December 2, 2005


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Adam DeGraff North Denver Notions
Hello North Denver. Isn’t this man, legendary. Here’s my favorite paper the greatest? I love how open fun fact about Lionel Young: he it is to the voices of the communi- played first chair violin when Led ty. And I love how intelligent and Zeppelin played with the Denver quirky the community is. I think Symphony a few years back. So this paper is far more he was paid to jam with fun to read than the Big Jimmy Page. That beats DNote Denver Press. Even betanything I got. ter than the Big New Chronicles Speaking of legendYork Press. (Especially ary, The Clamdaddys, since the new regime). at the Dnote every I used to write a column in this Wednesday night, are also a clasrag called Maya’s View which some sic of the age, or, rather, ageless. of you old timer’s might remem- My personal goal is to have “folk ber. Maya is now nearly five and hero” written in my obituary. Not doing well, a princess through really, but I figure it is a good thing and through. Just try putting a to strive for. The Clamdaddys are pea under her mattress! Maya worthy of the title. I figure such just acquired another little sister, things rub off. Marley, a few weeks ago. Now it Speaking of the Clamdaddys, a is Monica, Matthew, Maya, Maryn bit of local legend: Tommy is the and Marley, Or, for short, Mo Ma character Zeb in the new Zebra Ma Ma and Ma. Take that Yo Yo Junction CD, Waterbourne. Check Ma. out the CD if you get the chance. I stopped writing Maya’s view Google Zebra Junction and you’ll because I moved out of my broth- get to some MP3s. It is the best er’s house and began to spend work of regional art I’ve heard all my time and energy helping since The Real’s “Majestic” last build the Dnote. Do you know year. the Dnote? The D can stand for And do you know The Reals? many things, but just now “dream” They play around town every now comes to mind. Whatever comes to and then, about once a quarter at mind works, whatever you denote. the Dnote. Led by siblings Matt It has been over two years since and Cheyenne Kowal, the Reals the Dnote began. Up until about leave you shaking and smiling. If now I always wanted to tell people you ever get a chance to see them we were younger than we were, live, don’t miss it. It will be akin to wanting to stay in the magic of a religious conversion, only withyouth, and hoping our struggle out having to convert. There is no to stay in business was the result band in the last few years at the of just starting out. And really, it Dnote that has gotten me dancing was. But lately I have started tak- harder. ing pride in aging, proud to be here To truly call yourself a Northsider, this long, wanting to be able to lie you need be acquainted with the about being older, telling people local Culture. So check out Zebra we are the oldest Dnote in Arvada. Junction, The Clamdaddys and I love the weight time is giving to The Reals when you get the chance. the Dnote, the character, the pati- All three bands perfectly embody na that is starting to accrue. Not the Northside zeitgeist, sounding unlike this paper actually, which like they just rolled down off the is only marginally older than we mountains into the Arvada future. are, our big sister. Lionel Young, however, comes I write this from the sound from the other direction, sounding booth of the Dnote, on a Friday more like he shot out of a cannon night, while Lionel Young kicks from New Orleans. But we are glad out his inventive take on bar stan- he landed here. dards, ripping all kinds of odd To sum up, we are summing riffs on his electric violin into up. Hope you’ll come by and join the middle of Rocking Pneumonia us. I’ll catch you next month, same and the Boogie Woogie Blues. A North Denver paper, same North shred of the Star Wars theme just Denver ink. *** flew past me. Lionel is a beautiful

