A Mad Cow Visits the Mad Cow and Other Adventures

This week has been in interesting and a short one.  No one is ever going to complain about having a four day week – I finally exercised my right to a flex day, yay!  Sorry Benno, this is a long post…not sure why.  On the  plus side, mum here is a nice long post to amuse your evening if you can’t sleep at work tonight.  Good luck!

Monday through Wednesday were somewhat uneventful.  Monday Mark and I had lunch so we could chat about mentor options and his motives for nominating me for the high potential program.  Apparently I need to take the motive info to the kick off meeting.  Monday it snowed a little, Calvin says it best:



Pretty non-lottery snow on Monday morning.

Thursday we had a big pow wow.  There were moments of interesting but overall it was somewhat mind sucking – that many business development personnel in the same room would suck the life out of even the most stalwart engineers.  We did learn some things about new jobs and how to get into or not get into different markets.  That was one damned expensive meeting, there were about 20 people in the room, all of them three times more senior than I am, plus the travel time (and costs) for many of them to get to Denver


Friday I had my flex day.  It was so exciting.  The delivery guys called about 0800 and arrived about 0830.  I had nothing missing and only one thing broken.  I consider that an immense victory for all those who do any relocations for work.  The one thing broken was one of the glass plates that I hang in the bathroom, I’ve got another so its not the end of the world.  By Friday evening I had unpacked all the boxes save for one and put everything in its final place.  The one is my box of books, I need a bookcase before I can unpack them.  The only outstanding action was to hang up my paintings.  All done on Sunday morning.  So exciting!!!  I slept in my bed!  Yay!  It was so nice to roll out of bed and not smash my knees on the floor, so nice.  The other awesome thing I did was book some tickets for Disturbed and Breaking Benjamin at Red Rocks.  Red Rock seems like an amazing performance space (though I have yet to visit), and Disturbed I am still absolutely loving, and Breaking Benjamin are so great!  So I guess I’m going to be deaf for the rest of the week – its a Monday night.  On the plus side, Mark also likes both those bands and he asked me to get a couple of tickets for him…so neither  of us will be at work on the Tuesday that’s for sure.


Saturday I went for my explore.  The context…Chuck came to work on Monday with a brand new cap on Monday morning.  He’d been to visit his sister in Greeley and she owns a bar and grill in Greeley called the Mad Cow.  I looked up the town and discovered that they have a winters farmers market on the second and fourth Saturday of the month.  I have to admit that it was less farmers and more an art market – I suspect the indoor venue they have found for winter is an art studio.  I did get a decent chunk of beef for my dinner, some fresh eggs, and my salad for the week.  That was from the two stores selling produce.  I also got a hand towel that has the knitted top and button like what Great Aunty Joyce does.


Didn’t see any gardens, but I guess the ground is frozen.

The guy selling veg of course asked about my accent (I’m slowly getting used to being such a novelty), but he used to fly in and out of Centennial Airport.  He’s always been a farmer – he was quite insistent on this  point – but at that time he was some sort of fancy big wig selling timber products. He had to visit the 130 stores nation wide and the saw mills etc., So he had a company leer jet at his disposal.  He then spent fifteen years teaching and the last five ish part time teaching and part time farming.  Now he’s actually a farmer full time and he has a mission to get as many people as possible eating nutritious organic foods.  He also told me about some massive floods that ripped through the South Platte River valley a couple of years ago … his thought was that the water from that flood would have kept Denver in water for years.  My only response was that I’d love to build the dam that is that big!

Then I went for a walk through the town looking for the Mad Cow.  I found the Mad Cow quite easily, its on the main  street.  Perfect location for a bar.  The town is actually super cool.  There are murals all over the place, statues, and bars.  I can imagine that of a warm evening it could be a pretty fun place to hang out.  Pity its so so far from Denver.

