January 30, 2010

Breckenridge and the Snow Sculptures

I'm always very ambitious on the weekends. Last Saturday, I woke up bright and early, made myself a cup of coffee, and sat down at my computer with a bowl of corn flakes. I began googling. Where would I go today? I looked to the east...not much. I looked to the north...nowhere I haven't already been. Then I looked west. Leadville? That looks interesting, but for another day when the Dude can come along too. But what about Breckenridge? I had never been there. I did a quick search of winter-ish activities and learned the town was smack in the middle of its International Snow Sculpture Championships. Sweet. I didn't even know I was interested in snow sculptures!


I looked up from the computer and said to Keene (who was sitting with Little Miss in the living room), "I think I'm gonna go to Breckenridge today." He jumped up and said, "Ooh! Can we come too?" I ho-ed and hummed and shuffled my feet a bit, then said, "I guess." I waited while they got dressed, then we started off for Breck.

After about 1.5 hours of driving, we arrived. And so, apparently, had the other 99.952% of the Colorado population. I guess it hadn't occurred to me that: ski town + winter + Saturday + international competition = busier than a traffic jam in hell. We dodged pedestrians, shimmied into a little parking spot, and made our way through the chilly town.
Ta-da! We arrived!





This is the 20-ton block of snow that the artists start out with.




This was my favorite and the one I voted for by giving up $1.

I wish the back of my head opened into a lush temple complete with bridge and rockslide.








This one was the big winner of the day. Every square inch was covered with little dots, to resemble a knit glove.





January 25, 2010

Keene vs. Kayden

Keene: Soon, you are going to want to take showers at least once every couple of days because you will get stinky once puberty hits. A good indicator of when you should start showering more often will be when you start liking girls. But if you let yourself get stinky and therefore, find yourself unable to get a girlfriend, then that would be okay because it would make things easier for your mom and me.

Kayden: But that wouldn't be fun for me.

Keene: Why is that?

Kayden: Because I wouldn't have someone special to take care of.

Keene: You don't want that kind of girlfriend until you're 25.

January 18, 2010

I have realized a couple things.

First, I over-analyze things. Yes, it's true. Calm down, I know this is a shock to you. But I also over-analyze my emotions. A lot. If I feel upset or sad or anything, I roll it around to figure out what I'm feeling and why. I beat it, run tests on it, perform complicated mathematical theorems on it, put it in a blender and puree it...and then after I have figured out exactly what I am feeling and why, I let it out like a kidnapped victim finally seeing the light of day after a week. Needless to say, my emotions are then very much in control and mellow. Because of this, I have been told that I'm hard to read, that I put on a good mask, whatever.

The second realization I had is that when I can't have my time to beat up my emotions, when I just let them fly, I feel crazy. One of my biggest fears since childhood is that I'd go crazy like my mom. Because of this, I think that's why I am so careful to figure out why I feel the way I do at times. When I get really upset and just let any emotions rush out at once, I kick myself and freak out and worry that I'm going crazy. It may sound silly, but I was up all night Friday, crying my eyes out about this.

Some of you may not know this, but I have a problem with anxiety. Yes, this is also true. I once talked to a doctor about getting on anxiety pills, but she said that, with my family history, she would advise against it, as it could induce a bipolar rage. That freaked me out and I haven't pursued it since.

Okay, so, getting back to my talk with Keene. I told him all about the stuff I just said. We talked about how therapy may be a good idea. I said the reason I don't like therapy is because I analyze myself so much that there is nothing a therapist has been able to tell me that I didn't already know. I know exactly why I act the way I do. I know how my childhood affects my relationships. I know all this stuff about myself, so what can a therapist tell me? My past experiences were very lame, with them always agreeing with my analyses (and sometimes even saying, "I didn't think of that!"). Keene made a great point that I should look into a psychologist with a PhD, one who knows a lot of fancy techniques and ideas that I don't. No more therapists with just a Masters and bestseller self-help books on their shelves.

