October 31, 2010

Grease is the word.

Maia insisted on being Sandy from Grease. However, she wanted to be Bad Sandy. At six years old, we weren't about to let her strut around in heels and black spandex. So we compromised with Good Sandy:

Also, Maia has recently declared her love for Danny Zuko. We can't break it to her that he is now old and a Scientologist.

Kayden dressed up as a child that doesn't celebrate Halloween. He and I watched a movie and drank root beer floats while Maia and Keene T-or-Ted. Then it was time for admittedly late-in-the-season pumpkin carving...

and the annual pumpkin seed shoot-out.

October 29, 2010

The Weighty Issues of a Relationship: When Your Partner Becomes Less Attractive to You

I realize that by posting an Adorable Relationship Photo on this article, I'm implying that one of us is unhappy with another's appearance. I can ensure you that this is not true. I am very happy with Keene's physical appearance even if he occasionally shaves his head and I want to throw coffee in his face. And he is extremely happy with my appearance, because if he weren't, I would throw coffee in his face. (Really? I was being paid to give relationship advice?)

(Reposted from Ask Dan and Jennifer)

While your partner’s appearance is likely not the top (or even tenth) reason you love him or her, it is still of some importance. Physical attraction can ensure your sex life stays exciting and it can keep you feeling appreciative of one another. In an ideal world, we would look as fresh-faced and fit as we did at the beginning of a relationship, regardless of the passing years. Yet as time goes by, weight will be gained, hair will be lost, wrinkles will appear, breasts will sag (especially with the possible introduction of those little gremlins we call children). While you don’t consider yourself to be superficial, these things may still bother you.

To be fair, are these changes in your partner something that can reasonably be fixed? If surgery or expensive treatments are the only way to correct a problem, you are likely being unreasonable. However, if the problem is that your partner’s weight has begun to rise drastically or she is actively doing something which affects her appearance (such as excessively tanning, not showering, or dressing differently), you might possibly have some sway in making a positive change. Simple suggestions like, “Remember how you used to wear your hair curly? I really liked that” or “I think you would look just as good with pale skin as you do with orange, streaky skin” can be subtle, yet complimentary hints.

Weight issues can be trickier, especially with women. Many women will go from fine to hysterically and inconsolably crying at the mere suggestion of diet and exercise. Rather, take up hiking, bicycling or another physical hobby and ask if she would join you. Don’t pressure her, though, or she will see through your ploy. That being said, do not take up this hobby for the sole purpose of tricking her into slimming down. Do it for yourself, for your own health, and as a way to share something fun together.

As a last resort (and oh, how I emphasize that), gently point out that you have noticed a change in grooming or eating habits. Point out that you will love your partner no matter what, but you are starting to worry about what may be effecting these changes.

Nevertheless, the change that needs to take place may be your attitude. He may have decided that he wants to grow his hair long. She may feel the extra pounds accentuate her curves. People will change as they age. Love the person because of these changes, not in spite of them. Finally, cut your partner some slack; remember, you are no Dorian Gray yourself.

October 28, 2010

Maia is getting glasses tonight.

We went to the store last night to pick them out. At first, she pulled out some bright purple frames. They looked cute. I saw a pair of dark red Ralph Lauren frames (this is important later). I said, "If I were getting glasses, I would get these. But they're not really for kids, huh?" After maybe a half-hour of trying on pairs, she opted for the RL frames because: 1) they make her look like 8 years old, 2) Because they say "Ralph Lauren" on the lens.

So basically, she went for the pair that would make her look fancy and older.

They do look very cute on her, though.

October 27, 2010

October 25, 2010

How to Play the Cello with a Child's Head...and Other How-Tos

Step 1: Place bow in child's mouth (the wooden part, not the horse-hair part...I imagine that end wouldn't taste very good). This only works if you have a child who does not worry about germs or toxins.

Step 2: Lift the child up. With his/her legs wrapped around your waist and while holding the arms, drop the child upside down.

Note: this position (sans bow) is also a good way to chase cats around the house:

Step 3: Holding the child steady (which will be difficult as the child is oftentimes very squirmy), line the bow up to the cello, and swing the child back and forth.

It may take quite a bit of practice, but over time, you too can become a master child-head-cellist.


How to Scare Your Friend at the Thrift Store

Last Saturday, Kort and I went thrift-shopping, a very brave activity indeed. More than that, it was a half-off day. Half-off day at the thrift store means that you can't find a cart, you can't easily find good wares, and many times, you can't even find your friend through the pushing crowds.

On this day, we meandered along the shoe aisle, oblivious to the people trying to rush past us. Suddenly, I looked down and saw this pair:

I gasped and picked up the boots.

"Kortney! Oh my god! Look!"

She looked at the boots, then back at me, a horrified expression on her face.

"I had these boots when I was a teenager! I was so in love with them!"

No sound from Kort, just the same should-I-say-something-or-keep-quiet look.