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The Mad Cow was another of those places that has huge potential to be a decent place to hang out.  These are the sorts of bars that I wish existed close to my house.  I suspect that we don’t get them in  Greenwood Village because it is an area for the la-di-da professionals and they usually like those stupidly big, fancy looking places.  Yay.  😐  So at the Mad Cow I met Jason the bar tender.  Jason was kind enough to give me a beer which was super yummy, a really good (and huge) sandwich, and some advice for places to see.  When I go into these bars and want a beer I’ve taken to asking the bar tender to decide what I should have, surprise me.  I don’t know the beers so best way to learn is to be surprised.  Some take it really well, others just cannot handle it, Jason managed to handle it well enough.  I do specify no stout.


My first intended stop was the brewery of that beer I liked, Weldwerks.  Where I ended up was a place that had a cool front – an old school train platform type scene.  Its in the group of photos above with all the art, Wells Fargo & Co. Express.  I walked around the side of the building and there was a woman about mums age who was exclaiming that the train was dropping off the plates for the rail.  They’d dropped off the rails earlier in the week and now were dropping off the plates.  She said that the rail companies were preparing for repair works ahead of the summer season (season of what I’m not sure).  Turns out the lady is the curator for the Colorado Model Railway Museum, her name is Susan.  And we all know that I’m not a train nerd, nor a model train nerd, but this place was absolutely amazing!  Super impressive.

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The guys that ‘work’ there are generally volunteers, particularly on the weekends when they’re not doing their normal job.  I talked to one train controller, Dave, about how it all works.  On Sundays the system works on a computer, so there aren’t train controllers, but during the week and Saturdays the trains are operated by train controllers who listen to a dispatcher.  Seriously – these guys have a head set and controller and they control the train just like a train driver would.  So cool!  There is a clock which runs at about double time.  According to the honour board the whole thing took over 217 000 volunteer hours to make.  And there  are about 20 trains there, the most that Dave had seen running was 18.  The longest train in the set was Dave’s – fifty carriages (yes I counted, and yes they were shocked when I related the 237 carriages for the Pilbara trains).  The picture above the dispatcher is a train derailment and the quote above says:

You might not know where you are and what you’re doing,

And God knows where you are and what you’re doing,

But if the dispatcher doesn’t know where you are and what you’re doing,

Then you best be on good terms with God.

Okay, train nerd time is over.

My next stop was to actually make it to the brewery, Weldwerks.  I have to admit that I didn’t take any photos there, so here is the link to their website.  I asked if they sold a six pack or similar, they don’t.  But they do sell a giant bottle of beer, a growler, which apparently equates to about four pints.  I also got a couple of glasses from there, one for a slightly oversized shot glass (its their tasting glass), and the other because it looked cool.  Seems that the growlers are sold at most breweries and if you wander in to any they’ll fill it up for you.  Apparently even if you wander in with a growler from a different brewery they’ll fill it up.  The bar man here told me that he keep a growler in his car at all times just in case.  Love that concept.


My growler and two glasses.

Jason had also recommended the Centennial Village, a museum where  they’d relocated a number of historic buildings, not replicas but the actual buildings.  It seems I was again thwarted by the winter closures issue.  All closed up and not open until April.  I guess I’ll have to go back, a cruise around the area was impressive.

I then decided it was time to head home and do my groceries (yay).


*****New Thing No. 9*****

On the way I turned off at a big brown sign (dammit mum, more evidence I’m turning into you!) towards an historic fort, Fort Lupton.  I think I managed to miss the main entry, there were no more directional signs, but I ended up at the river side of the fort.  I parked with all these many many cars, and saw some white tents in the distance, closer to the river.  I wandered up to the fort and had a good stroll around.  Interesting place, walls about two foot thick, really damp and cold in the rooms…I guess when you light the fires they’d dry the rooms out and make it less chilly and damp feeling.

Then the  really fun part happened.  I headed down to the river side to see what all this tent fuss was about.  There ere about 100 tents.  I’ve since looked it up and it turns out that this is an annual event, the Frozen Toes Rendezvous (the photo looks like it was freezing there last year, this year would have been positively pleasant in comparison!).  When I was walking through I found that I was totally the odd one out.  Everyone, including the children, were in period costumes.  The tents were old school, the pots, pans, utensils, chairs, everything looked old school.  I wandered through the area having a good gander and everyone looked at me as if I were totally out of place – I was.