(But that being said, I don't know exactly what I would go to therapy for or what I would want out of it. I'll have to think this over more beforehand...)

Oh, okay. So the reason why this talk was really good is that it made me realize WHY I get so upset about small things and it made him realize that I need this time to process my thoughts, otherwise, he gets a sudden burst of shouty anger from me. We also discussed things that set each other off and how we can avoid this in the future. For example, he needs to be clearer about why he means vs. what he says. I need to let him explain himself before jumping down his throat. And I should probably smoke a little more weed when I'm feeling antsy.

January 16, 2010

5 Dating Myths in a Modern World

(Reprinted from http://www.truelovedirect.com/dating-myths-in-a-modern-world)

We’ve all grown up hearing certain myths about the dating world. Myths often grow out of a once-truthful notion, which over time became outdated or inconsequential. Other myths seem to have no basis in truth whatsoever.

Myth #1: The man must pay on the first date.
This one had its heyday, but is somewhat old-fashioned now. In this time of equality among men and women, it is becoming the norm to go dutch (or, each person paying half). However, there’s a catch: some people have been raised to believe the man should still cover the bill entirely. The best thing to do if you are the man is to assume you will be paying, so as to avoid an awkward confrontation; if you are the woman, though, offer to pay half as soon as the bill arrives.

Myth #2: Sex on the first/second/third date is Relationship-Death.
Once again, this myth stemmed from an older time when a girl’s purity was more important than her personality. Fortunately, times have changed. More and more women are taking charge of their sexuality. Having sex early in a relationship no longer means he won’t call the next day. Nevertheless, a person should never give into pressure or move faster than to what they are accustomed. But if you both are feeling frisky, don’t let dated qualms stop you.

Myth #3: Dinner and a movie are a surefire first date combination.
No, no, no. A movie should rarely, if ever, be a first date activity. How are you supposed to get to know this person sitting awkwardly beside you, unsure of whether to hold your hand or whether he can make a quiet joke. Save that date for Round Three or Four. Instead, for a first date, focus on activities which encourage open talking: hiking, dining, bowling, sports games, etc.

Myth #4: You must wait three days after a date to call.
This is one of those dating games that tend to hinder, rather than help, a budding relationship. In the past, a person did not want to seem too eager by contacting his or her date right away. However, in today’s world of constant communication, not contacting your date for over three days may turn that person off. Don’t play games. If you had a good time, call or email and say it.

Myth #5: The man must make the first move.
Like the first myth about a man paying for the date, this one is also a gender-based oldie. Let’s face it: men today are not as brazen as they may have been decades ago. Luckily for them, women are becoming more assertive by the year. If, at the end of the night, your date begins the awkward, foot-shuffling, eye-contact-avoiding dance of the unsure and undecided, do him (and yourself) a favor and lean in for a kiss. While in the past, such a move might have been seen as wanton or even scandalous, today it is not only acceptable, but also downright appreciated by the shy boys.

January 14, 2010

The benefit of having a stepdaughter

I can borrow her bobby pins when I've lost all of my own.

On a side note, I was combing her hair after her shower last night and I mentioned that she really shouldn't brush her hair while it's wet. She said, "But Daddy always brushes my hair when it's wet." I said, "And your daddy is a boy and boys don't know about things like this."

Then Kayden called from the other room, "Now I do!"

January 7, 2010

Hat Trends

Over the last few years, I've noticed trends among my customers. In 2007, everyone was requesting basic beanies with crocheted flowers on the side. In 2008, it was the flap hat with braids. The trend of 2009 was the flapper hat, by far:



And the O.G. of flapper hats (well, at least this flapper hat)....me:



Sombrero not included:


Keene Rocks the Cub Scouts

We were asked to head up a Cub Scout den meeting, and had decided to do it on music. I kind of took the backseat on this, while Keene led.

He. Was. Fantastic.

