Family & Friends

So 2016 has been a tough year for losing celebrities, but now the loss has become personal. When I joined the Maintenance/Sail Crew at the Maritime Museum, I did so, in part, in hope of being able to sail the Star of India. My hard work was rewarded in 1999 by being chosen to sail on the Star, something we did four times that summer. It was in those days of sail training that I first got to meet Captain Rich Goben. As we started sail training, Capt Goben took the time to explain the physics of how the ship and the wind worked together to travel. He was explaining the larger picture of square-rigged sailing, not just which piece of rope did what, so that we would have a complete understanding of how the ship worked, and what he had to keep in mind as Captain. I heard him repeat those explanations over and over in the 11 years that I worked around the Star and the Museum’s other ships. He diligently repeated himself because he know that there were new crew members who could benefit from his lessons, and that was part of why they were at the Museum.

In 11 years, I saw his helpful, cherry attitude deal with all sorts of situations, always with grace, understanding, and strong leadership. He could be quite silly, when the situation called for it. In 2008, when the Star of India wasn’t able to sail, Capt Goben and a small crew took the Medea out to see with HMS Surprise and Californian. I’m not quite sure why, but Capt Goben set up a fishing pole of the aft deck of Medea. He had to clear the line many times, and never caught anything except seaweed, but it seemed the perfect  addition to our day ride on the 100+ old steam yacht (or fishing trawler, I guess).










And the crew knew that when Capt Goben picked up his mandolin or violin to join the music on the main deck, we could all take a break as well. Cause we knew that he wasn’t likely to yell, “Ready About” in the middle of a good reel. Sadly, Rich Goben died on Monday after a short illness, and now I’d be happy to hear him call for a tack or a wear or just about any command I can think of. Fair Winds and Following Seas to my friend and shipmate, we’ll not see his like again.

Capt'n Fiddles 11:15


So, I’m a bit behind in wishing everyone a Happy New Year, but it’s all about the sentiment, right?

Summing up a year like 2012 that some real highs and lows isn’t easy. Offer on the condo and two weeks to find a house to buy (and finding a house that we really liked) was great. The moving and settling in was tedious, but the being settled was great. We had two great open houses – one to show off the new house and one for Christmas. Stan and I had great trips to San Diego (for my nieces’s wedding), to CA to camp with our friends, and driving to Southern Colorado and Northern New Mexico. Stan celebrated his ten year anniversary at his job. We attended dinners, games days, beer trips, and other great events with our friends.

And then there’s the elephant in the room. Yes, dealing with the death of Jo Ann was a shock. We were able to lean on our great friends and families, a real blessing. They helped us get through the first foggy days with few issues. The learning curve was steep, but we did come to understand estate issues that can only come in handy in the future. And we have only one major item, selling the house, left to finish things up.

Sadly, life doesn’t work like a scale that evens up by the end of the year. But the longer I live more I am sure that (as I said back in college),”It’s the pain that makes the pleasure worth it.” Bittersweet. Topsy-turvy. Unpredictable. Unscripted. Life.

Here’s to a happy and healthy 2013 for everyone.


Happy Anniversary

by Mary on 06/01/2012 · 1 comment

in Family & Friends, Travel

Today is my 1st Anniversary. I had no idea that I would ever say those words, but life took me in a new direction. It’s been a great year, with a lot of changes, but very few real issues. If being married is really this easy, I’m not sure where the work part comes in.

Much of the credit for that has to go to Stan, since he makes me want to be a better person every day. Thank you for all you do, husband. I look forward to many more.

{ 1 comment }

Italy Day 12, but more importantly – Wedding Day.

It was a lovely day – everything went off well. Our transport got us into Florence on time, the wedding coordinator had beautiful  flowers and the guitar player was great, the location was unique, the ceremony was fun, and the post wedding gelato was a perfect end. The owner of the Villa created a lovely wedding lunch for us, and everyone got a well deserved afternoon nap.


So last night after dinner, which was soup, I realized that I hadn’t removed my spoon from the bowl and placed on the plate under the bowl. I commented that I hadn’t “shipped my oar,” and Stan looked at me with that ‘Are you speaking English?’ look that he gives me when he has no idea what I’m talking about.

