Monday, July 15, 2013

Our Getaway - Part One

Summer is rolling on by with great speed it seems.  One often hears, "It's the 4th of July which means the summer is half over."  Towards the end of June, a decision had been made by my husband that was supported by me to go ahead and have major back surgery on July 18.  I had resisted making this decision  because I felt that we had not really had a very fun filled summer.  I have been ill for most of the early part of summer, and Jim has been struggling with back pain, so no matter how much I wanted a carefree summer, it just looked as if this year was not going to be the year where that was going to happen.  I especially wanted a carefree summer after spending last summer trying to sell a house and find a new home in which to live.

 Looking back on the past year, I see stress added to stress in our lives.  We sold a house and bought a new one.  We moved from one town to another.  Jim had surgery on his parathyroid.  I have had health problems and been hospitalized.  There have been family stresses and great concerns.  No one could deny that we needed a vacation from life, but a long vacation just was not going to happen this year.  So, we went on a short getaway.  That was a good thing and probably the best thing to do also.  Sometimes long vacations can be stressful.  Short ones can be just right.

We started our mini-vacation on Saturday the 29th of June.  We drove the six or so hours to Grand Junction, Colorado to visit my mom.  It had been nearly a year since we had been over to see her.  That is way too long of a time to go between visits when one's mother is 97 years old.

Mother and me
July 2013
Yep, this woman that is standing next to me is my 97 year old mother. Have you seen those commercials that ask, "Who is the oldest person you know?"  My answer is: my mother.  Amazingly, she still is able to care for herself, is very healthy, and has the same personality, humor, and awareness of the world around her she has always had.  Last year, she again only saw her doctor once for her yearly exam.  I'm not so sure I got her genes!  

When she saw the above photo on facebook, she said she wished I would have let her get her makeup on before I had the photo taken so her age spots wouldn't show.  And, yes, in case you are wondering, she is on facebook.  

It is hard to have her live so far away from all of us.  It is especially hard for my siblings and me as we get older to make that drive over the mountains of Colorado during the winter.  Thankfully, she has a good support system in place where she is.  Truly, I believe that aging in place the best kind of scenario for folks as they grow older.  I am grateful that so far, my mother has been able to have this experience.  

On the morning of July 3rd, my husband I left my mother's to drive to our vacation getaway spot in Glenwood Springs, Colorado.  Glenwood is a favorite destination spot for the two of us, and we frequently extend a visit to my mother's by spend a night or two in Glenwood.  Probably the most famous attraction in Glenwood is the huge hot springs pool there.  With the aches and pains that Jim was feeling in his back, it was an easy sell to convince him that we needed to spend a few days soaking in the hot springs.  

I knew the 4th of July weekend would mean that we would not have an easy time finding a room for the holiday weekend since we had not booked months in advance.  Also, we had our dog with us, so that meant a room was even harder to find.  We tried all our favorite places, but they were either booked, or they would not allow pets.  We then found a reasonably priced room for the 3rd and 4th and booked it before we left on our trip.  When we got to the place, as sometimes happens, we just could not see ourselves staying there and being comfortable and happy.  So, we started driving around to see if we could get into another place.  We decided if we couldn't, we would drive the four or five hours it would take us to get home.  That is how much we did not like the place!  

One of our favorite place recommended another place up the road from them.  It was the Starlight Inn.  (Click on the link to see the place.  I recommend it if you are ever in Glenwood.) They called ahead for us and told us a room was available.  We took it.  Actually, we really liked this place and will stay here again.  Our room was small, but it was clean, comfortable, and worked well for us.  Boston was happy.  We were happy.  The host was so friendly and accommodating.  We could walk to breakfast every morning to a great German restaurant.  We could walk to the pool.  We could walk downtown.  And, there was a great little neighborhood behind the Inn that worked well for walking the dog.  

I love Glenwood.  I love the historical old buildings and all the history of this place.  I've never stayed at the Hotel Colorado, but supposedly it is haunted.  My son and his family spent New Year's Eve there one year and watched the fireworks from an upper window while the kids speculated on whether or not they would see the ghosts.
Entrance to Hotel Colorado
As I walked down to take these photos, I excused myself because I was standing in the path of a woman walking by.  She said, "Oh it is so nice to see someone with a camera.  I have only seen phones snapping photos during my trip."

The State of Colorado flag flies over
Hotel Colorado

As I said, I love Glenwood.  I love it in the summer and the winter.  We once spent New Year's Eve here and watched the fireworks on the mountain while we sat in the hot springs with snow flakes falling on your faces.  It was great fun.  This year, we had hoped to watch the fireworks from the pool on the 4th of July.  Unfortunately, that was not to be.  Fireworks were banned due to fire danger.  This was a wise and prudent decision.  