He taught the boys all about sound waves and the way music works, scientifically. We brought a ton of instruments (yes, to the school where they meet) and he taught them about each one. He also made a stand-up washboard bass out of Cub Scout popcorn tin. Then the boys each got to play with them. I think I was more paranoid about them dropping them or banging them on tables than he was.

At one point, he played the bass for them and they were in total awe. They looked at each other with huge smiles. This was probably one of the best den meetings we've had. I could tell even the other parents were impressed with him.

(Even though the picture quality is lousy, I have blocked out faces, just in case parents don't want their boys' photos on a blog that talks about threesomes.)




January 5, 2010

I fought the bank and the bank won.

I went shopping on my lunch break with a friend. I picked out a bunch of adorable clothes on sale. The total came up to about $30. But my card was declined. The cashier tried it twice.

I was completely confused and checked my bank account online when I got back to the office. Um, I had plenty of money in my account. No major bills were being taken out. There was no reason why my card should have been declined.

I sat on hold, waiting for a rep, thisclose to getting cash and just paying for the clothes that way. The rep got on the line and told me that the loss prevention department had canceled my card. She transferred me to them, so I could find out why they thought my account was at risk of theft.

That department said I would have to go in to a local branch to get a new card. I left work, went to a bank...and they told me I would have to call the chick I set up the account with originally, that it would take her only seconds to fix this whole mess.

I went back to the office and called her, only to learn that she was out of the office. I left a voicemail, asking her to return my call as soon as possible.

::longing for that bag of clothes at the store::

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Apparently I won't get access to my money until they send me a check for the balance of my account in ten business days. Because my account was closed, due to a clerical error. But then again, I don't know for sure. I've called a billion places and can't get any answers. So, basically, I just don't get access to my money until they mail it. I can't believe this is legal.

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I told several different bankers that I just wrote my check for rent and that should be hitting my account any day now. I got the same response from everyone: "I'm sorry...I don't know what to tell you."

So, basically, they're holding my money so they can cover all transactions that will be hitting my account over the next ten days. Hopefully, rent will be one of those transactions. I'm hoping this means they will still use the money in my account to pay incoming checks.

I'm seriously questioning whether I want to keep using banks.

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I called the call center, two individual branches, and their loss prevention department at least two times each. I cried, yelled, and even begged a bit. All they would tell me (the call center, that is) is that I just have to wait for them to mail a check in 10 business days.

The local branches didn't seem to know what was going on...they made everything even more confusing. However, I may go into the branch I went to today, because that lady has been the most helpful thus far. She seemed very sure of what was going on and said this was really common. She's the one that said the other bank branch had to "take ownership of the account."

But then again, she might have been confused too.

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The money that Keene transferred to me for rent is no longer appearing in my account. It had been posted yesterday, but is not there today.

I'm sitting on hold now to find out where it went. I suspect they sent it back to him, though I can't think why.

Shit. Shit. Shit. They're going to make my rent check bounce.

I called the bank's Personal Account department. She didn't have information, so she transferred me to the Online Banking Dept. THAT lady didn't know anything, so she's calling someone else, I guess? I've been on hold for about ten minutes.

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Aaaaaand now I'm being transferred to the Loss Prevention Dept. I can't freaking believe they can do this. I explained that a check has been written and WILL be cashed soon, because the money WAS in my account as of Saturday.

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Huh. So, they sent back the money to Keene. Even though he had transferred it to me on Saturday and this shit only happened yesterday. The bank said they won't let any checks through anyways, because the account is now closed. So any checks I've written (such as rent and the kids' lunch money) will be returned.

I'm going over there at lunch again. Then I'm going to call my apartment complex, explain this to them, give them Keene's money order. Then I'll have to bring cash to the kids' school to give them so they don't cash the check I gave them yesterday.

Right now I wish I could morph into a more confrontational person, so I can ream them out while staying level-headed. I'm afraid the moment they say, "That's just how it's done," I'll give up and start crying.

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On the phone with Keene now. They haven't returned his money to him. He called the bank (he's with the same one as me) and they show no record of his transfer being returned...only of it hitting my account.

