Sunday, March 28, 2021

Tears for Boulder


Postcard of Boulder, Colorado

Evil came to Boulder, Colorado this week.  On an early spring day when the sky was filled with impending snow that was in the forecast, ten people went about their morning routine never dreaming that it would be their last day. They were young; twenty years old, and seniors in their early 60's.  Some were going to work at a grocery store in their scenic front-range town. Perhaps they smiled at their view of the pretty snow-filled Flat Iron mountains in the distance.  Some were thinking, "I have to pick up my prescription today at the grocery store," or " I have to remember to pick up more eggs for the weekend" or "I think I'll stop into the grocery store to pick up lunch today, instead of bringing it from home."  A police officer put on his uniform and Boulder Police badge said goodbye to his wife and seven children and reported for work. 

Evil was at his family's home in the next town. He prepared his assault rifle weapon, put on a tactical vest, and drove his brother's car to a Kings Sooper grocery store in Boulder, where over 58 minutes he willfully shot to death ten innocent people. 

The Boulder Police Department released the names of the deceased the next day: Police Officer Eric Talley, 51; Denny Stong, 20; Neven Stanisic, 23; Rikki Olds, 25; Tralona Bartkowiak, 49; Teri Leiker, 51; Suzanne Fountain, 59; Kevin Mahoney, 61; Lynn Murray. 62; and Jodi Waters, 65. 

You can read about them all here.

Officer Talley's Patrol car has become a memorial covered with flowers

The first recorded mass killing by gun in the USA occurred in 1949. In 1966 Evil climbed to the top tower of the main building of the University of Texas at Austin and opened fire with a gun indiscriminately at the people surrounding the campus. Fifteen died.  In 1984 Evil walked into a McDonald's restaurant in San Diego, California, and fatally shot twenty-one people to death.  I could go on and on and on. In the last five years, there have been at least 29 shootings with four or more fatalities, according to a database compiled by the Violence Project.  In 2020, gun violence, of all causes, including suicides, killed 43,536 people in the United States. We are not the most violent country in the world--right now many countries in South America lead in that distinction, but that is little consolation for all the victims.

A memorial of flowers and notes and candles grew day by day on a

 fence that was placed around the parking lot of the grocery store in Boulder.

Evil keeps rearing its anger, its hate, its mental illness, and its paranoid delusion in senseless mass killings of innocent people. In my state of Colorado, 47 people have died from mass shootings in seven incidents since 1991. 

How many more incidents are to come? What is the answer? Do we provide better mental health services, prevent bullying in schools, ban violent video games, ban semi-assault rifles, do extensive background checks during gun sales, promote Red Flag Laws, stop media coverage to discourage copycat events...pray harder? 

As long as there are guns there will be gun violence. As long as assault weapons are sold there is the potential for mass casualties and killings. No place, be it a church, school, theater, fast food restaurant, community center, concert, highway, etc., is safe from danger.


A posting Colorado Governor Polis placed on Facebook this week encourages readers to reach out to their family and friends. 

When a mass shooting occurs, especially nearby, everyone's anxiety rises, and someone reaching out to say "I care" can make a big difference and give that person a chance to talk and express their sadness. Other suggestions to help deal with anxiety can be read here.

I know that each incident in which a person goes to work and never comes home triggers extreme sadness in me.  That happened to my father. When I was a teenager, he went to work one day and a mentally ill person at his job took his life along with wounding two others.   When a tragic incident like this happens I feel pain all over again and extreme sadness. I truly feel empathy for what victims' families go through. Trauma like this never goes away. 

Boulder, Colorado, is a special place for us as our son went to graduate school there and lived there for a few years afterward. It was the first place we visited in Colorado when we lived in New York. We all fell in love with Colorado and made the decision to live here. But no matter where one lives a tragedy such as the one that happened in Boulder can happen. We cry for Boulder today and know the week ahead will be full of sorrow for the families of the victims as they are laid to rest. Please pray for them and pray for our nation. Deliver us from evil. Amen.