I stopped in at one of the tents and had a chat with the proprietor.  He and his wife were selling all sorts of clothes, hats, and accessories.  They do the rounds apparently, in two weeks they were heading to Texas for the next camp.  The event after that is further up north in a month or so, at this one you’re not even allowed to go in unless you’re in period costume and there are over 500 tents.  That would be awesome!

It seems that the mornings are filled with hunting – there was also a guy selling the right kinds of guns – the days are filled with fires and chatter, and the evening are full with drinking, music, and mayhem.  Friday night they were drinking at the bar in the first set of photos.  Saturday night was planned to be in a big drinking hall area of the fort.  Every tent had at least one dog, and they were all big dogs, one Saint Bernard some Alsatian types, and others that I just don’t recognise.

The website for the event actually says that they’re all pre-1840s.  Everything pre-1840s.  The rules for this one were that you had to have no plastic or aluminium visible after 1800.  If you have horses you have to have the appropriate insurances.  If you have cannons you have to have them in just the right area – I didn’t see the cannons.  Such a fun way to spend a weekend for the kids!

My first experience of a period camp out.  Brilliant!


On the way home I did manage to get to the grocery store and stocked up so I could cook up earlier in the morning.  Sunday morning I got up and put my chunk of beef from the farmers market in the slow cooker and headed off to Cherry Creek Park for a jog.  I drove over there and found a street that looked like a safe parking spot close enough to the access tracks and headed off.  I managed to jog all of 9.9km…sure I walked about 1/5 of that, but hell, it was the furthest I’ve gone since the surgery.  Its a nice park to jog around, I’ll have to see if I can get all the way around the lake eventually.  I saw so many of these little ground dwelling, chirping, not meerkats-but-similar critters.  They chatter and chirp and whistle then if you get too close they duck back into their holes.

After my jog I hung up all my pictures…such a great time!  My house feels oh so much more homey.  When I open a drawer I find the things that I’m looking for – no more trying to make do with what I’ve got.  When I walk around my place the walls are no longer bare and dull.  I have photos of everyone up on my walls.  Its so comfortable, I love it!


Time for some inspiration for the crafty readers.

So I keep seeing these things on my travels, so when I do I’ll put this spot on the end of the blog so those who aren’t that interested in the artsy stuff can tune out and those who are interested can keep reading.  I promise you there isn’t anything interesting after these artsy snippets!

Mum – I get that you didn’t notice he African American weavings in the last post, so this bit is for you 🙂  I found some more  old school weavings at the Rendezvous thing.  Here are both photos so you don’t have to go hunting in the last post for it.  The bigger ones from Manitou Springs sold for $580 (plus tax remember!) and the smaller ones from the Rendezvous sold for between $100 and $300.  $100 for the inkle loom type band in a chevron pattern!!!


Rendezvous – $100 for the chevron one on the right.


Manitou Springs – Traditional African American weaving (at $580 a piece)

Gran – I saw these thing which are pretty cool  Seeds of Happiness.  They’re just glazed blobs of clay with a face drawn on them.  Now I’m not saying copy this, but something like this would be kinda cool for your Warrandyte and so on.  They sold for $2 each and $18 for ten.  Might be some inspiration for you, dunno.  They were about the size of a knuckle piece.


The story goes:

Seeds of Happiness started out as leftover lumps f clay I made into smiles to give out to friends who were going through hard times and needed a little smile.  That was in 2006, since then I have given out thousands of smiles to folks, a handful at a time.  In turn, they share them and the story with their friends in need of a smile.

Then those people share with more friends and keep the story going.  The seeds are all over the planet now.  I receive a lot of emails with photos and stories of how these little seeds made a difference to someone.  From Africa to the land down under, the seeds have been planted and smiles have been resurrected to people who need them.  Seems a lot of people need smiles these days.  Share a smile – help me spread the seeds of happiness.

– Mark Borella “The Seeds of Happiness Guy”

The other thing I’ve been seeing an awful lot of is coasters and slightly larger ‘trivets’.  These you could totally smash out heaps of them with a little caving and or pretty glaze with left overs.  They sell for anything from $15 to $20 here.

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