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I went to the branch and brought my lawyer-friend with me. The lady who was helpful yesterday recognized me immediately. She listened and started making calls. She called the banker who originally opened my account, as well as the manager of that lady.

Then she came back and said that she was waiting on approval from the district manager. If the DM approved it, my account would reopen immediately, Keene's money would hit my account at midnight, and a new debit card would be rushed to me. She thinks it'll most likely be approved.

She justified my feelings by saying that she couldn't believe this happened. She said she had never seen something like this happen before (in response to Keene's money being in limbo too).

Sooooooo...I'm just waiting on her call to see if it's approved. I'm feeling flabbergasted that all this shit happened due to basically a clerical error.

And kudos to Kaci for being the cool, lawyer-ly friend who had my back.

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This whole mess makes me really wary of the banking system. I had never known they could just freeze your account at any point, because of some policy (or even because of a bank error). That's a scary thought, that they can just hold onto your money but because they're a big corporation and this is just how it's done, then it's okay.

I'm sure I sound like some anti-establishment hippie. But yesterday was pretty weird.

I'm going to try out non-banking for a while and see how it works out for me. If it becomes too inconvenient, I'll get an account. But until then, pfft.

January 1, 2010

The Importance of 2009

Two families collided.



We played in the mud.




We played in the sand.


We played in the Platte River of Colorado.



We played in the Great Salt Lake.

We played in the Green River of Utah.


We played with snakes.





We traveled to the flea market.




We traveled to the art museum.




We traveled to the movies.




We traveled to the campground.



We traveled to Wyoming.


We traveled to a million concerts.


We discovered the ever-obscure drive-in theater.


We discovered neat rocks in Kansas.



We discovered the bombastic pool at our new home.


We discovered the world around us,
one hike at a time.


We re-discovered the '20s at Halloween.



We discovered an amazing view in Jackson, Wyoming.


We watched fire dancers.



We watched the world from up in a tree.



We watched movies in the mountains.



We ended '09 in style.


Ken Arkind: Laureate of Denver’s Slam Poetry Scene


(Reprinted from www.ColoradoMusicBuzz.com)

Slam poetry, huh? But isn’t this a music magazine? It sure is, pal, and you did read that correctly. Denver is a wildly versatile city, one that embraces its politics as equally as its culture. Therefore, it is not really a surprise that different forms of art often come together to create an even better experience for the onlookers and participants alike.

Taking advantage of this cultural freedom, Hot Congress – a group comprised of local artists and musicians – recently put out a compilation album that showcases the talents of its members (and for which I fought viciously to snag my own copy). Amidst the songs, I discovered a hilarious, yet wrenching, love poem entitled “Maggie,” written and read by Ken Arkind.

Let it be known that – English major or not – I am not a lover of poetry. Yet it may actually be impossible not to adore Arkind’s writing and moving delivery. His poems can be frivolous (with only hints of a deeper meaning, like “1up”) or downright raucous, such as his ode to the bowel movements of soccer moms in “Dropping the Kids off at the Pool.” Yet he effortlessly shifts to confronting emotional matters in the gritty “For Wes,” as well as poignant racial issues in “Smoke.”

This local phenomenon caught national attention when he won both the Pablo Neruda Poetry Slam and Barrio Slam in 2004, the Denver City Slam in 2005, and finally (along with the Denver Mercury Slam Team) the National Poetry Slam in 2006.

Arkind’s work off-stage, however, has become just as noteworthy as his blossoming career. Over the years, he has taught at high schools, universities, and even correctional facilities, and has spoken at protests and rallies. Recently, he teamed up with Flobots’ Fight With Tools organization, working as a coach for Denver Minor Disturbance Youth Team. Arkind can be found touring with Spilljoy Ensemble (a quartet of renowned slam poets from around the country) and Dynamic Duo (alongside fellow National Poetry Slam champion, Panama Soweto).

MySpace.com/KenArkind
HotCongressDenver.com