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December 2, 2005

NORTH DENVER NEWS

Page 13

Adam DeGraff North Denver Notions

Hello North Denver. Isn’t this paper the greatest? I love how open it is to the voices of the communi- ty. And I love how intelligent and quirky the community is. I think this paper is far more fun to read than the Big

Denver Press. Even bet- ter than the Big New

York Press. (Especially since the new regime). I used to write a column in this rag called Maya’s View which some of you old timer’s might remem- ber. Maya is now nearly five and doing well, a princess through and through. Just try putting a pea under her mattress! Maya

just acquired another little sister, Marley, a few weeks ago. Now it is Monica, Matthew, Maya, Maryn and Marley, Or, for short, Mo Ma Ma Ma and Ma. Take that Yo Yo Ma.

I stopped writing Maya’s view

because I moved out of my broth- er’s house and began to spend all my time and energy helping build the Dnote. Do you know the Dnote? The D can stand for

many things, but just now “dream” comes to mind. Whatever comes to mind works, whatever you denote.

It has been over two years since

man, legendary. Here’s my favorite fun fact about Lionel Young: he

played first chair violin when Led Zeppelin played with the Denver Symphony a few years back. So he was paid to jam with Jimmy Page. That beats

anything I got. Speaking of legend-

ary, The Clamdaddys, at the Dnote every Wednesday night, are also a clas- sic of the age, or, rather, ageless. My personal goal is to have “folk hero” written in my obituary. Not really, but I figure it is a good thing to strive for. The Clamdaddys are worthy of the title. I figure such things rub off. Speaking of the Clamdaddys, a bit of local legend: Tommy is the character Zeb in the new Zebra Junction CD, Waterbourne. Check out the CD if you get the chance. Google Zebra Junction and you’ll get to some MP3s. It is the best work of regional art I’ve heard since The Real’s “Majestic” last year. And do you know The Reals? They play around town every now and then, about once a quarter at the Dnote. Led by siblings Matt and Cheyenne Kowal, the Reals leave you shaking and smiling. If you ever get a chance to see them live, don’t miss it. It will be akin to a religious conversion, only with- out having to convert. There is no band in the last few years at the Dnote that has gotten me dancing harder. TotrulycallyourselfaNorthsider, you need be acquainted with the local Culture. So check out Zebra Junction, The Clamdaddys and The Reals when you get the chance. All three bands perfectly embody the Northside zeitgeist, sounding like they just rolled down off the mountains into the Arvada future. Lionel Young, however, comes from the other direction, sounding more like he shot out of a cannon from New Orleans. But we are glad he landed here. To sum up, we are summing up. Hope you’ll come by and join us. I’ll catch you next month, same North Denver paper, same North Denver ink. ***

DNote

Chronicles

the Dnote began. Up until about now I always wanted to tell people we were younger than we were, wanting to stay in the magic of youth, and hoping our struggle to stay in business was the result

of just starting out. And really, it was. But lately I have started tak- ing pride in aging, proud to be here this long, wanting to be able to lie about being older, telling people we are the oldest Dnote in Arvada. I love the weight time is giving to the Dnote, the character, the pati- na that is starting to accrue. Not unlike this paper actually, which is only marginally older than we are, our big sister.

I write this from the sound

booth of the Dnote, on a Friday night, while Lionel Young kicks out his inventive take on bar stan- dards, ripping all kinds of odd riffs on his electric violin into the middle of Rocking Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Blues. A shred of the Star Wars theme just flew past me. Lionel is a beautiful

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NORTH DENVER NEWS

December 2, 2005

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Beverly Newton North Denver Notions

What can you give a gardener

friend for Christmas or what can you, the gardener, give a non-

g a r d e n i n g

friend?