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Page 14


December 2, 2005

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What can you give a gardener friend for Christmas or what can you, the gardener, give a nongardening friend? Down the First find Garden out if a nongardening Path friend wants a plant. Every time I’ve given a plant to one of my good friends, she either gives it away or deliberately kills it. I’ve given up on her. Now she gets gift certificates. A good plant to give is the Christmas Cactus or schlumbergera truncata. The flowers come in red, orange, white or pink. The only tricky thing about this plant is that it must have 12 hours or more of darkness from early September until buds form. The room where the plant is kept must be cool. Some flower lovers who don’t have a north-facing room with twelve hours of darkness put this plant in the closet nightly until buds begin to form. I probably would forget to take it out of the closet. My plant sits outside on the patio during the summer. I bring it inside in late September or early October when nights begin to cool During the summer it gets rain and this is usually sufficient as the plant hates overwatering. When I water my houseplants I fertilize with Oxygen Plus. If you overwater, this liquid keeps the water away from the roots so the plant can breathe. It’s a bit more expensive, but like the Brycreem ads used to say, “a little dab’ll do ya.” I will go through two pint-sized bottles a year. Another plus for this plant is that it doesn’t mind being rootbound. It can remain in the same container for many years and needs nothing but fertilizing. After it matures, yearly pruning is necessary to maintain good bloom. Other than that, little care is needed. Starting Christmas Cactus is very easy. In the spring after it quits blooming prune it severely. Take some of the pruned branches and stick them into some good potting soil. I mix my soil one-half potting soil and one-half compost. My mature plant has been in the same pot now for eight years. During the rooting cycle keep the soil moist but not soggy. It will take about three months before you can see the branches putting on new growth. Don’t fertilize until you are sure the branches are all rooted. The plant may set buds in October and be in bloom for Thanksgiving, but don’t worry about it. It will probably bloom in season the next year. Not all Christmas Cactus bloom at Christmastime. Some bloom for Thanksgiving or even as late as Easter. If your plant is the right variety it may bloom more than once. Mine blooms for Thanksgiving, Valentine’s day and later in the spring. It misses Christmas altogether. My son has one that delays its bloom until sometime in February, but once it starts it blooms for about three months. These cacti-blooming periods depend on just where the sun is hitting them. Go to a reputable source when buying plants. Nurseries are constantly fighting white flies. A good nursery destroys affected plants. Before you buy, check for mottled yellow leaves. Larva on the undersides of the leaves are covered with a waxy powder. Spider mites are another common problem, more so in homes than nurseries. They are born and live outside all summer and move in when the weather gets cold. They’ll settle in your plants and build tiny webs. If your plant has been outdoors during the summer be sure to inspect it before you bring it in. To check for mites hold a white piece of paper under the plant and shake foliage. The mites are easily seen then because they are red. Use an indoor plant spray containing pyrethrins for control. Christmas cactus is especially suited to our region because our winter sun drops below the mountains early in the day. ***

December 2, 2005

Myths, facts on energysaving window replacement
With radio and TV ads promising savings of 40% on home heating costs, and home heating costs likely to rise by elephantine proportions this winter, now seems like a great time to invest in new windows. But be careful some manufacturers appear to be taking advantage of heating cost fears to promise consumers savings that will never materialize. “Some people are saying you can save up to 40%, even saying they’ll refund the difference at the end of the year,” explains Carlos Perez of Grande Vista Windows & Doors, Inc. “I’d never tell anyone that.” “There’s too many variables,” says his business partner, Kent Trunck. “What’s in the attic? Is the crawlspace insulated? How often are windows left open? All of these things can affect your energy bill. But you can save up to 20-30% with new windows.” “And 20 to 30% is good, really good, when energy costs are going up 70%,” says Perez. Common sense and insulation provide good cost savings, but getting new windows can make a lot of sense. There are also numerous other benefits to replacing old single-pane and wooden sashed windows. “Sound insulation is a huge benefit of replacing windows, as well as eliminating indoor condensation. When you get a thermally insulated window, it eliminates that condensation,” says Perez. That has benefits both for protecting your walls, which can mold if condensation remains, and keeping your windows looking clean. “And double-paned windows are actually better for sound insulation than triple paned,” says Trunck. “They provide similar energy savings. Because the panes are further apart, less sound is transferred through double-paned. Close together panes transfer sound better.” “What many people don’t realize,” says Perez, “is that they don’t need to buy something ridiculously expensive to get the energy savings they need. The national


Page 15

brands are likely to be three times the price, while our manufacturer is as good if not better. Someone who is local is easier to deal with, and it becomes really important at altitude.” Windows produced at sea level often swell when transported to Colorado, and this swelling can cause all kinds of problems when it comes to the seals around the windows. If you’re hesitating to replace windows or doors because you have an older house and you don’t want it to lose its character, you shouldn’t wait. “Wood frames are great back east, but out here they tend to get dry rot. We’ve replaced some that are only 10 years old.” It’s usually easy to replace windows and doors and keep the historic style - vinyl windows can be made with wooden veneers, and new windows can be made from wood. “I live in an older home in Highland,” explains Perez, “and it’s not destroying the historical style. In terms of replacing the windows, you might save upwards of 30% because the old windows are so inefficient.” —Mossberg Cooper

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December 2, 2005

Swansea, North Denver's own ballet
equipment, the kids used chairs instead. Despite the ballet modest debut, Smith has recruited new students, advancing the school, and attracting foundation support to sustain the program. Swansea Ballet is a now a program of the Center for Non-Profit Development. The program’s future seems

It’s a Christmas tradition with a twist. The classic holiday season ballet, the Nutcracker is being performed in North Denver with a troupe of talented children. Performed by the Swansea Ballet, it is a great chance to introduce the classical dance to families. The Swansea Ballet began at