It has been a very sad week. With Holy Week and Easter approaching, I'll be taking a short blog break. 

Have a very Blessed and Happy Easter!


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Monday, March 22, 2021

The Cold War Horse of Rocky Flats

Along a road in northern Arvada, Colorado, stands a statue called the "Cold War Horse" Memorial. The horse is easy to spot, as it is clad in an electric red hazmat suit, black rubber boots, and a respirator.  The memorial was created by artist Jeff Gipe to acknowledge the history of the Rocky Flats Plant, its workers, and the surrounding community.  Gipe's father worked at the plant for over 20 years. Rocky Flats Plant was a nuclear weapons production facility that had a huge influence during the Cold War era, from 1952 ro 1992. For nearly forty years, the plant manufactured the plutonium triggers of nearly every nuclear weapon in the United States arsenal. It’s estimated that 70,000 plutonium triggers were produced at this plant. Plutonium is a highly toxic and radioactive substance, and special precautions had to be taken during production.

According to the artist's now-defunct website:

"After a second major plutonium fire in 1969, the second largest plutonium fire at the facility, citizen protests gained momentum and urged Rocky Flats to cease operations. In 1989, the FBI in conjunction with the EPA raided the complex in the first ever inter-governmental raid. Many violations were discovered and production was halted. The plant’s operators later admitted and pleaded guilty to environmental crimes. Soon after the raid, the plant site was put on the EPA superfund cleanup list. In 1993, the Secretary of Energy announced the end of the Rocky Flats nuclear production mission.
The original estimate for remediation of the site was in excess of $37 billion and projected to require 70 years for completion. The Department of Energy and Kaiser Hill devised an accelerated compromise plan that cut costs to $7 billion and just one decade for completion."

You can read more about the Rocky Flats Plant at this link

Today, the Rocky Flats Plant is gone. The site of the former facility consists of two distinct areas: the "Central Operable Unit" (including the former industrial area), which remains off-limits to the public as a CERCLA "Superfund" site, owned and managed by the U.S. Department of Energy, and the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge, owned and managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Next to the Cold War Horse is a plaque with an image of the Rocky Flast Plant before it was torn down.

On the fence surrounding the horse sculpture are two dedication plaques. One is in memory of Dru Nelson, a young man who passed away in July of 2015 who was passionate about the environment and the other is in appreciation to Bruce and Janice Roberts for their assistance in getting the Cold War Horse displayed.  There is also a box attached to the fence that states "Share Your Story," where questions, comments, concerns, and donations can be left.  

Not without controversy, the Cold War Horse Memorial, which was erected in 2015, was badly vandalized by unknown assailants just two weeks later. The artist was not deterred, however, and the Cold War Horse was repaired and now resides in the same spot, surrounded by a fence, lights, and cameras armed with motion sensors.

As you can see in the photo collage above, the city of Denver is located around 16 miles east, and many new homes are being built in areas surrounding Rocky Flats. The Cold War Horse Memorial looms over it all as a stark reminder of what was once located here and what should not be forgotten.

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Monday, March 15, 2021

Denver's March Blizzard of 2021

If you live in the USA you might have heard of the news that Colorado was going to have a massive snowstorm this weekend. 

The weather channel on TV was showing this news all day on Friday.

 They were calling the storm "Xylia."

They were right!

It rained on Friday and some of Saturday, and we thought maybe the storm wouldn't be as bad as predicted, but then the snow began falling....and falling and falling!

Sunday morning we had constant howling winds and about 18 inches of snow had fallen in our area. It is not over, as it is going to keep snowing until sometime Monday.  

My husband worked hard clearing snow off our driveway even using a powerful snowblower.  I helped out doing what I could with a shovel.  Thankfully, our power has stayed on and we were inside our home safe and warm most of the day. 

I took this video early Sunday morning just to show how hard the wind was blowing. The storm was later officially declared a blizzard by afternoon.

We enjoyed hot chocolate after shoveling the snow.