Down the Garden

Path

First

find

out if a non-

g a r d e n i n g

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 schlum-

bergera 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 over- water, this liquid keeps the water away from the roots so the plant can breathe. It’s a bit more expen-

sive, 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 put- ting 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 con- stantly fighting white flies. A good nursery destroys affected plants. Before you buy, check for mottled yellow leaves. Larva on the under- sides of the leaves are covered with a waxy powder. Spider mites

are another common prob- lem, more so in homes than n u r s e r i e s . They are born and live out- side all sum- mer 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 moun-

tains early in the day. ***

cactus is especially suited to our region because our winter sun drops below the moun- tains

December 2, 2005

NORTH DENVER NEWS

Page 15

Myths, facts on energy- saving window replacement

With radio and TV ads prom- ising savings of 40% on home heating costs, and home heating costs likely to rise by elephan- tine 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 sav- ings 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 replac-

ing old single-pane and wooden sashed windows. “Sound insula-

tion 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 win- dows looking clean. “And double-paned windows are actually better for sound insu- lation than triple paned,” says Trunck. “They provide similar energy savings. Because the panes are further apart, less sound is transferred through dou- ble-paned. Close together panes transfer sound better.” “What many people don’t real- ize,” says Perez, “is that they don’t need to buy something ridicu- lously expensive to get the energy savings they need. The national

brands are likely to be three times the price, while our manu- facturer 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 charac- ter, 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 win- dows 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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Page 16

NORTH DENVER NEWS

December 2, 2005

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Highlands set for holiday fun - Santa visits December 10

Swansea, North Denver's own ballet

It’s a Christmas tradition with a twist. The classic holiday sea- son 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 intro- duce the classical dance to fami- lies. The Swansea Ballet began at

equipment, the kids used chairs instead. Despite the ballet modest debut, Smith has recruited new students, advancing the school, and attract- ing 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

for Non-Profit Development. The program’s future seems Swansea Elementary, but has found a new home at

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 stu- dents of the ballet, though dona- tions from the community and foundations are sought. Esther Smith started the ballet in 2001. A former dancer turned second-grade teacher, Smith decid- ed to offer serious after-school bal- let 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 gym- nasium 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. ***

It’s time to get merry again in North Denver. Take a stroll down to 32nd & Lowell, and partici- pate in a holiday scavenger hunt or visit with the Jolly Old Elf him- self. On December 10th, from 11 ‘til 4 pm, come down for refreshments and holiday cheer. “We’llhaveSanta and Mrs. Claus in the square, along with free apple cider and hot cocoa. Right now, we’re working on some elf girls – um, young, elf women – to assist,” says Joy Barrett, owner of Studio Bead and point-person for the event. Because

Santa always needs a bit of help during

the holiday season, Dr. Kerry Iselin has again agreed to help gather children’s requests this season, and will be wearing the same Santa costume his own father wore when he performed the service years ago. Ringing out holiday cheer, carolers from North High School will be walking the strip, and festive lighting will fes- toon trees all along 32nd avenue. With a background in advertis- ing, Barrett says “the more expo- sure I can get for businesses, the

more I want to participate. I’m always surprised by the number of people who think Highlands is Highlands Ranch. It’s four and a half miles from downtown, and we have so much to offer - Everything from creative gift shops and boutiques, to fabulous restau- rants, independent bookstores, health care, massage, acupuncture, even chocolates and per- fumes.” New to this year’s festivities, a Christmas-themed scavenger hunt will have shoppers checking out busi- nesses they may not

have noticed before – not just for great

Christmas gifts, but also in hopes of finding Max’s ant- ler from the Grinch, or Ralphie’s broken glasses. The hunt will begin on December 10th, and close on the 20th. “We’ve worked hard to come up with a list of 32 fun, whimsical objects – things that are nostalgic to the holidays,” says Barrett. “Participating merchants will be stamping cards as shoppers find objects on the list, and when they’ve found everything they can drop the card off at any merchant.

found everything they can drop the card off at any merchant. Joy Barrett, the brains and

Joy Barrett, the brains and brawn behind the Scavenger Hunt.