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It’s time to get merry again in more I want to participate. I’m North Denver. Take a stroll down always surprised by the number to 32nd & Lowell, and partici- of people who think Highlands pate in a holiday scavenger hunt is Highlands Ranch. It’s four or visit with the and a half miles Jolly Old Elf himfrom downtown, self. On December and we have so 10th, from 11 ‘til 4 much to offer pm, come down for Everything from creative gift shops refreshments and and boutiques, to holiday cheer. fabulous restau“We’ll have Santa rants, independent and Mrs. Claus in bookstores, health the square, along with free apple care, massage, cider and hot acupuncture, even cocoa. Right now, chocolates and perwe’re working on fumes.” some elf girls – um, New to this young, elf women year’s festivities, a – to assist,” says Christmas-themed Joy Barrett, owner scavenger hunt of Studio Bead and will have shoppers point-person for checking out businesses they may not the event. Because have noticed before Santa always needs Joy Barrett, the brains and brawn a bit of help during behind the Scavenger Hunt. – not just for great the holiday season, Christmas gifts, but Dr. Kerry Iselin has again agreed also in hopes of finding Max’s antto help gather children’s requests ler from the Grinch, or Ralphie’s this season, and will be wearing broken glasses. The hunt will the same Santa costume his own begin on December 10th, and close father wore when he performed on the 20th. “We’ve worked hard the service years ago. Ringing out to come up with a list of 32 fun, holiday cheer, carolers from North whimsical objects – things that High School will be walking the are nostalgic to the holidays,” says strip, and festive lighting will fes- Barrett. “Participating merchants will be stamping cards as shoppers toon trees all along 32nd avenue. With a background in advertis- find objects on the list, and when ing, Barrett says “the more expo- they’ve found everything they can sure I can get for businesses, the drop the card off at any merchant.

Highlands set for holiday fun - Santa visits December 10

Swansea Elementary, but has found a new home at Edison Elementary. The ballet class is an after-school program for Edison students, as well as students from other nearby schools. Classes are free for students of the ballet, though donations from the community and foundations are sought. Esther Smith started the ballet in 2001. A former dancer turned second-grade teacher, Smith decided to offer serious after-school ballet classes to students, many of them would have more traditional avenues to dance foreclosed to them. After flyering the school, four students showed up for the class in a nearby recreation center. Without traditional dance studio

secure— its board includes Colleen Colarelli, President and CEO of Girls, Inc., Tisch-educated film and video producer Yvette Pita, as well as school board member Rev. Lucia Guzman. The Edison gymnasium is a big step up from the old days in the cafeteria, and over time the ballet has become more established and professional. The Nutcracker represents the season’s highlight for the ballet, and always delights audiences. Performances are at 2:00 pm on Sunday, December 4th, and 6:30 pm on Monday, December 5th at Edison Elementary, 32nd Avenue and Perry. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the door before the show. ***

Once the event closes, the winner of the hunt will win a huge gift box of presents – everything from hairstyle to massage, gift certificates. It’s going to be really something.” “There are so many great shops and services in the area, we’re really hoping this scavenger hunt will encourage people to discover something they’ve never noticed before,” says Barrett. “And besides,

it’s been a lot of fun.” The Highland Merchant Association operates a website detailing events in the neighborhood, including the scavenger hunt. To download a stamp card, find contest details, or just find out more about the Highlands, check out www.highlands-square. com. ***

December 2, 2005

Time to think about year-end tax tips
Now that it’s December, you’re probably busy with family gatherings and holiday celebrations. Still, try to find some time to think about a non-holiday topic: taxes. You may have until April 17, 2006, to file your taxes, but you only have until the end of the year to make some moves that could benefit your tax situation - so you’ll need to take action soon. Here are some suggestions to consider: Maximize your retirement account contributions. If you haven’t “maxed out” on your 401(k), see if your employer will allow you to make additional contributions before year-end. For 2005, you can contribute up to $14,000 (or $18,000 if you’re over 50 years old). You typically fund your 401(k) with pre-tax dollars, so, the more you contribute, the lower your taxable income. Donate appreciated securities to charities - If you have stocks that have appreciated greatly over the years, you might want to donate some shares to charitable organizations. Suppose, for instance, that you bought shares of XYZ stock for $250, and that they are now worth $1,000. If you were to give these shares to a charitable group, and you are in the 28 percent tax bracket, you would get a $280 tax deduction, based on the shares’ current market value. Furthermore, because you are not selling the shares, you will avoid having to pay any capital gains taxes on your $750 profit. Sell your “losers” - Did any of your stocks lose value in 2005? If so, you may want to sell some of them to take the tax losses. If these losses exceeded your capital gains from selling appreciated stocks, you can deduct up to $3,000 (or