I went on: "When I was 14, I saw this pair of boots at a store in Las Vegas. I really, really wanted them, but didn't get them. A few weeks later, it was my birthday--Oh stop, Kortney. I'm not buying them. I'm reminiscing. Listen to my story."

She exhaled and said, "Ohthankgod. Yes, please continue with your story."

"Okay, so, my mom had surprised me by ordering the shoes from the store in Las Vegas. I only got rid of them years later, when I moved out to Colorado. Do you think this is the same pair?!"


How to Ensure Your Boyfriend Never Pours Water on You Again

There are three things anyone who is planning to live with me should know:

1. I never know when enough is enough.
2. I never say die.
3. I am the queen of in-home water-fights.

See, here's where I have the leg-up in a water-fight. Most of the stuff I own is cheap. Inexpensive, you know. I pride myself in not valuing possessions more than experiences. Things are dispensable, fun is not.

So if put into a situation where everything around me may be at risk of water damage, I only think of the win. Apparently, Keene did not know this when he poured water on me after dinner.

But let's back it up to when he really started it. While laying on the floor, he randomly squirt me with the bottle we use on the cats when they're being bad or boring. Out of the blue. And when I filled the cats' water dish, he squirted me again. Unprovoked. That is important to keep in mind as you read what happened next.

Calmly, I filled a cup with water, grabbed a car title off of the fridge, using as my shield, then poured the water over Keene's reclining body (well, face, but whatever...who starts a water-fight while laying down, anyways?). He jumped up, sputtering and coughing. I then tried to call a truce. Oh no, he grabbed the squirt bottle and ran into the bedroom. I waited with a second full cup of water, standing outside the bedroom door. He opened the door a bit and caught another faceful of water. He slammed the door and locked it. I waited patiently outside the room.

Suddenly, I heard the front door being unlocked. Apparently, he had snuck out the bedroom using the back door, run around the apartment building, and was planning to creep in through the front entrance. I ran to the kitchen, refilled the water, and greeted him at the front door with a third cupful of water in the face. Finally, he called a truce.

Until he randomly poured a cup of water on me at dinnertime. But don't worry: he caught a fourth cup of water before the night was out. The walls were covered with water, the neighbor's front door had a large puddle at the bottom of it, our bed was dripping, Kayden's art project learned a new meaning to the word "watercolor" (as had our refridgerator door upon which it was hanging).

Nevertheless, I won and that's all that mattered.

October 21, 2010

Holy moly. I don't think I've let this much time lapse without blogging (unless I was traveling, but even then, I think I popped on). Basically, I've started a new job. I haven't blogged about it yet because, well, I'm just starting (and because the new job knows I have a blog and that would be weird to discuss my feelings about it in such a place where they could read it--not that those feelings are bad, though! Oh crap...do-over!)

Anyhow, with leaving my old job, starting the new one, and topped with the internet not working for the past few days, I have not been able to update. Hell, I haven't been able to turn in an article which is now overdue by...oh, three days? I should probably get on that. Dang.

So yeah, this isn't actually a post. This is a "I haven't forsaken you, O Blog!" I will have to figure out a new posting schedule and all that jazz. Meanwhile, here is a couple teasers before I have to run back to the office.

What? Like you've never used a child's head to play the cello?

October 14, 2010

Great American Beer Fest, Part 2

Hooray for Kortney, posting the second part of our adventures in GABF. Check it out here: Falling Rock.

In case you missed the first part, here it is: Falling Rock Tap House and GABF.

October 13, 2010

Pumpkin spice mocha.

Just the ticket when your uterus is being a whiny little bitch.

A Story by Kayden

Kayden wrote the following story for a class assignment. His teacher so enjoyed the story that she copied it onto a transparency, to project for the whole class to study...

Boom! The ground shook as I was startled from sleep. I got dressed and took off to investigate. I found my dad who was paralyzed with fear.

The sky was pitch red. There were meteors falling from the sky. I could see 15 hurdling towards the surface. I wondered what was happening at my mom's house.

I was relieved that it...was over. My mom had no idea they hit Colorado. The entire world was hit except some of North America, the South Pole, Antarctica, and Canada.

I thought, "Well, there goes our trip to Paris".

Here are my thoughts:

1. He is so incredibly creative and well-spoken, especially for an almost 10-year-old.

2. The line about his mom having no idea they hit Colorado? True dat, son. He truly captured my obliviousness. A friend from Utah onced called to ask if I were okay. I replied, "Yeah, why wouldn't I be?" She said, "Um, there's a tornado in Aurora right now. I'm watching it on the news." "Really? Oh, crap."

3. I love his ending. It wraps up the story perfectly. I can't do that. I suck at endings, so he has already surpassed me in this area.

October 12, 2010

Long sigh of relief.

Boss just called, said she was really sorry to see me go, but I've got to do what's best for me. She said that she knows I have "so much potential" and that they underutilized me. She said, "I just want you to know how much everybody likes you and appreciates your work." She said she would provide a reference if I ever need it.