I explained that growing up if we had soup, or some other item in a bowl or parfeit glass, if I didn’t remove my spoon and put it on the plate under the container my dad would remind me to “Ship your oar.” Now living with my grandparents in the house, there were some sayings from eras gone by that I heard on a regular basis, and never really questioned. Now that I occasionally use them around a ‘new’ person, I get questioned and I don’t always have a good etymological explanation.

“Ship your oar” usually came from my father although it could’ve originated with my grandmother, since she did raise him, too. The term actually means the opposite of what I was doing, since to ‘ship your oar’ is to place the oar into the crutch in preparation of rowing, whereas to ‘boat your oar’ is to return the oar into the boat.

In the end it’s just another weird thing that my family says.


So this last weekend, Stan and I were able to enjoy two more of our engagement gifts, all various experiences or unusual items of Colorado. On Friday we drove down to Denver to go punting on Cherry Creek, known at Venice on the Creek, put on by The Greenway Foundation. The 40 minutes ride takes you from Larimer St to past Wazee St, through two locks, with narration about the history of the Creek and Denver from a member of the River Rangers, high school students who also do ecological educational programs. Margie and Dave joined us and we had a lovely ride. Our boat happened to be one that came from England, though the others we saw on the Creek were built in CO. They have finished for the year, but if you’re a local, you should give it a try. Thanks Margie & Dave.

On Sunday, we attended The Comedy of Errors at the Colorado Shakespeare Festival on the campus of the University of Colorado, Boulder. The play was great, and even though we were there on a quite warm evening, we had great seats (that were on the aisle and not in the sun). The play is very silly, but much fun and we had a lovely time. During the first act, we had a 20 minutes delay because of a medical situation in the audience. They actually asked for a ‘doctor in the house’ who happened to be sitting two rows in front of us. We were told that he was going to be fine, although the EMTs did take him to the ER. It might have been heat related as he was an older gentleman sitting where the sun was shinning for the first 20 minutes of the show. Still a great time. Thanks Doyce & Kate.


Mt Evans and beyond

by Mary on 06/28/2011 · 2 comments

in Family & Friends, Travel

So as a way to beat  the heat on Saturday last, Stan suggested we head into the mountains. We drove west and up to the top of Mt Evans, which is the highest paved roadway in the United States.

Where it was north of 90 degrees in Boulder, it was a crisp 53 degrees (highest temp of record at the top was 65 degrees) at the parking lot at the top of the road (which is a small bit below the actual top). The top is significantly above the tree line and there was still a fair amount of snow around. The 9,000 foot difference from Boulder meant that a small amount of exertion left one breathing heavy; this can make one feel like a whimp when one witnesses the 50-60 people riding their bikes up the mountain. And the road has no guardrails, no line and is just slightly wider than two cars.

The road was begun in 1931 as part of a project to connect the tops of Mt Evans, Long Peak, and Pike’s Peak with a ‘highway in the sky.’ The rest of the road proved unfeasible (especially with 1930s technology),  but it would’ve been pretty keen. Crazy, but keen.

The Mountain Goats were hanging about is several places, although they do hang out near the restrooms at the top because of the minerals that leach where water runs. They are not scared of people unless they get within about five feet or they get too close to the babies. We didn’t see any pikas but we could hear them chattering.

After the long slow trip down Mt Evans, we continued on to Leadville, where I got the grand circle tour after we had lunch at Casa Blanca (best cheap Mexican food in CO so far).

We stopped along the was to see the Climax mine (a blot on the landscape to be sure), where Molybdenum was mined (and may be again). I took this photo in the opposite direction, with the pretty landscape. Stan shoed me some of the mines around Leadville including the Ibex mine run by J Brown, husband of  Margaret Brown. In fact, the mountains of Colorado as just lousy with abandoned mining equipment and out buildings. It would be more picturesque if the resulting tailing ponds and piles of dirt weren’t so poisonous.

On our way back to the highway we stopped at the 10th Mountain Division memorial as well as the remnants of Camp Hale in the valley below.It was beautiful on Sat, but I can bet it’s mighty inhospitable in winter, a great training ground for the first harsh environment light Army division.

We were home by around 8:30. It was fun to see more of the unique places in Colorado. I look forward to many more such trips


The first gift of the Year of Love gifts from the engagement party. Courtesy of Michelle.

Update: the game had a 95 minute rain delay in the 6th inning. We left just before the game started again since we had a long drive and an early morning. But the Pads were victorious 3-1. Game ended just before 11pm.