Page 17

$1,500 for married couples filing separately) against your other income, reducing the amount on which you must pay taxes. And if you lost more than $3,000, you can carry over the excess into subsequent years. o Consider buying “big-ticket” items now - If you are planning on buying a car, boat or other “big-ticket” item, you may want to do so before the end of the year. If the total sales tax is more than your state or local income taxes, you can choose to deduct any of these taxes on your 2005 federal tax return - but this is the last year in which this benefit will be offered. Defer income when possible - If you’re self-employed, defer billing until late December. If you work for a company, and you’re scheduled to get a year-end bonus, see if you can put it off until January. Delay exercising non-qualified stock options - You will be taxed on any non-qualified stock options you exercise, so you may want to delay exercising them until next year. (Before you make this decision, though, you’ll want to evaluate the price and prospects of the stock on which you hold an option. If you hold an option too long, you will eventually be forced to exercise it; if the stock price is down at that point, you might not make much of a profit - and, in a “worst-case” scenario, your option could become worthless.) If you are unsure about which of these suggestions may be appropriate for your individual situation, see your tax adviser. But don’t wait too long - 2006 will be here before you know it. —You can reach Eric Jasper at 303.458.6655 for more sound financial advice. ***

HAPPY HOLIDAYS happy holidays

We have a lot to be thankful for during the holidays because of We have a lot to be thankful for during the holidays you - our friends and neighbors here in Northwest Denver. It is a because of you — of this community. Enjoy the holiday pleasure to be a part our friends and neighbors here in season.

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Renee Fajardo

December 2, 2005

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North Denver Notions
If you live in the southwest In the 1930s philanthropist spending the Christmas holiday's Christine Sterling and other city in Taos Pueblo in New Mexico is not leaders began a campaign to considered unusual. Here in the preserve and restore the puebwilds of the west, we are steeped lo. David Alfaro Sisqueiros was in the history and blending of commissioned to paint the conculture and sacred troversial mural beliefs between the American Tropical Europeans and the Holy Days in the on the Italian Hall indigenous natives. in 1932. He was Amazingly enough, City of Angels at deported from the California too has a U.S. after the mural El Pueblo Pueblo that is just was completed. as historically releThe Olvera Street vant as the Pueblos of our region. market was also renovated at this El Pueblo, located in downtown time and an influx of Hispanic L.A., is even unknown to most Los crafters, artisans, blacksmiths, Angelinos. But it is here that the glass blowers, restaurateurs and Holy Days of December are cel- other vendors were solicited to ebrated, with some of the United breathe life back into the ailing States most stunning pageantry historic area. Many of the families and touching symbolism. of the original vendors still own The El P u e b l o Historic Monument is the birth place of the City of Angels. Founded in 1781 by the Spanish g o v e r nor of the Californias, Felipe de Neve, the Pueblo de la Reina de Las Posadas procession. Photo by Renee Fajardo. Los Angeles was settled by 11 original fami- and operate business in this nowlies. The forty-eight pioneers were thriving living market place. a mixture of Indian, European Here amidst the rich historical and African blood. Their ethnic context of L.A.'s struggle for idenand cultural backgrounds would tity it has been the Olvera Street set the stage for a city that would merchants, the Placita parishbecome known for its diverse cul- ioners and the Cathedral of Our tural background. Lady of the Angels, said to be one El Pueblo, situated in the area of the most innovative architecknown as The Plaza, is now owned tural wonders of the 20th century by the city of L.A. It is a historic a few blocks south of the Plaza, complex of 27 buildings and a that have been instrumental in central plaza. The oldest building, preserving and promoting two of the Avila Adobe, built in 1818, the most revered holy days for was once home to the power- Hispanic Catholics. These three ful ranchero Francisco Avila. The entities work together individually Sepulveda House, built in 1887, is and collectively every December to the most modern of the pueblo's celebrate La Virgen de Guadalupe buildings. The Old Plaza Catholic and Los Posadas in what is one Church, "La Placita," built in of the nation's most spectacular 1882, has continually served the holy day celebrations. Their comsecular and religious needs of bined efforts provide a vibrantly L.A.'s Hispanic community. In its spiritual atmosphere of camarahalcyon days the pueblo was also derie and pageantry for the whole home to the French, Chinese, community. Italian and Anglo-Americans. see EL PUEBLO on page 23