Joy Barrett, the brains and brawn behind the Scavenger Hunt. Once the event closes, the winner

Once the event closes, the winner of the hunt will win a huge gift box of presents – everything from hair- style 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 neighbor- hood, 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

NORTH DENVER NEWS

Page 17

Time to think about year-end tax tips

Now that it’s December, you’re probably busy with family gath- erings 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 ben- efit 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 tax- able 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 orga- nizations. 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 per- cent 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

$1,500 for married couples fil- ing 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 sub- sequent 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 deci- sion, though, you’ll want to evalu- ate 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. ***

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NORTH DENVER NEWS

December 2, 2005

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If you live in the southwest spending the Christmas holiday's

in

considered unusual. Here in the

wilds of the west, we are steeped in the history and blending of culture and sacred beliefs between the

Europeans and the indigenous natives.

Amazingly enough, California too has a Pueblo that is just

as historically rele-

vant as the Pueblos of our region.

El Pueblo, located in downtown L.A., is even unknown to most Los Angelinos. But it is here that the Holy Days of December are cel- ebrated, with some of the United States most stunning pageantry and touching symbolism.

In the 1930s philanthropist Christine Sterling and other city leaders began a campaign to preserve and restore the pueb- lo. David Alfaro Sisqueiros was commissioned to paint the con- troversial mural American Tropical

on the Italian Hall in 1932. He was deported from the U.S. after the mural

was completed. The Olvera Street market was also renovated at this time and an influx of Hispanic crafters, artisans, blacksmiths, glass blowers, restaurateurs and other vendors were solicited to breathe life back into the ailing historic area. Many of the families of the original vendors still own

Taos Pueblo in New Mexico is not

Holy Days in the City of Angels at El Pueblo

The

e b

El

� Holy Days in the City of Angels at El Pueblo The e b El Las

Las Posadas procession. Photo by Renee Fajardo.

and operate business in this now- thriving living market place. Here amidst the rich historical context of L.A.'s struggle for iden- tity it has been the Olvera Street merchants, the Placita parish- ioners and the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, said to be one of the most innovative architec- tural wonders of the 20th century a few blocks south of the Plaza, that have been instrumental in preserving and promoting two of the most revered holy days for Hispanic Catholics. These three entities work together individually and collectively every December to celebrate La Virgen de Guadalupe and Los Posadas in what is one of the nation's most spectacular holy day celebrations. Their com- bined efforts provide a vibrantly spiritual atmosphere of camara- derie and pageantry for the whole community.

see EL PUEBLO on page 23

P

H

Monument

is the birth

place of

the City of Angels. F o u n d e d in 1781 by the Spanish -

g

nor of the

Californias,

Felipe de

Neve, the

Pueblo de

la Reina de

Los Angeles was settled by 11 original fami- lies. The forty-eight pioneers were

a mixture of Indian, European

and African blood. Their ethnic and cultural backgrounds would set the stage for a city that would become known for its diverse cul- tural background. El Pueblo, situated in the area known as The Plaza, is now owned by the city of L.A. It is a historic complex of 27 buildings and a central plaza. The oldest building, the Avila Adobe, built in 1818, was once home to the power- ful ranchero Francisco Avila. The Sepulveda House, built in 1887, is the most modern of the pueblo's buildings. The Old Plaza Catholic Church, "La Placita," built in 1882, has continually served the secular and religious needs of L.A.'s Hispanic community. In its halcyon days the pueblo was also home to the French, Chinese, Italian and Anglo-Americans.

u i s t o r i c

l o

o

v

e

r

its halcyon days the pueblo was also home to the French, Chinese, Italian and Anglo-Americans. u

December 2, 2005

NORTH DENVER NEWS

Page 19

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Dixie Darr North Denver Notions

