Mariana’s New Bedroom!

Last weekend, we took on the weekend project of re-imagining Mariana’s bedroom. This has been her bedroom since her birth, but before that, it was also Clara’s nursery. While upgrades have been made to her room over the years, her room has still been virtually based on the same color scheme and layout up to this point.

A baby nursery with blue walls, a pink stripe on the salls, a brown chair and a wooden crib.
Clara’s Nursery back in 2013
Mariana standing in her blue room with a pink stripe, filled with a bed, table, desk, and toys everywhere.
Mariana’s room in 2022 (it normally wasn’t this messy, but she created one of her many shops out of her room).

With Clara being busy at a dance competition all weekend, this was a great opportunity for Mariana and me to be productive in the house. Mariana picked out the colors, and we took to Pinterest to get some ideas. After exploring many options, Mariana narrowed her choice down to a grey bedroom with a light blue accent wall, rejecting complex shapes and patterns that were floated to her.

The project went into full force last Wednesday when I took all of the furniture out of her room (Maraina was with her mom for the next two nights).

Mariana's blue room with a pink stripe, mostly empty, with a white bed turned on its side.

The next night I focused on getting everything off of the walls and doing a lot of patching.

The same bedroom, but now with the walls bare and covered in white spackle.

When I got the girls back Friday morning, we picked up the paint and went to town. My mom joined us and both girls were amazing helpers, and we were reminded how satisfying painting can be.

By day’s end, the paint dried enough to set up Mariana’s bed and move some furniture back into the room. She was excited to sleep in this in-progress project.

Mariana (and George, who we’re pet-setting for Shannon) spending the first night in her newly painted room

Saturday came, and Clara spent the day at her dance competition. My mom came over, and the three of us started getting the lights, shelving, wall fixtures, and all of the furnishings into the room. We had a lot of fun playing with string lights, threading them along the ceiling down her dresser wall. We swapped the location of her bed and dresser, and I replaced her nursery dresser with an amazing wooden dresser I got in an estate auction. My mom also replaced Mariana’s desk with a new-to-her desk. I also mounted Mariana’s TV to the wall to open up her dresser space. We tried to be more selective about adding things back into the room, taking the opportunity to de-clutter as much as we can.

Here is the current result, with a few more decorations to add, along with some on-the-wall shelving that will arrive next week.

Mariana's finished bedroom, with grey walls, with a sky-blue wall on the right, her bed, brown dresser, desk, and shelving.

Mariana is excitedto offer a tour:

I’m so very grateful for all the people who helped make this happen: my mom, who helped paint and decorate; Shannon, who helped me get the dresser. Next up: Clara’s room this summer? Stay tuned!

Tubing at Beaver Meadows

Clara, Jeromey, and Mariana, dressed in winter gear in front of a sign that says "SnowTube Park".

The girls and I have been clamoring to go tubing since early December, but the mild winter and a busy schedule prevented us from going. We finally carved out time in late January to make our way up to Beaver Meadows Resort near Red Feather and had an absolute blast.

The last time I had been to Beaver Meadows was during my Campus Ministry Days at John XXIII, over 20 years ago. As I was researching tubing locations online, Beaver Meadows made the most sense when considering experience, price, and travel time. We purchased our tickets the night before and booked a 2-hour window from 12-2.

The drive up there was pretty, and with the mild winter, the roads didn’t give us any trouble. We stopped at Subway in Fort Collins and picked up lunch for afterward.

The tubing hill is very well-run. They have a pully-lift system that brings you up by your tube, and once you’re up there are multiple runs to choose from. As someone with a moderate tolerance for speed, I didn’t find the runs too scary. The girls learned the hard way that you may not want to go down head-first, but we luckily escaped injury and enjoyed our other runs.

We used the GoPro to capture some videos of our runs. Clara wore it at first and took some awesome videos:

She and Mariana also formed a train down one of the runs as well.

I also joined in on the train, but had to take the front on this run:

Finally, Mari and I took one last “race” down one of the parallel runs:

Despite having a lift take you to the top of the hill, tubing took more out of us than we expected. By the time our two-hour window was up, we were ready to be done and enjoy our lunch in the back of the truck:

We would highly recommend going to check out Beaver Meadows. They’re open on weekends through Spring Break and will scratch that itch for some winter fun.

Why aren’t Library Trustees elected?

Note: This post is a response to a question that was recently posed on a NextDoor thread: “Why don’t we vote on Library Board members?”

I am a member of the Clearview Library Board of Trustees but am speaking only for myself and not on behalf of the board. To answer your question as to why Library Trustees are appointed rather than elected: The appointment of members is specified in Colorado Library Law (C.R.S. 24-90-108). As a library district, sections (c) and (e) are applicable to Clearview. These apply to all library districts in the state of Colorado. I’d invite you to read the law at: https://www.cde.state.co.us/cdelib/librarylaw/part1#24-90-108

As specified in the Clearview Library District (CLD) bylaws, which can be read at https://clearviewlibrary.org/sites/default/files/inline-files/2023-06-29-bylaws-with-amendments_0.pdf , Trustees are appointed by a committee that consists of voting members from all of the municipal bodies that make up the CLD: Town of Windsor, Town of Severance, City of Greeley, and the Weld RE-4 School District. A current Trustee is also on the committee and facilitates the process. Once a selection is made, those names are submitted to each of the aforementioned entities to be ratified, which is discussed and voted on during their public meetings – only then are those Trustees seated to complete a 3-year term which can be re-appointed once to serve a maximum of 6 years as a voting Trustee. You can learn more by reading Article 2, Section 4 of the CLD Bylaws which goes into further detail of the oversight of the CLD Board of Trustees.