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December 2, 2005

Dixie Darr North Denver Notions
The world is filled she said it, because when she with trouble, and said "Don't get your hopes up," disappointI heard, "You're not ment lurks around every Season of good enough." Your classmates won't vote corner. I stopped takHope for you, you won't win ing the daily newspathe spelling bee and per and have almost that company will never hire you stopped watching news on TV. "If because YOU ARE NOT GOOD it bleeds, it leads." That seems to be the motto of most news organiENOUGH. zations. The war in Iraq rages on What's wrong with hope, I wonand the body count climbs daily. dered. Isn't it supposed to be a People murder, maim and cheat virtue? one another. If that isn't enough, "I don't want you to be too natural disasters leave thousands disappointed," my mother would dead or destitute. I'm so tired of say. That told me that if I didn't hearing about it that I get most get what I wanted, I wasn't strong of my news from The Daily Show enough or smart enough to handle with Jon Stewart. the disappointment. The message Is that a reason to abandon was pretty clear. It is better not to hope? I don't think so. hope for anything because then Even if the newspapers don't you won't be disappointed when report it, good things happen every you don't get it or achieve it or day, too. Maybe the reason disasbecome it. I think that's a pretty meanters make the news is because spirited message. Some wise perthey are unusual events. Every day doctors help people heal, parson said, "Never deprive someone of hope. It may be all they have." ents love and protect their chilWe saw an abundance of hope dren, teachers impart knowledge, here in North Denver during the plumbers and electricians make fundraiser back in September for sure our houses function. Nature? victims of Hurricane Katrina. It Most of the time, the sun shines, was an outpouring of love for peorivers flow, and flowers grow even through cracks in the sidewalk. ple across the country that we "Don't get your hopes up" is an didn't know, would never meet. expression I heard way too much The weather was gorgeous and when I was growing up. It didn't hundreds of people came from all matter if I was running for student over the neighborhood and everycouncil, studying for the county body wanted to give something, to spelling bee or applying for a job. help in some way. It was a wonderMy mother's response was always ful thing to see and be a part of. the same: "Don't get your hopes Listen to Margaret Mead, who said, "Never doubt that a small up." group of thoughtful citizens can It made me mad every time

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change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." Every day in some small way, we each do things that could change the world. Last month Oprah did her annual favorite things show. One of her favorite things was a moisturizer called Hope in a Jar. I love that idea. On the jar is printed, "Where there is hope there can be faith. Where there is faith miracles can occur." Don't you wish you really could buy hope in a jar? Whenever you needed a dose of hope, all you'd have to do is unscrew the lid. That's what the holiday season is all about: opening the jar of hope. It is a time of darkness, with the longest nights and shortest days of the year. Anne Lamott said, "Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don’t give up." It reminds me that there is another definition to presents. We are all busy now buying things for our loved ones and wrapping pretty presents to pile under the Christmas tree. But events like the fundraiser demonstrate that we need to be present for one another. We need to show up and do our work. We need to feel the presence of our family, friends and neighbors. That may be the best gift of all. *** Dixie Darr wishes you a joyous and hope-filled holiday season. You can reach her at dixiedarr@gmail. com.***