The world is filled with trouble, and

disappoint-

she said it, because when she said "Don't get your hopes up," I heard, "You're not

good enough." Your classmates won't vote for you, you won't win

the spelling bee and that company will never hire you because YOU ARE NOT GOOD ENOUGH. What's wrong with hope, I won- dered. Isn't it supposed to be a virtue? "I don't want you to be too disappointed," my mother would say. That told me that if I didn't get what I wanted, I wasn't strong enough or smart enough to handle the disappointment. The message was pretty clear. It is better not to hope for anything because then you won't be disappointed when you don't get it or achieve it or become it. I think that's a pretty mean- spirited message. Some wise per-

son said, "Never deprive someone of hope. It may be all they have." We saw an abundance of hope here in North Denver during the fundraiser back in September for victims of Hurricane Katrina. It was an outpouring of love for peo- ple across the country that we didn't know, would never meet. The weather was gorgeous and hundreds of people came from all over the neighborhood and every- body wanted to give something, to help in some way. It was a wonder- ful thing to see and be a part of. Listen to Margaret Mead, who said, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful citizens can

Season of Hope

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 annu- al 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 neigh- bors. 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.***

season. You can reach her at dixiedarr@gmail. com.*** ment lurks around every corner. I stopped tak-

ment lurks around every corner. I stopped tak- ing the daily newspa-

per and have almost stopped watching news on TV. "If it bleeds, it leads." That seems to be the motto of most news organi- zations. The war in Iraq rages on and the body count climbs daily. People murder, maim and cheat one another. If that isn't enough, natural disasters leave thousands dead or destitute. I'm so tired of hearing about it that I get most of my news from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Is that a reason to abandon hope? I don't think so. Even if the newspapers don't report it, good things happen every day, too. Maybe the reason disas- ters make the news is because they are unusual events. Every day doctors help people heal, par- ents love and protect their chil- dren, teachers impart knowledge, plumbers and electricians make sure our houses function. Nature? Most of the time, the sun shines, rivers flow, and flowers grow even through cracks in the sidewalk. "Don't get your hopes up" is an expression I heard way too much when I was growing up. It didn't matter if I was running for student council, studying for the county spelling bee or applying for a job. My mother's response was always the same: "Don't get your hopes

up." It made me mad every time

for a job. My mother's response was always the same: "Don't get your hopes up." It

Page 20

NORTH DENVER NEWS

December 2, 2005

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Rachel Pollack North Denver Notions

There’s an interesting point about friendship. You can know someone for many years in a par-

ticular setting, but until you travel with that person, you don’t really know them at all – you just think you do.

Every year since 1980, my friend Renae and I have left husband (hers), children (hers

found us a flat through the New York Times. It was close to where our classes were to be held, but that was all we knew about it. On the night of our depar-

ture, we didn’t get very far. Too many passengers were

taking advantage of the cheap rates and there were not enough planes. Our flight

time was pushed from 6 p.m. to 8, then 10, then midnight. We drank countless cups of tea and were shoved and muttered at by vast numbers of disgruntled peo- ple. Desperate for sleep, we curled up at the airport with our luggage as lumpy pillows. I don’t think we ever said the word to each other but we knew, then and there, that the best test of friendship is how friends behave towards each other during unusual, unexpect- ed, dismaying, difficult, worrisome times. We arrived in London just two hours before our first classes were to begin, deciding no sleep was better than trying to unpack, nap, and get to class on time. On the long flight over, Renae became friendly with a woman and her daughter who invited us to their home for our first weekend in London. Friends have quirks and habits. One of us snores a bit, one of us lays out our personal items that must never be moved or touched but must always be within reach, one of us dislikes certain types of clothes hangers. We believe we have reasonable foibles. Habits with a small ‘h’ are mostly what another person can live with. “I’m leaving for class in seven minutes. Are you ready?” I’m definitely a bit slower, usually reading or writing until the last minute, then cre- atively throwing on some clothes and putting notes together. I like a leisurely breakfast; Renae can dash off with a yogurt in her backpack. Sometimes it’s easier to compromise; other times we each go our own way. Some friends have HABITS. An English friend invited us on a trip to Holland during one of our university holidays. Leaving her house at 3 a.m. for the Dover ferry, scheduled to depart at 6 a.m., our friend sped along single-lane, rain- soaked, leaf-covered roads, fright- ening us dreadfully. In her tiny sports car, I sat on a pull-out seat that leapt from its moorings each time we hit a wee bump in the road. Like two terrified children, Renae and I said nothing as we huddled in our seats, clinging to each other. People who drive like that never take notice of anyone else. Our friend chatted about this and that – Belgium, Holland, people she wanted us to meet, the rain (now a considerable thunder- storm) - as she drove madly on, rounding curves on three tires. We vowed never again would we drive with her, but broke that vow on our return trip from Holland and again on a trip to Chichester. Renae and I travel together with vast amounts of flexibility and adaptability. We need it! In Italy one year, we misread the depar- ture times of the bus that would take us from Siena to Perugia. By the time we almost had the sched-

