19 November 2010

Boulder, Day 3

Day 3 was the beautiful day.

Now, technically, Boulder is as beautiful as it is magical*, but it's at its best when the sky is that lovely, deep, crisp blue that you only find at altitude. But Boulder can also be a bit fickle, and if I were more in sync with its moods, I would have rushed out as soon as I saw the blue sky to get the picture of the Flatirons that I was after. (Sure, I have others from when I lived there, and there are post cards, etc., but I always seem to want to capture my own.) But I had a busy morning and wasn't so tuned in to the Flatirons, and by the time I made it to Chautauqua, the sun had shifted and I could only get this:

"Only." A bad picture of Boulder's backdrop is still lovelier than pretty much anything in Austin...but the definition of the Flatirons themselves was lost. Looking toward the north, the mountains aren't as impressive, but the lighting conditions were better:

See the three houses at the base of the hill in the foreground? The left-most one belongs (or belonged at the time, anyway) to the surgeon who saved my life when I was ten. (Okay, it was just appendicitis...but I would have died if my defective appendix hadn't been removed, so technically the good doctor did save my life.)

But let's rewind to the beginning of Day 3.

I started the day over coffee/cocoa with my dear old friend Julie (proving that not all of my friends are professors). When I finally had to let Julie get back to work, I met Patti at the gym for a swim (about a mile) while she did her workout, and then we had lunch at Moe's Bagels (my all-time favorite bagel establishment). After lunch, Patti and I parted ways, and I went back to Pearl Street to make a purchase.

One of my goals for the trip was to buy a piece of art. I especially wanted to find something to go over the guest room bed, but I was open to whatever struck me. Patti and I had looked at several of the shops on Pearl Street the day I arrived, but I didn't find anything that grabbed me. I was beginning to think that art was like love -- you won't find it if you're looking. There were some cool, modern poster-type prints of Boulder by Steve Lowtwait, and I thought one of them might be nice in the exercise room (it has a bicycle on it!), so that was in the back of my mind as a decent back-up plan if I couldn't find anything that really spoke to me. So by the end of the second-to-last day of my trip, I was running out of time and decided to go back for that print. But, proving my theory, I happened upon a beautiful numbered print of aspen trees in a shop on my way back to buy the poster, and the search for art came to a lovely conclusion. (It will be a while, I'm sure, before it's framed and hung, but you'll see it someday.)

On the way back to Patti's, I decided to swing by the condo I lived in from age ten to seventeen. So here it is, the place where I spent a big part of my childhood:

It ain't pretty, but it was a fine place to grow up. But I only had a minute to contemplate that before I had to get back to Patti's to prepare for our night out. My last evening there was the first night of Boulder's "restaurant week" (which they call "First Bite"), and while Jessica spent some quality time at her brother's place, I took Patti and Robin out for one of the event's prix fixe, 3-course dinners (only $27 per person!). I let Patti choose the restaurant, and her choice, Alba, turned out to be the reincarnation of my favorite restaurant in town, The Full Moon Grill. While it had a new location and a special First Bite menu, it was as delicious as ever. Especially the apple tarte with creme anglaise.

For weeks before the trip, Jessica and I had been planning to go to the CU planetarium for a laser show. That night was our only opportunity, and with the Red Hot Chili Peppers at 9:30 and U2 at 10:45, we were resigned to the RHCP show because, well, we're old and can't stay up that late. But after falling asleep around 9:30 the first two nights we were in town, we realized that we'd be beyond exhausted if we tried to see either show. Next time, Jessica. Next time.

And, laser show or no laser show, it was another fantastic day in Boulder. (But really, is there any other kind of day in Boulder?)

* There. I said "magical" again.

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