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Rachel Pollack

December 2, 2005

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There’s an interesting point found us a flat through the New about friendship. You can know York Times. It was close to where someone for many years in a par- our classes were to be held, but ticular setting, but until you travel that was all we knew about it. with that person, you don’t really On the night of our deparknow them at all – you just think ture, we didn’t get very far. Too you do. many passengers were Every year since taking advantage of Traveling 1980, my friend Renae the cheap rates and and I have left husband with friends there were not enough (hers), children (hers Our and others planes. pushed flight and mine), and when time was from they were very young, 6 p.m. to 8, then 10, our grandchildren at then midnight. We home for our own destinations drank countless cups of tea and overseas. Now that some of the were shoved and muttered at by grandchildren are older and civi- vast numbers of disgruntled peolized, we have occasionally invited ple. Desperate for sleep, we curled a couple of them on trips with us. up at the airport with our luggage Occasionally too, we have trav- as lumpy pillows. I don’t think we eled with other people, both sepa- ever said the word to each other rately and together. But in the final but we knew, then and there, analysis, when the idea for a par- that the best test of friendship is ticular trip beckons to both of us, how friends behave towards each there’s no debate or discussion. other during unusual, unexpect“Let’s go,” we say. And we do. ed, dismaying, difficult, worrisome It isn’t as if our travel styles or times. We arrived in London just the way we see things are complete- two hours before our first classes ly similar. How dull that would be! were to begin, deciding no sleep It is our differences that make our was better than trying to unpack, travels together so stimulating and nap, and get to class on time. On rewarding. Renae, for instance, is the long flight over, Renae became far more outgoing; I’m basically friendly with a woman and her reserved. Her sociability has gotten daughter who invited us to their us into places supposedly off-lim- home for our first weekend in its according to posted signs (and London. once or twice into slight difficulty). Friends have quirks and habits. In general however, our back- One of us snores a bit, one of us grounds, our tastes and interests lays out our personal items that have much in common. We both must never be moved or touched love history, theatre, music, art, but must always be within reach, politics and philosophical discus- one of us dislikes certain types sions – sometimes the last two of clothes hangers. We believe we with strangers. We enjoy meeting have reasonable foibles. Habits new people (I would add a caveat with a small ‘h’ are mostly what to that since it takes me longer and another person can live with. “I’m I’m a bit more chary), and discov- leaving for class in seven minutes. ering new places. Are you ready?” I’m definitely a bit We’re also adventurous and slower, usually reading or writing spontaneous. In our travels, we until the last minute, then crehave been known to change plans atively throwing on some clothes by changing directions at railway and putting notes together. I stations to indulge our whims, like a leisurely breakfast; Renae thereby enriching our lives. One can dash off with a yogurt in her year we changed trains because backpack. Sometimes it’s easier to it was enormously important to compromise; other times we each see as many of the places in Arles go our own way. that inspired Vincent Van Gogh as Some friends have HABITS. An possible: from the apple orchards English friend invited us on a to the cornfields, the almond trees trip to Holland during one of our and the sunflowers, a ruined abbey university holidays. Leaving her and the Rhone River. We talked in house at 3 a.m. for the Dover ferry, mournful tones about Van Gogh’s scheduled to depart at 6 a.m., our illness manifested by the piece of friend sped along single-lane, rainear he cut off, his friend Gauguin’s soaked, leaf-covered roads, frightdisappearance and his time at the ening us dreadfully. In her tiny hospital. sports car, I sat on a pull-out seat One year, to humor me for an that leapt from its moorings each article I was writing, Renae agreed time we hit a wee bump in the to stay in youth hostels in England road. Like two terrified children, and Scotland. A friend of mine Renae and I said nothing as we joined us at our first hostel in huddled in our seats, clinging to London. The room with three each other. People who drive like beds was so small that we had to that never take notice of anyone dress and undress one at a time, else. Our friend chatted about then crawl into bed to stay out of this and that – Belgium, Holland, the way. On the second day, the people she wanted us to meet, the hostel ran out not only of toast but rain (now a considerable thundertea as well. “Shocking,” said my storm) - as she drove madly on, friend, and promptly moved out to rounding curves on three tires. a ‘real’ hotel. Renae and I didn’t We vowed never again would we care. After all, a room in a hostel drive with her, but broke that vow or a hotel is merely there to be on our return trip from Holland slept in after all of each day’s fasci- and again on a trip to Chichester. nating activities are finished. Renae and I travel together with Our first ‘over the pond’ adven- vast amounts of flexibility and ture began when Renae, on sabbat- adaptability. We need it! In Italy ical from teaching to take courses one year, we misread the deparin London, asked me if I wanted ture times of the bus that would to go. My response took seconds. take us from Siena to Perugia. By “Of course.” I quickly applied for the time we almost had the scheda graduate course and my father see FRIEND on page 22

North Denver Notions

December 2, 2005

NORTH DENVER NEWS Street tree program deadline nears

Page 21

The Park People’s Denver Digs Trees program will be distributing trees for planting along Denver streets on April 22, 2006. Denver residents who have room to add a street tree at their property need to submit a street tree request form by January 31, 2006.

tacting The Park People’s office. The Park People’s Denver Digs Trees program is volunteer driven, and involves hundreds of volunteers who contribute thousands of hours from the fall through the spring. Volunteers help with everything from neighborhood outreach and site inspections to tree unloading and planting for others. T h e D e n v e r Digs Trees program is a collaboration of The Park People, a private nonprofit organization, Volunteers plant new tree in one of Denver's trademark tree and Denver lawns Parks & The Denver Digs Trees program Recreation’s Forestry Department. has been distributing low-cost The program is generously sponstreet trees to Denver residents for sored by Denver Water, Alliance more than 15 years. Through the for Community Trees, The Home program, more than 27,000 pub- Depot Foundation, Xcel Energy lic street trees have been planted Foundation, and the Colorado across Denver. Garden Show. For 2006, street tree varietAnyone interested in volunies include: Autumn Purple Ash, teering or to request an appliSunburst Honeylocust, Newport cation, call The Park People at Plum, Greenspire Linden, Northern 303-722-6262, or email them at Red Oak and Burgundy Belle *** maple, among others. All trees are selected for their adaptability to Denver’s dry climate. Tree trunks are 1-inch in diameter, and come either bareroot or balled-and-burlapped, depending on the variety. Reserved street trees will be distributed at six sites across Denver on April 22. Those interested are encouraged to submit their request forms and payment early, as numbers are extremely limited in some of the most popular varieties. There is a $20 program fee for each tree. A limited number of “Treeships” are available for those unable to pay the program fee. The program also offers additional varieties of trees for sale for Denver's Independent Fish & yards. For the first time, these sale trees can be ordered in advance Aquarium Store since 1969 at a discount prior to March 1. Otherwise, trees are sold on a first-come, first-served basis on (One Block East of Sheridan) April 22 at the various distribution sites. More information on this advance sale is available by con-