Traveling with friends and others

and mine), and when they were very young, our grandchildren at home for our own destinations overseas. Now that some of the grandchildren are older and civi-

lized, we have occasionally invited

a couple of them on trips with us. Occasionally too, we have trav- eled with other people, both sepa- rately and together. But in the final analysis, when the idea for a par- ticular trip beckons to both of us, there’s no debate or discussion. “Let’s go,” we say. And we do. It isn’t as if our travel styles or the way we see things are complete- ly similar. How dull that would be!

It is our differences that make our

travels together so stimulating and rewarding. Renae, for instance, is far more outgoing; I’m basically reserved. Her sociability has gotten us into places supposedly off-lim- its according to posted signs (and once or twice into slight difficulty). In general however, our back- grounds, our tastes and interests have much in common. We both love history, theatre, music, art, politics and philosophical discus- sions – sometimes the last two with strangers. We enjoy meeting new people (I would add a caveat to that since it takes me longer and I’m a bit more chary), and discov- ering new places. We’re also adventurous and spontaneous. In our travels, we have been known to change plans by changing directions at railway stations to indulge our whims, thereby enriching our lives. One year we changed trains because it was enormously important to see as many of the places in Arles that inspired Vincent Van Gogh as possible: from the apple orchards to the cornfields, the almond trees and the sunflowers, a ruined abbey and the Rhone River. We talked in mournful tones about Van Gogh’s illness manifested by the piece of ear he cut off, his friend Gauguin’s disappearance and his time at the

hospital. One year, to humor me for an article I was writing, Renae agreed to stay in youth hostels in England and Scotland. A friend of mine joined us at our first hostel in London. The room with three beds was so small that we had to dress and undress one at a time, then crawl into bed to stay out of

the way. On the second day, the hostel ran out not only of toast but tea as well. “Shocking,” said my friend, and promptly moved out to

a ‘real’ hotel. Renae and I didn’t

care. After all, a room in a hostel or a hotel is merely there to be slept in after all of each day’s fasci-

nating activities are finished. Our first ‘over the pond’ adven- ture began when Renae, on sabbat- ical from teaching to take courses in London, asked me if I wanted to go. My response took seconds.

“Of course.” I quickly applied for

a graduate course and my father

see FRIEND on page 22

December 2, 2005

NORTH DENVER NEWS

Page 21

Street tree program deadline nears

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 volun- teers who contribute thousands of hours from the fall through the spring. Volunteers help with everything from neighborhood out- reach and site inspec- tions to tree unloading and plant-

ing

for oth-

ers.

e

D e n v e r Digs Trees program is

a collabo-

T

h

of

The Park People, a private non- profit orga- n i z a t i o n ,

and Denver Parks & Recreation’s Forestry Department.