There are actually two pools on this site.  The one pool is smaller and much warmer.  One can sprawl on the steps and soak away aches and pains in this warm, healing mineral water.  I find I can no longer tolerate walking in this smaller, warmer pool.  It is just too warm for me.  Jim loves it though.  I sit on the steps soaking and watching the people while he walks in the water.  We generally go to the pool in the evening when it is cooler outside because the hot water and sun combination no longer works for us.

When we tire of the small pool, and wish to cool off, we walk over to the larger, deeper pool and walk or float in the water. The water in this pool is also warm and comfortable even in the winter, but cooler than the other pool.   I was feeling a bit playful while we were there and surprised Jim's by hopping up onto his back so he could carry me through the water.  It is amazing how we can do such things in the water.  It would be a disaster for both of us if I jumped on his back on dry land!  He said I didn't weigh anything.  He is such a nice guy.  

As Jim and I spent time in the larger pool, I recalled that the first time I swam in this pool was during our senior trip when I was a senior in high school fifty years ago this year.  I reminisced about the trip as we walked up to where the section was where people were swimming and diving off the diving board.  I remembered that I had a new swim cap that had flowers on it.  Do you remember those?  They were so uncomfortable!  Back in those days, we were not allowed to swim in the pool in Glenwood without wearing a cap.  Two piece bathing suits were not allowed either.  

Internet photo
While we were on our senior trip many years ago, we ate lunch at the Hotel Denver which can be seen in the photo below located behind the old Denver and Rio Grande Depot.  The Denver and Rio Grande Depot itself also holds many memories for me.  I have traveled through by this depot by train at different times throughout my younger years.  My father, former Superintendent for the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad for the Western Slope, purchased the antique oak desk that was used by the station master of this depot when the railroad sold the building.  The desk is now in my mother's home.  It is a magnificent piece of furniture of historical significance.  Unfortunately, I have never photographed it.  I will have to do so on my next trip home.

Denver & Rio Grande Depot
Hotel Denver
Glenwood Springs, Colorado

We spent two nights in Glenwood.  Both evenings we spent several hours in the hot springs.  We slept very well on those nights.  Glenwood Springs again rewarded us with a relaxing and memorable getaway.


  1. Sounds like the perfect vacation for you two. We have not been to Glenwood Springs --but it sounds like a place we would enjoy...

    Your Mother is amazing. My father-in-law is going to be 101 in August... BUT--his quality of life is not very good these days... Kinda Sad...


  2. We have driven through Glenwood Springs on one of our several driving trips from Seattle to Fort Morgan. I remember seeing the big resort hotels and pools.
    Big resorts are not much to our liking, but I can see how this was perfect for your needs.
    Your mother is lovely, and amazing. I love it that she's on facebook!

  3. I thought of you this past week as I was in Leadville with my husband. We visited the Mining Museum and I wondered if this building was your old high school. Marvelous building, marvelous town, and wonderful area. We so enjoy being there each time we go. We hiked a lot and meandered a lot.

    I am glad you got in a visit with your mother and a little short vacation too. Good luck with all things health related.

  4. Kathy Anne HernandezJuly 16, 2013 at 3:50 AM

    I enjoyed reading this blog, as it contained a great picture of you and your mom ( Aunt Alberta) and also it reminded me of my trip there. I won the " Grand Prize" at a store Christmas party one year. The package contained lodging at Hotel Colorado and of course entrance to the pool. We extended our stay an extra night and also brought along our grand daughter . I think we went to Yampa Spa and Salon on this trip. I think this area of Colorado is so scenic. There is a great bike path that follows the river that we have ridden several times. Hanging lake is a great hike not far away. Now I wish we could visit there again although I don't think I could enjoy all the bike riding or hiking like we used to. Good times for sure. Thanks for your blog. Kathy Anne

  5. Wow. Your mom looks so good!!! Will be praying your surgery goes well. So glad you got away. I can relate to your stress.

  6. Sally, It is always good to read a post from you, although I am sorry to hear about the health problems. Positive vibes coming your way on surgery day. Your mom is AMAZING,even with the age spots showing! It sounds like a perfect mini vacation for you two. Olga

  7. It sounds like you took just the trip you needed and it is great that you got to see your mom along the way. The picture of the two of you is wonderful.
    I will be praying that the surgery goes well.

  8. What a wonderful trip, Sally. Your mother is looking very young and happy for her 97 years. WOW. So nice.
    I really enjoyed learning about Glenwood Springs. What a wonderful place and the inn you found looks great.
    Best of wishes to Jim with his coming surgery and I hope it brings him needed relief.
    You look great and WELL, hope it stays that way.

  9. What a blessing that your mother is healthy and active. And aging in place or at least in the town where all her living friends were, was a huge factor in my mother's final years, even though as her health and neighborhood deteriorated, she made the decision to move to an apartment in an assisted living home.