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Italian travels, laughter with a friend
all were full. We searched out our new friend several times in and around St. Mark's Square. He made a number of telephone calls on our behalf and found us a room. (I think he was smitten with Renae; she thinks he was mad about me). What a place he found for us: a former girl’s school with enormous rooms, soft beds, high ceilings, a ballroom and beautiful gardens where we were served breakfast each morning. Although we were quite far from the Grand Canal, we managed a series of vaporettos until we arrived at the square, where we began each day to wander and savour Venice. One evening, after watching fireworks and other festivities celebrating the birthday of Venice, we ran for the last vaporetto, scheduled to depart at midnight. But at ten minutes before midnight, we discovered the last one had left without us and there was no way to get back to our place, other than on foot. I was tired but Renae was exhausted. It fell to me to lead us back. There’s a part of me that few people know about: I read maps badly, get lost easily, which is to say that I have no sense of direction. Now Venice, at play during the day and evening, is well-lit and crowded with plenty of people to ask for directions. But winding cobbled streets seen by light of day with throngs of people chatting and laughing are, after midnight, dark and desolate. The further we walked from the heart of the city, the scarier it became. Shadows loomed everywhere. An occasional cat howled from the misty canal edges, making us jump. Buildings we had admired during the day were shuttered and forbidding. The Bridge of Sighs seemed to float off into the night without anchor to any visible mooring. Where were we? And where was our captain when we needed him? It took me more than two hours to find our way back to our room. There were many false starts and stops to consult a map I could barely understand. Renae and I had a horror of falling into a canal! To this day, I have no idea how we muddled along. We had to suppress our laughter at three in the morning with other guests sleeping, but I think we giggled most of that night until we finally fell asleep. Laughter is the third commodity we’ve learned to carry with us. It takes absolutely no space in a suitcase! Quite sensibly, after Venice, we relied upon our reservations in Rome, even telephoning from Perugia to ensure our booking was in order. Reassured, we arrived in Rome only to discover that the guests who were to have vacated our room had decided to stay longer! There were no other rooms! We pleaded in a bit of Italian, some French and English but the manager was adamant, apologizing profusely. There was nothing he could do. We finally agreed to what we were told would be a similar room at another hotel. They sent us by pre-paid taxi to this place for “una notte, signora.” From the taxi window we saw parts of Rome definitely not described in any guidebook. Dark, dirty streets mapped our winding route. And the ‘hotel’? We were escorted to our room by an unkempt bellman. The room was a long, narrow space with drooping twin beds and two creaky metal chairs at an angle to a wobbly table. The bidet stood in the middle of the room. The bellman admonished us to lock our door. Apprehensive, we pushed both chairs and the table against the door. The bedding smelled strange; we lay down on top of the covers with our clothes on, not to sleep but to listen the rest of the night to loud male voices and their owners wandering about, shouting women’s names. Up and down the hall, doors opened and closed noisily amidst much laughter. As far as we could tell when we peered out the window, this was not only a truck stop but very likely, a whorehouse. After a sleepless night and as early as possible, we took a taxi back to our original hotel, rehearsing what we would say to the manager in our best English, hoping someone would help us translate our anger. A new manager apologized, refunded our deposit, paid the taxi fare and showed us to an elegantly furnished suite on the scale of a small palazzo. He advised us that we could stay for three days at no charge. So much for reservations! If, at the time, this adventure was unexpected and startling, we have laughed about it many times since. Before the first trip Renae and I took together, someone, quite possibly my mother, warned, “Be careful that traveling together doesn’t ruin a beautiful friendship.” (Doesn’t that sound like something a mother might say)? And while I didn’t like to contradict my mother, both Renae and I would agree that our friendship has grown in direct proportion to our travels together, the adventures, the unbelievable moments and our joy at being able to remember and talk and laugh about it later with family and friends. I read once a bit of wisdom from Thucydides: “The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding, go out and meet it.” -- Rachel Pollack

ule figured out, it was too late. Renae noticed a couple packing up their car and ran to ask them if, by chance, they were driving through Perugia? “Si, si.” The next thing I knew, we were loading our luggage into their red sports car, on our way to Perugia with people we didn’t know. Delightful people, we discovered when we stopped for cappuccino. Although they spoke as little English as we spoke Italian, it didn’t matter to any of us as we chatted animatedly, learning bits and pieces about each other. There were other tests of our adaptability in Italy that year. In general, we don’t make too many advance reservations, but this time we had booked hotel rooms in Rome and Venice. It was summer and in Venice, the city was celebrating its birthday. We arrived tired and hot, ready to claim our room, shower and unpack. Our hotel manager had other ideas: he wouldn’t turn on the water until we paid for our towels! We couldn’t imagine such a thing at a good hotel. We were furious, cancelled our reservations and marched out into a city teeming with visitors. (We later learned the manager wanted the rooms for family members who had shown up unexpectedly). We had no idea where we would go until we found a tall (and yes, handsome) captain from the Guardia Civile. As chivalrous as he was handsome, he sent us to several hotels and pensiones, but