This process was recently completed for our trustee whose term was expiring at the end of the year, and at our most recent meeting we extensively discussed the process. You can view it below:

Regarding “how our dollars are spent”, I recently made a post that answered some questions about the CLD’s mill levy, finances, and budget. I’d invite you to read it. Also, the first reading of our 2024 budget was presented in our October meeting and can be viewed below:

The second reading and possible approval is on the agenda for the next regular meeting on Thursday, November 30. If you have any questions about Trustee appointment, the CLD budget, or anything else related to the library district, I’m more than happy to answer them at jeromey.balderrama@clearviewlibrary.org . I don’t respond to social media comments and encourage you to reach out to me directly and would even be happy to set up a phone or in-person discussion as well. Thanks for your interest in the Clearview Library District!

Lyin’ Eyes and how I listen to music

Have you ever stopped to think about how you listen to music? When you hear a new song, do your ears focus on the melody, the lyrics, or the rhythm?

Last month I was asked to sit in with some musicians who were putting together a performance of Eagles covers. I thought I knew the Eagles pretty well, but as I started to chart out the songs I quickly realized the number of intricacies that were critical in faithfully recreating each song. Three rehearsals later, I gathered with this group of talented musicians for a fun night of music.

This was technically a “sing-along” event, which means the lyrics were on a screen for each song. At the end of the performance, my girlfriend, Shannon, asked me about Lyin’ Eyes. After the events that led to my divorce, how could I not find that song triggering the trauma I experienced?

The truth of the matter: despite listening to that song dozens of times, I never actually listened to the lyrics.

This spurned a fascinating conversation about how I listen to music and how my approach changes when I’m enjoying songs and when I’m playing them. In the 30+ years I’ve been a musician, my listening is grounded in the rhythm of the song, starting with the drums and bass, growing an appreciation for the foundation of the song. At that point I then shift toward the melody, and finally, the lyrics. I often don’t develop an appreciation for song lyrics until I read a printed version of them. When I think of my favorite songs, it’s more common for me to scat a drum lick rather than sing the lyrics.

When I approach playing a cover of a song, I go a step further and try to break down the song structure. When playing rock, some basic rules apply to virtually every song:

  • There are basic rock grooves that repeat throughout the song
  • Songs usually follow an A,B,A,B,C, … structure (where A is the verse part, B is the chorus, C is the bridge)
  • Rock is usually based on multiples of 4

Based on those rules, I’ll chart out my cheat sheet of songs. Depending on how well I know the tune, my notes can be pretty vague. In the case of Lyin’ Eyes, I wrote the basic grove (which is a rim-knocks rock groove), the tempo (134 bpm), and then anything else I needed to note for the song (the structure, as the verse occurs twice).

When I’m playing the song, I am listening for specific musical queues that help me move into the next phase. In this case, I’m counting the lyrics in multiples of 4 and waiting for a guitar strum during the last measure to confirm the time I need to let my cymbals ring and move into the chorus groove.

Despite playing this song lots of times over the last month and listening to it dozens of times since I was a kid, I never actually listened to the words. After finally reading them, they hit me link a ton of bricks. It serves as a reminder that music (and art) can impact us in many different ways and resonate differently throughout our lives, as we allow our own stories to influence the art.

How do you listen to music?

Questions Regarding Clearview Library Finances and Mill Levy

As a member of the Clearview Library of Trustees (WHO IS NOT SPEAKING ON THE BOARD’S BEHALF), I have received some questions regarding how the library is financed, its budget, and operating costs.

Did the original .5 mill levy approved by voters to build the Third Street library ever sunset? When was the library bond paid off?

Below is a timeline of the Clearview Library mill levy, as documented on their website.

  • 1985: Windsor Severance Library District formed at 1.5 mills
  • 1995: Voter-approved tax increase (1.740 mills, 0.93 bond)
  • 2001: Voter-approved mill levy increase NTE 3.546 mills (1 mill increase) and TABOR 2 prevention (“de-Bruced”)
  • 2011: Third Street building is paid off four years early (0.93 bond sunsetted)

Is the library still collecting 2 mills for operations and maintenance of the library? What is the total mill levy for the library district?

Each year, the Library Board-approved mill levy is certified by the Library Director to Weld County. A 3.546 mill levy currently funds our district to support operations.

The current mill levy was set and approved by voters back in 2001.

How much cash-on-hand does the library district have?

As of August 2023 close:

$13,887,068.38 Total
– ($4,663,582.38) Lease loan funding for Severance build, 100% committed.
– ($2,401,575.67) Long Term Building Fund, allocated for Severance build
– ($1,188,440.36) Capital Fund Reserve
– ($3,256,726.80) Operating Fund Reserve. Reserve targeted to be equal to 12 months operating budget
– ($1,188,812.68) Checking Account
– ($544.70) Cash on Hand
Total Committed or reserved funds: ($11,699,702.89)
Current Non-committed: $2,187,361.49
(Edit Oct 6, 1pm):*

*Keep in mind that our budgeted expenses are $404,092.16 per month, so we anticipate the remaining expenses for the last 4 months of 2023 to total $1,616,368.60, with little remaining income to be collected. Taking this into account our adjusted Non-Committed number is $570,992.80.

What is its operations budget this year and next?

2023: $6,091,415.00 Revenue. ($4,671,689.86) Expense
2024: This budget is being finalized. The first reading is scheduled for the October 26 regular business meeting.

How much is the library district paying to build the Severance library branch? What will its operating and maintenance budget be once it opens?

Current Severance Budget: $7,610,239.27, which includes finish, furniture, land acquisition, books and materials, IT, and audio/visual. As for operations and maintenance: that budget is currently being finalized and is scheduled for a first reading at the October 26 regular business meeting.