    Your getaway sounds like a rejuvenating holiday.I am putting Glenwood Springs on my list if we head west again.

  10. Sally, this sounds so perfect in every way -- seeing your mom (she is lovely and very young looking!), finding an almost honeymoon-like spot to enjoy some precious stress-free time together. I often wonder how you have made it through the past year or so -- you are one of the role models I most admire. And I know you have things on your plate coming up -- so seeing you take advantage of the time and place to get away and chill out is not only wise -- but delightful! Three cheers (and it looks TERRIFIC!)

  11. Your Mom would look great for 67. How wonderful that she is enjoying such good health.
    So sorry Jim will be going under the knife and I hope it provides him with the relief he needs. Since the hot water helps him, maybe a hot tub would be a good investment. I know a hot soak really helps me.
    Sounds like you both had a great vacation that was much needed.

  12. Great story about your mother. It is certainly my hope to be like her in another 37 years. Oh my. That seems like it could just be a blip in time as the past 37 years have passed that quickly. Poof, and it's gone. Definitely gives me reason to keep myself as healthy as possible.

  13. When I lived in Boulder, I traveled to Glenwood fairly often, just for the pools. It was really nice to see it again! It sure did look crowded, though. Glad you had a chance to get away and see your beautiful mom! :-)

  14. What a gorgeous place - I have never been there myself. You needed this trip. Your mother sounds so cool - on facebook too.This sounded like a lot of fun. sandie

  15. I have never heard of Glenwood so I really liked to read about it on your post. The pools looked so inviting. This sounded like the perfect place for your little trip. Going to see you mom was important- I cannot believe she is 97 – she certainly looks good – how wonderful for you to have her happy where she lives and in good health and spirit.

  16. Good Luck to Jim! I hope his recuperation is swift. Your mother looks amazing (so do you). Bob's 90 year old Dad just visited us for a week - he still flies by himself from his home in FL. We like to ride the bike path through Glenwood Canyon. I haven't been to the pool and spa in years. On a girlfriends' vacation many years ago, we stayed in the Hotel Colorado - we definitely have a ghost story! I'll be thinking of the 2 of you. Baby Sam is coming tomorrow for 10 days, so I won't be on-line much!

  17. I'm so glad you were intentional about building some relaxation-away time into your summer, even if only for a few days. That should help you both get through the rest of the summer, including the difficulties of surgery for the patient AND the caregiver. And it was fun to see these photos, so thanks!

  18. Hi Sally! Your mom looks fabulous! 97? Wow! I'm going to come back and read this more leisurely. It's crazy over here.

  19. Yes, please do take a photo of that desk! I'd love to see it. Your get-away sounds wonderful. Your mom looks much, much younger than her years. How wonderful that she is doing so well. I suspect a good soak in the hot springs pool would do wonders for my husband's arthritic back.

  20. P.S. is your mom's name Alberta? That's my first name, but I've always been called Jean. My mother's name was Alberta, too. It's a popular name in Canada, where my parents were from.

  21. What a perfect and well-earned vacation, Sally. Glenwood looks beautiful and your mother is truly amazing! I hope you do have her genes --- at least a few -- for graceful aging!

  22. I assume you're having your surgery today...praying all goes well! Glad you had a little get away first to mark the summer.

  23. My grandfather was superintendent of the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad also! Late 50s, I think. I'll bet he knew your dad.

  24. Looks like a wonderful retreat. And here's hoping that the back issue is resolved successfully for Jim....

  25. This looks like a beautiful place and the perfect spot for a getaway for the two of you. I'm so glad you were able to take a short vacation this summer, and I hope it provided the relaxation you so badly needed! Your mother looks amazing--how wonderful that she is still able to live at home!

    I hope your surgery goes well; I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers, Sally, and hope for a speedy recovery.

  26. Wow, your mom. Still chewing your you know what - for not letting her get her makeup in place. Aren't moms great?

    I love Glenwood Springs. We often went swimming in the two pools. In high school my Denver church group would go skiing at Sunlight (I don't even know if that is still in existence.) In my 20's we stayed at my SIL's aunt cabin nearby and went to the springs at night. Never been there in the daytime. Glad you had this opportunity and good luck with your husband's surgery. Hope he recovers quickly so you will get some rest.

  27. Hi Sally!
    What a gorgeous place! It seems like that was a perfect vacation spot for you to relax before you husband's back surgery. How is he doing?

    It was so good to see a comment from you tonight! You are so sweet and you made me feel so cared about. Thank you!

    I would love to visit your beautiful Colorado some day. I'm retiring at the end of next year, so maybe it will happen!


Thank you for visiting my blog. I love reading your comments. Comments are moderated by the author of this blog. It may take a short delay for your comment to be published. No anonymous comments are published, nor are comments that are offensive to myself or other readers.