I simmered pork tenderloin in my slow cooker on low all day. It was stewed in tomatoes with onions, celery, carrots, garlic, bell peppers, zucchini, garden squash, snap peas, butter beans, mushrooms, and spices. I also made cheesy polenta and served the stewed vegetables over the polenta with the pork served on the side.  It was delicious-- just what we needed for a wintery day! 

I hope you have sunshine and spring flowers where you are...I'm sure they will arrive here, too, someday,  but right now snow is normal for "Springtime in the Rockies" and we are enjoying it all!

PS: My second covid vaccine went well and I had no other symptoms afterward except for a tender arm for a few days.  It is such a relief! 

In the meantime, my friends, stay healthy and safe!

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Sunday, March 7, 2021

Women's Bean Project

More often than not, if you visit my home, you will find a pot of soup bubbling away on my stove. We love a bowl of hearty soup and chilis all year long.  They also often fill my slow cooker on busy days, or on days too hot to cook on the stovetop or oven.  I make big batches and freeze the extra, or I drop some over at my daughter's house so she does not have to cook after a busy day at work.  

If you look at my Pinterest boards you will find a board for Soups, Stews, and Chowders with countless recipes for soups that I've collected and tried over the years. We also love beans of all kinds and my Chili Creations Pinterest board reflects that favorite one-bowl meal.

One of my favorite products I use to make soup, or chili, is packages from the Women's Bean Project. I discovered this wonderful Colorado non-profit organization through my daughter, as the company she works for is one of the corporate sponsors of their program.  They sell their products in nearly 1,000 stores nationwide, including King Soopers, Whole Foods, Safeway, Meijer, and H.E.B., as well as small specialty retailers. You can also shop for their products online on their website,, and  You can click on a map on their website--here--to see if they are sold in a store near you.

The Woman's Bean Project's mission is to change women’s lives by providing stepping stones to self-sufficiency through social enterprise. 

They believe that
"...all women have the power to transform their lives through employment. So we hire women who are chronically unemployed and we teach them to work by making nourishing products. They learn to stand tall, find their purpose and break the cycle of poverty. Because when you change a woman’s life, you change her family’s life."

As it also explains on their website: 
"Back in 1989, our founder, Jossy Eyre, was volunteering at a daytime women’s shelter in Denver, CO. She realized that while the shelter kept the women safe, it could not help them make lasting changes in their lives. To help the women achieve independence and self-sufficiency, she needed to provide an opportunity to experience the dignity of work by learning how to get – and keep – a job. She invested $500 of her own money and put two women to work; the start of the social enterprise we are today."

You can read some of the stories of the many women that have been helped by the Women's Bean Project on this link. I love that each package is hand-signed by one of the women in the program.  Buying their products really has an impact on helping women learn job skills, gain independence and feel empowered to change their lives for the better.

As you can see by the photos above the recipe on the package is easy to follow.  They also have recipes using their products on their websiteI have never been disappointed by any of their products, which says a lot as I live at a high altitude and often have difficulty cooking dried beans because of our lower boiling point. Their beans always cook well and taste delicious! 

They also sell other products through their website other than soups and chili mixes. They have spice blends, snacks, coffee and tea, baking mixes, instant meals, popcorn, and even dog treats for sale, as well as gift boxes and sets.

As you can see, I love making and eating soup and chili!  
Many in this photo collage were made with the Women's Bean Project Packages. 

This is how I like to make easy vegetable stock. I save almost all my washed vegetable and herb peelings, stems, and ends in freezer bags until I have two large bags full. I then empty the bags into a pot, cover them with water, and simmer them all for a couple of hours. When they all cook down I strain out all the vegetables and place the stock they made in containers to freeze for future use in soups and stews and chilis.   It's a great way to not waste anything!  If you have never done this before give it a try.

I'm headed to this pretty town in Colorado this upcoming week to get my second dose of covid vaccine. It will be such a relief!  I'll let you know how I fared afterward in my next blog post.

In the meantime, my friends, stay healthy and safe!

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