The program is generously spon- sored by Denver Water, Alliance for Community Trees, The Home Depot Foundation, Xcel Energy Foundation, and the Colorado Garden Show. Anyone interested in volun- teering or to request an appli- cation, call The Park People at 303-722-6262, or email them at info@theparkpeople.org. ***

ration

or email them at info@theparkpeople.org. *** ration Denver's Independent Fish & Aquarium Store since

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5055 W. 44th

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1969 5055 W. 44th (One Block East of Sheridan) 303-458-0376 Volunteers plant new tree in one

Volunteers plant new tree in one of Denver's trademark tree

lawns

The Denver Digs Trees program has been distributing low-cost street trees to Denver residents for more than 15 years. Through the program, more than 27,000 pub- lic street trees have been planted across Denver. For 2006, street tree variet- ies include: Autumn Purple Ash, Sunburst Honeylocust, Newport Plum, Greenspire Linden, Northern 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-bur- lapped, depending on the variety. Reserved street trees will be dis- tributed 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 vari- eties. 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 addi- tional varieties of trees for sale for yards. For the first time, these sale trees can be ordered in advance at a discount prior to March 1. Otherwise, trees are sold on a first-come, first-served basis on April 22 at the various distribution sites. More information on this advance sale is available by con-

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Page 22

NORTH DENVER NEWS

December 2, 2005

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continued from page 20

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 animated- ly, 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 reserva- tions 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

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 morn-

ing. Although we were quite far from the Grand Canal, we man- aged 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 cel- ebrating the birthday of Venice, we ran for the last vaporetto, scheduled to depart at midnight. But at ten minutes before mid- night, 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 eas-

ily, 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 deso- late. The further we walked from the heart of the city, the scarier it

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became. Shadows loomed every- where. An occasional cat howled from the misty canal edges, mak- ing us jump. Buildings we had admired during the day were shut- tered 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 commod- ity 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 final- ly agreed to what we were told would be a similar room at anoth- er 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 bell- man 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, rehears- ing what we would say to the manager in our best English, hop- ing someone would help us trans- late 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 friend- ship.” (Doesn’t that sound like something a mother might say)? And while I didn’t like to contra- dict my mother, both Renae and

I would agree that our friend-

ship has grown in direct pro- portion 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 clear- est vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding, go out and meet it.”

-- Rachel Pollack

Lost Dog

go out and meet it.” -- Rachel Pollack Lost Dog If you see this dog, contact

If you see this dog, contact Leland Robinson, 720-254-7931

December 2, 2005

NORTH DENVER NEWS

Page 23

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

Minds Matter of Denver, a men- toring program with a focus on academics and the college appli- cation process, is beginning its second year at North High School. Minds Matter expands opportu- nities 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 mentor- ing session for this academic year began on Monday, November 7. The launch of Minds Matter this fall comes on the heels of a suc- cessful inaugural 2004-05 school year in which seven of the eight participating sophomores applied for and attended a summer pro- gram 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 cre- ate higher education opportunities for a group of our gifted and moti- vated students,” says Principal Dr. Darlene Le Doux. “It is so impor- tant that the sophomores who par- ticipated last year continue with the program, and that a new class

of sophomores can also join.” Students were required to sub- mit 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 prepara- tory programs; develop essay writ- ing, critical thinking and presenta- tion 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 profes- sional community. “We are so encouraged by the success of last year’s pro- gram and look forward to hav- ing another great academic year at North High School. A lack of resources, whether it’s infor- mational or financial, should not discourage students from pursu- ing 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 advo- cate for highly motivated students, helping them create opportunities and open doors for themselves. The organization is entirely vol- unteer run, relying on donations from the community to fund and support its efforts. For more information visit www. mindsmatter.org/denver. ***

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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 frame- work of the Catholic Church. The Cathedral houses the only dis- play 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 commu- nity celebrants. From December 16-24, Las Posadas, the beautiful presenta- tion 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 capi- tal of Mexico carry on this beauti- ful 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, figu- rines depicting Mary and Joseph) are carried in the Anda proces- sion. Verses alternate from pil- grims 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 non- Hispanic parishioners partici- pating in a visual and spiritual cacophony of prayer. Outside of Mexico City this may be one of the most elaborate and largest cel- ebrations 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 www.calleolvera.com or the Cathedral at www.olacathe- dral.org. ***

org/ELP, or visit the Olvera Street website at www.calleolvera.com or the Cathedral at www.olacathe- dral.org. ***

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