Wedding Video

by Mary on 06/09/2011 · 2 comments

in Family & Friends, Travel

This is a shortened version of the wedding video (I had to edit about 2 minutes because of YouTube’s requirements). I have upped the volume as much as I could.



by Mary on 06/08/2011 · 5 comments

in Family & Friends, Travel

So yes, I went to Italy for a trip with my friends. The flying/airport parts were tedious, but with very few issues. Stan and I met Margie, Dave & Katherine at DIA, met up with Jim, Ginger and Michelle in Chicago, and arrived in Naples at 11:30am. We had a van for our ride to the townhouse in Sorrento(a fabulous idea based on the crazy driving around Naples). We stayed in Sorrento for a week, with day trips down the Amalfi Coast, around Sorrento, Naples, Pompeii & Herculanium. We also had a couple of our activities stopped by a local strike which closed roads(austarity measures that would’ve closed 2 of Italy’s state run ship yards, including the one just north of us on the coast, made the workers a little mad). The weather was very nice with a fairly constant breeze from the sea to make things comfortable.

The coast around Sorrento is clearly beach resort central, but the town was very walkable with train and boat transportation to Naples. Stan and I had to go up to Florence overnight during the week to complete the paperwork for our wedding, and we had to change from train to boat at the last minute because of the strike, but we did make it.

We took the Frecciarossa (Red Arrow) high-speed train to Floremce, which has a top speed of 215mph. It took only 3 hours. We had to have three separate pieces of paper filled out, signed, and filed at various offices around the center of Florence – 1 from the American Consulate, 1 from an Italian Govt Employee, both taken to another Govt office, and put into the form that allowed us to get married. (Important to remember the the Romans invented bureaucracy.) The paperwork was actually done before noon on Thursday, and we were back in Sorrento by 6pm that night.

On Friday we spent time at both Pompeii and Herculanium, both fascinating and different. Our guide was very good and helped make sense of what could easily just be piles of rocks and other old stuff. The weather was a little warmer, but still very comfortable. On Saturday, the drivers (Dave, Stan, Michelle and Jim) went to the car agency and return with our vehicles – a FIAT Doblo and a Peugeot 5008. We were off like a heard of turtles to Tuscany. We stopped in Rome and picked up Dave’s parents, Hall and Gloria.

The Villa Roncavisi is situated on the top of a hill that looks down on the town of Monticatini Terme, about 45 minutes north of Florence. The Villa was built 210 years ago, although the current owners have updated the inside included by adding 8 bathrooms. It was a wonderful place to stay. On Sunday, we went into Florence by train, and visited the Uffizi and the Academia with a wonderful guide. We took Monday off, swam in the pool, and hung around the Villa, with some of us visiting Monticatini Terme during the weekly market. On Tuesday, we drove to Pisa, about an hour away. We had a great time visiting the Field of Miracles (and boy, does the Leaning Tower lean). Our friends cooked a lovely pre-wedding dinner for Stan and I after we returned.

On Wednesday, there was this ceremony thing at the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence. (I didn’t take my camera that day, so the photos are on everyone else’s cameras.) Everything went very well, with paperwork done. Sandra ( did a great job and the officiant who married Stan and I was really a hoot. He was having at least as much fun as we were. We returned to the Villa for a Wedding Luncheon prepared by Ana(one of the owners). It was lovely and filling, so everyone retired for a post meal nap. We had a quiet evening.

Dave, Michelle, Stan and I returned to Florence the next day (but not early). We visited the Baptistry, the Duomo Museum and the Bargello Museum and were back at the Villa in time for dinner. It happened to be Anniversary of the Republic Day (150) so there were various celebrations going on around the city, but nothing that got in our way.

On Friday, we visited a couple of Tuscan towns, tasted wine at Vinamaggio (really good) and had dinner with the Butcher of Panzano, a meal not to be forgotten. It was a carnivore’s delight.

Sadly, on Saturday we packed and drove to Rome, checked into a hotel, turned in the cars, ate a hotel restaurant meal, and felt that the vacation was over, even if we hadn’t yet left Italy. The next day we did just that.

All in all, it was a wonderful trip. And Margie deserves a lot of the credit since she acted as the travel agent, setting up the excursions, finding the accommodations, and targeting the flights. And since we were celebrating our 30 year friendship, I guess I’ll have to se up the next one!