are on the first page of www:dianewoodartist.com
On the Front Range we get little precipitation in the form or snow and rain. This year we had an early snow that lasted a couple of weeks and a couple other minor snowfalls that lasted for weeks because we had fewer than usual warm days this winter.
As a member of Boulder Art Association asked if I would chair the annual Labor Day weekend art show at the historic Chautauqua center plus the 2013 BAA/LAG show at the Boulder Fairgrounds. I agreed to chair or coordinate both.
Early February we had a committee meeting at the Amante Coffee shop on Broadway in north Boulder. After our hour meeting I walked out of the coffee shop to notice emergency vehicles a block down. I had parked down in that area and hoped they would not be in my way as I wanted to get home as soon as possible.
As I got closer I saw my car, which had been properly parallel parked sitting crossways on the sidewalk with the right rear wheel off the car and the drivers side completely bashed in. It was a “holy shit” scene. After giving the officer my registration and insurance I sat in the car as the temperature was dropping quickly. Got my wits about me and called Ken telling him my car had just been totaled and please come and get me. It was fortunate I was not in the vehicle and also had not taken the dogs. Most of the time I take them with me for company and they especially enjoy riding in the car.
Next I removed all items from the center console and the glove compartment as “Goldie”, my Toyota was going to be taken to the wrecked car lot. I cried when they put her on the truck. We do not turn in our vehicle every couple of years. She is eight years old, had over 100,00 miles, and ran beautifully. We were going to keep her until repair bills were evident.
What happened? A woman parked two cars behind me pulled out into traffic without looking and immediately struck the side of a passing car. The woman driving that car swerved into the left lane and then foolishly over corrected hard right and motored nose first into the side of Goldie. The impact shoved the car sideways over an 8 inch curb. My car stopped just before going through the window of a shop. The only good thing about it was no one was hurt.
Having a cell phone came in very handy, as I was able to call our insurance company and read them the information on the officer’s accident report. Also on our drive home, I called Shelter Insurance company, the insurance company of the woman who pulled out into traffic causing the accident. Oh, by the way, the woman who ended up hitting my car was driving a friend’s car and lives in Ward, Colorado. Ward is a small, weird mining/hippie town up in the hills. She fit that mold.
I pushed the insurance companies for fast action. The title and the release form was sent to the Shelter Insurance company and they had a check in the mail just one week after the crash.
During the week without a car, Shelter Insurance authorized a rental vehicle from Enterprise. They gave me a Chevy Impala. What a tank! No four wheel drive. Our private road was all ice and snow with deep irrigation ditches on either side. The Chevy’s rear tires kept sliding side to side threatening to take me down into a ditch. It was a slow, thrilling ½ mile ride to get to our mailbox on Saint Vrain road.
That episode is over, but it really shook me up. When I am driving, I keep a look out for accidents that may be waiting to happen. We got a new Toyota Highlander. It is a wonderful vehicle with many updates and features compared to the old Toyota.
Since I name my cars, I got to thinking what to name the new vehicle. It is a burgundy red. When I was a little girl my favorite doll was named “Rosie”. Rosie had been with me for many years. All of the enamel peeled off her face and I painted it a hideous yellow. But she was my favorite. So you got it! I named my new vehicle “Rosie” and I don’t think the paint will peel off.
A big change is coming. Ken will not be renewing his contract with the Vision Council and will be retiring the end of March 2012. Ken has mixed emotions. He is excited to have fewer demands on his time but is concerned that having worked fully 50 years he depends on work to bring meaning to his life. Retiring for him will be a challenging project but he intends to succeed in this phase of life.
Vision Council is planning a couple of events for Ken’s retirement. One will be in Milan in March at an international standards meeting. The final one will be in NYC. I will be attending the NYC event. Travelling to Milan for a couple of days is not in the cards.
One month before he knew he would leave work, Ken decided he should learn to play guitar. He bought an acoustic guitar, three music theory books, and signed up for weekly lessons. Although I play piano regularly, Ken knows little about music. He is now learning the theory and practicing daily. His first real goal is to accompany me when I play piano each evening.
We have had very high winds especially in January and February of this year. Our large picture windows actually move in the wind. At night Ken puts ear plugs in as it actually sounds like a freight train and whistles. You do not want to be outside in this type of wind. One night the wind kept me awake as it was frightening. The next day the paper reported 90 + miles an hour. We do not have a device to measure the wind, but it sure must have been at least 90 MPH.
This past Saturday when taking out the dogs and feeding the birds at about 5:40 am I noticed many emergency vehicles on St. Vrain Rd. (About 1 mile from our home.) A Honda Accord had launched into the air. It overturned a couple of times and ejected two people from the car. It is evident they were not wearing seat belts. They were pronounced dead on the scene. The driver is currently in the Longmont Hospital. State troopers are considering alcohol or drugs as a result of the crash. Our road was closed from 75th St to 65th St until 11 am. In the darkness of the morning two of Hygiene Fire Protection trucks were at the scene illuminating the area. There were people with flashlights in the field checking for more bodies as they did not know how many people were actually in the car.
I took November and December off from showing my art work, March my schedule is really picking up and I will be displaying at three venues.
Hope everyone is well.
The sun is shining brilliantly and it is a lovely day.
Diane and Ken