If you were to do a time lapse video of the past 35 plus years of Niwot, it’s guaranteed you will have crossed paths with Victoria Keen and her husband Mike Selak many times. The Colorado-bred couple has seen Niwot grow from a far-flung rural offshoot to a flourishing hamlet. Living in the area so long means they’re waving and saying hello on a regular basis to folks they know from a multitude of settings. The Courier asked these familiar faces a few questions to shed some light on what makes them unique and integral members of our community.
LHVC- Where did you grow up and what brought you to Niwot?
Victoria Keen/Mike Selak - We were both born and raised in Pueblo, Colo. We moved to Boulder in 1977 after Victoria was accepted at CU. We moved to Niwot in 1983 to the Countryside Condos. There were only two buildings then. We felt like we were moving to the ends of the earth - Niwot felt very remote and the town was quite sleepy. After a few days of getting settled, we stopped by El Castillo Mexican restaurant in Cottonwood Square, then owned by the Ochoa family. The Ochoa’s were so warm and friendly, we instantly felt like we moved to the right town.
We moved to our home on 3rd Ave. in Niwot in 1985. It’s a wonderful neighborhood of quirky, like-minded folks. We feel so blessed to be surrounded with neighbors and a network of friends who feel like family. We found our tribe.
LHVC - How did you meet and when?
VK/MS - We met 44 years ago in Pueblo when we were both attending Southern Colorado State College which is now CSU-Pueblo. We got married in 1984.
LHVC – Tell us a bit about your background.
VK/MS - Victoria has a degree in anthropology, archaeology, and Latin American studies. Mike has a degree in history and education. Mike taught at the high school level briefly and then settled into a long career in the produce department at King Soopers.
Victoria did survey archaeology in southwestern Colorado and Utah and a few “digs” for site mitigation for the Colorado Highway Department. After that, she was self-employed for 30 years with various business incarnations. We are now both semi-retired.
LHVC - Where are we likely to see you around town?
VK/MS - Mike has been watering the beautiful flowers downtown during the summer - this is his second year. Niwotians probably most readily recognize us by seeing us walk our dogs. Dogs are our personal fitness trainers and walking meditation instructors. We have been on every trail and in every neighborhood in Niwot. We are partial to scruffy terriers and had several Scotties and a Westie, as well as numerous cats. All were rescues. Our current dog is Roscoe, a corgi-schnauzer mix. Otherwise you see us at the usual haunts – parades, coffee shops, restaurants, festivities, events, etc.
LHVC – What’s your favorite thing about living here?
VK/MS - After dealing with traffic in Boulder, Longmont, and Denver, it’s wonderful that our home base is less frenetic and so peaceful. We love going for walks and seeing horses, goats and chickens just a few blocks away. Niwot still retains a certain quirky charm and “heart” despite the growth we have witnessed over the past 36 years. The agricultural past still resonates…may it continue to be celebrated and cherished.
LHVC – What is a typical day for you and what are your favorite pastimes?
VK/MS – Simple pleasures…wake up with gratitude, read the newspaper, work out at the gym, walk the dog, putz around keeping our 1929 house and yard in order, do something useful (or not), get together with friends/neighbors, read, nap, have a happy hour glass of wine and watch the sunset, laugh, go to bed with gratitude.
We enjoy budget travel. Many of our favorite travel memories are from places off the beaten track. Two-star accommodations often yield a priceless 5-star experience. We are both passionate about indigenous cultures, animal welfare, social justice, and environmental issues. We are avid readers. Mike loves all the Denver professional sports teams
LHVC – Tell us about challenges you’ve experienced.
VK/MS - Everyone is confronted with the loss of loved ones, sickness or physical challenges at various stages of life. We are both just happy to be here, and the older we get, the less we know for sure. We are very comfortable with that.