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December 2, 2005

Minds Matter of Denver, a mentoring program with a focus on academics and the college application process, is beginning its second year at North High School. Minds Matter expands opportunities and educational horizons for highly motivated students with limited financial resources. The program has expanded this year to include six new sophomores and eight continuing juniors from the previous year. The first mentoring session for this academic year began on Monday, November 7. The launch of Minds Matter this fall comes on the heels of a successful inaugural 2004-05 school year in which seven of the eight participating sophomores applied for and attended a summer program at prestigious colleges around the country. Students went as far away as the University of Southern California and the Putney School in Vermont, to our own backyard at the University of Colorado at Boulder. They participated in a diverse set of curricula, ranging from architecture to film studies to oceanography. “We are thrilled about Minds Matter continuing at North High School for a second year and are fortunate to have such a devoted team of volunteers helping to create higher education opportunities for a group of our gifted and motivated students,” says Principal Dr. Darlene Le Doux. “It is so important that the sophomores who participated last year continue with the program, and that a new class

Minds Matter of Denver launches 2nd year expands at North High


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of sophomores can also join.” Students were required to submit an application and undergo an interview process in order to be considered for Minds Matter. Two mentors work with each student at a weekly after-school meeting for three hours. The focus of these sessions is to help mentees apply to summer college preparatory programs; develop essay writing, critical thinking and presentation skills; help with financial aid applications; and learn techniques to excel at college entrance exams. There are twenty-eight mentors and three back-up mentors this year, all from the Denver professional community. “We are so encouraged by the success of last year’s program and look forward to having another great academic year at North High School. A lack of resources, whether it’s informational or financial, should not discourage students from pursuing higher education,”says Bijal Choksi, Founder and co-President of Minds Matter of Denver. About Minds Matter Minds Matter is a non-profit organization serving as an advocate for highly motivated students, helping them create opportunities and open doors for themselves. The organization is entirely volunteer run, relying on donations from the community to fund and support its efforts. For more information visit www. ***

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El Pueblo's Xmas heritage
continued from page 18
From December 11-12, Our Lady of Guadalupe, patron saint of the Americas, is honored at El Pueblo's "La Placita" and at the Cathedral with two days and nights of candlelight vigils, prayer, dancing and music. This holy day serves as a bridge between indigenous and Spanish cultures. The native Mexicans identified the dark Virgin who spoke in Nahucetl to the Indian Juan Diego, with the Aztec goddess Tonantzin. Her feast day is celebrated with indigenous rites within the framework of the Catholic Church. The Cathedral houses the only display of Juan Diego's Tilma in the United States. As the scent of roses fill the streets children dressed up in authentic costumes make their way through Olvera Street and the Cathedral Plaza with thousands of other community celebrants. From December 16-24, Las Posadas, the beautiful presentation of Mary and Joseph's nine day journey to Bethlehem is depicted each evening with singing and a candlelight procession. The first Christmas celebration in Mexico took place in 1538. The story of the Nacimiento, or Christ’s birth, has been celebrated in Mexico for centuries in the same manner as it was on that original Christmas. It is only fitting that the past capital of Mexico carry on this beautiful tradition. Olvera Street merchants, "La Placita" and the Cathedral all host processionals during this sacred season. Hundreds participate in the Las Posadas processions by singing verses of "Las Posadas" while stops requesting lodging are made along Olvera Street. Three peregrinos (pilgrims, figurines depicting Mary and Joseph) are carried in the Anda procession. Verses alternate from pilgrims to hosts until the sacred nature of their visit is revealed and they are admitted entrance. The Cathedral's celebration also includes masses with indigenous dancers, church dignitaries and thousands of Hispanic and nonHispanic parishioners participating in a visual and spiritual cacophony of prayer. Outside of Mexico City this may be one of the most elaborate and largest celebrations of Las Posadas in North America. One frequent visitor to Olvera Street commented: "This is where the heart and soul of the city is for Hispanics. To come to El Pueblo and to participate in the Las Posadas will change your view of L.A. forever. We have history, we have culture and we have spirit." For more information call El Pueblo Historical Monument at 213-628-3562 or visit www.lacity. org/ELP, or visit the Olvera Street website at or the Cathedral at ***



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