A Night at Karaoke

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The restaurant is dimly lit with people relaxing around the bar and round tables holding drinks and talking to folks around them.  We are at Bistro Al Vino’s on Parker and Orchard.  They boast an impressive wine list and delicious food.  A glass of J.Lohr Syrah and I am ready.  We are waiting for Avery.

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So are most of the other people in the place.  Karaoke is starting soon.  The stage is lit with dozens of spotlights.  The microphone is erected and the sound is checked in the speakers.  The chatter rises above the sound.  Most of the people are familiar.  Most have sang with the main karaoke hosts in and around the area.  The camaraderie is heartening and singers we haven’t seen in years share hugs and smiles.

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Doug and I have sung karaoke on cruise ships, on vacation in other states, even Las Vegas.  We have never been around a group of consistently amazing singers like we are in Colorado.  Outside of New York and Hollywood I bet the state with the most beautiful voices goes to our own.  I think a lot of folks think that karaoke is hokey and loud, filled with wannabe singers.  You will get the occasional new group of people who are nervous to sing and outlandishly sing, “Friends in Low Places” or “Like a Virgin” but since they are so few (many times not at all in a night) then we laugh with them and applaud.

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There are singers that have sung the same song every time for the past fourteen years.  They are amazing at that song because of this fact but they are still applauded and patted on the back and given high fives.  The encouragement is always so enlightening.  It’s just a bunch of working folks taking an evening off of real life to pursue their singing.

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Some of us have auditioned for singing shows and have made it a ways, some of us have been in Idol this or that around the state and had fun in competition but the real fun is in a dark bar with a cold glass of Chardonnay and friends and comrades all around.  From twenty-one to eighty-one they come out to sing, some in life just trying to get by, some in suits, some in sunglasses and shorts, just having fun.  We all dance, sing, laugh, and go home exhausted and restored.

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If you have never been to a karaoke show, I encourage you to do so.  Even if you just hold onto your glass of wine and watch, go.  It is essentially a free concert.  You will be blown away.  Should you get the nerve to come up and sing, do so boldly, for no one is there to judge you.  Everyone is there to sing and encourage one another to live more playfully and to express.

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This Wednesday at Bistro Al Vino at 8:00 we will be there at our round table with friends and fellow singers ready to put on a show, even if for only a moment.  See you there.

A Day in Laramie, Wyoming (travels, microphones, and jail cells)

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A road trip is always a fun adventure and we were happy to be headed out on one!

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The scenery was beautiful as we drove two hours from Aurora to Wyoming.  The beautiful red dirt, ornate rock formations, and green grassy hills set against the mountains were heavenly.

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Laramie was there before we knew it.  One night at the Best Western was reserved.  We quickly dropped our things off in our rooms and headed back to the car!

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First stop was Roxie’s for lunch.  They had a terrific menu, and though a little pricey, the food was great.  Our server was from Elizabeth, knew our daughter, Shyanne, and grew up next door to Shyanne’s boyfriend, Jake.  It was definitely a small world moment!

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We walked around downtown and admired the buildings from the western 1800’s and turn of the century.

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I wonder if I will ever stop shopping for wood cook stoves.  I wonder if we will ever get a homestead again.

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We stopped in this lovely apothecary.  I love that everywhere we go more and more apothecaries are coming up.

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Next stop was the Laramie Plains Museum.

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A residence for a small family, then a boarding school for girls, this mansion is an impressive collection of period furnishings and décor.

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These wide pianos were throughout the house.

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One can tell that music was a big part of entertainment back them.

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I bet they threw some lively parties!

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So much pride and detail went into building and design.  These old houses and museums that Doug and I visit are masterpieces in art.  The quickly built, same as the next houses of today will never come close to the loveliness of even the most simple home from these time periods.

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I wonder if Bill Nye, the science guy, named himself after the real Bill Nye?

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This style was in both museums we visited yesterday.  The wall paper design ends a foot from the ceiling, a similar pattern is carried to the ceiling, and a slightly contrasting paper covers the ceiling.

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This was our lovely guide, Skylar.  She is a middle school honor student that volunteers her time to lead folks through this beautiful place.

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Built in shelves and hutches always catch my eye!

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Another wood cook stove….

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The sink is original to the house.  One could do a lot of dishes or wash a baby comfortably in this sink!

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30 pounds of butter, anyone?  I have seen butter churns but not one in a barrel form.  I thought this piece was very interesting.

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The refrigerator was a built in hutch with a screened bottom.  Ice was placed below the hutch and it kept everything in the cupboard cold.  Here, Skylar models the lined flour bins that held a hundred pounds or more of flour!

The house looks just as it did.

The house looks just as it did.

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This staircase is like the one in Santa Fe that was built without nails or supports.  It is a gorgeous staircase and one that we had to come down dramatically.

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A collection of dresses from the 1950’s boarding school era.  I wore my grandmother’s pink dress to prom that looked very similar to the green one!

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The desk is the oldest piece in the house. It is from the 1700’s.

Of course, one must have  fainting couch.

Of course, one must have fainting couch.

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This shower cost the equivalent of $10,000 but was only used twice due to the very poor water pressure!

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I love this ornate tile.

I love this ornate tile.

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Upstairs held a collection of this and that.  Old remedies, a barber chair, large paintings, and more history…

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These paintings inspire me to paint.

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The borders on them are painted.

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Skylar then took us outdoors to see a very old schoolhouse that was moved to the property.

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This is a painting of what it looked like in its original place.

This is a painting of what it looked like in its original place.

Then I am afraid we went behind bars…

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We went and toured the Territorial Prison where the likes of Butch Cassidy spent time.

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This was the law enforcer’s office.

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The large kitchen that fed the inmates was light and beautiful.

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Doug inquiring on rental rates.

Doug inquiring on rental rates.

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Minnie’s story struck me as quite sad.  A young woman and her husband were ambushed and framed for murder by their neighbor who wanted their land.  She spent five years in prison, and her husband was there for ten years.  All because of a horrible neighbor!

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This young man’s story struck me as well for how young he looks.  He was twenty-one and was caught forging a check.  Was his family hungry?  Was he an outlaw?  He was released after three years.

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The prison was restored but the ghosts of the past still wander the halls.

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Outside our car awaited…

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But we couldn’t find our horses.

It was then that Doug and Rodney joined up with a local gang.

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We ended the action filled day with karaoke and went to bed rather late!

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Now, off to Salt Lake City….