So, I asked about finding a replacement. Turns out, a woman who used to work for her was recently laid off. It sounds like this woman could just come in and start working without any training. She knows all the people and processes.

It's possible I may only work here through Friday, instead of into next week!

Ghosts, Politicians, and Beer: A Brief Tour of Lodo

Last Saturday, Kortney and I met for coffee (and chai) at the hipper-than-hip European cafe, Leela's. What makes it a European cafe? Well, we deduced it is because the barista/bartender judges you and makes you come to her to place your order. Nevertheless, their drinks are thick and tasty, and where else can you have a shot of whiskey added to your latte?

And it was here that our photo shoot began. Here's the thing about Kortney: she is not shy in the least. When I said, "Ready for me to take your picture over and over while people watch with curiosity?" She said, "Sure, where do you want me to sit?" Everyone needs a friend like her. But not her. Because she's my friend. Back off.

I don't consider myself shy, but I am certainly more introverted and reserved. So getting in front of the camera is always a feat. Especially while in public. Which is why I end up looking like I just farted in front of a crowd, no matter the situation:

After downing our drinks (and returning the empty mugs to the counter ourselves, natch), we headed toward LoDo--the historic district of the city.

And now, how about some fun facts?

- In the 1880s, Holladay Street had become a sordid place, lined with brothels and saloons. The family of the man for whom the street was named petitioned to have it changed, lest it sully their good...well, name. In honor of the many businesses operating in the area, it was changed to Market Street. (Or rather, Flesh Market Street.)

- In the picture below, the building on the right side houses Wynkoop Brewery. One of the original founders of this pub and restaurant was John Hickenlooper, Denver's mayor (and hopefully soon, governor...cross your fingers!). That's right: even our politicians love their beer.

- Recently, a woman suffered 2nd- and 3rd-degree burns after stepping over a steam vent (such as the one from which you may notice Kortney safely distancing herself). According to Xcel Energy, the steam can reach temperatures of 200 degrees. When asked for a comment, the company replied, "[We have] been operating steam systems in Denver for more than 130 years. Instances of public contact....are very, very rare. We do not put warning signs on these locations because, by definition, steam is very hot and it generally is something public will try to avoid." So, basically, don't go steam-vent-hopping or the electric company will make you look like an ass.

As you can see, the vent has now been barricaded, which is basically like being put into steam-vent prison. Bad steam vent. Quit being such a jerk and blow some cold air, already.

- Like the steam vents, alleys are littered around town. Or rather, I should say "scattered." Alleys are scattered around town. But they are also full of litter. And sometimes bodies, it seems. Alleys and murders go hand-in-hand like new lovers who have never lived together. Beginning with the first alley murder, a prostitute (see Fun Fact #1) in 1896, these dark walkways are ideal for committing atrocities or for capturing just the right amount of sunlight with your camera.

- In the not-too-distant past, a postman stopped at the Oxford Hotel's bar for a beer. He talked with the bartender while drinking, then left to "deliver gifts to the children". The bartender reached over to pick up the empty bottle, only to discover it was still full. (Clearly, the postman was not from around here.) Later, a researcher discover that, in the early 1900s, a postman had died while trying to deliver presents to children in Central City. You know what that means? It was a g-g-g-ghost who was in the bar that day. And you know what that means?

Even our ghosts love their beer.

Alright, folks, that is enough of story hour today.

Check out my Etsy shop, Bitter o'Clock, for more fantastic (and occasionally awkward) pictures around Denver.

October 11, 2010

Letter of Resignation.

I am sorry to say I have to quit. I have enjoyed working for you, and appreciate all that I have learned. It’s been a great experience to work with you, as you have been an inspiration as a female business owner. However, I have taken a position that is more in line with my writing goals. This final decision was reached only after thorough consideration.

I know this is coming at a really lousy time, considering how busy you are. Because of this, and because you have treated me so well, I would like to tackle the issue of finding and training a replacement before my last day, October 20th. I can set up the ad, hold initial phone interviews, and bring in the most qualified candidates to meet with you. I can even train them, as well, even if that means coming in during off-hours or after my last day.

Please feel free to contact me after I leave if I can be of any assistance. And again, I’m very sorry for the suddenness of this.

October 8, 2010

So, this sucks.

Having to tell my boss I'm leaving.

I had *just* sat down at my computer when the interviewer called me to say they both loved me. It was one of the chillest interviews ever.

I pulled into the looooooong driveway and parked my beater in front of the owner's big house. Okay, that'll make an interviewee a little self-conscious. I met the owner. He is an author and also runs a whole bunch of business-building seminars. When I walked in, I immediately noticed shoes beside the front door.

I said, "Oh, should I take off my shoes?" while thinking, "please say no, please say no." Could you imagine doing an interview with bare, stinky feet?

Luckily, he said no.

He showed me around the house, as well as the koi pond and waterfall in the backyard.

So, I talked with him and the woman who is leaving the position. They were both intrigued with my assessment, on which I was brutally honest. Then he talked a lot about how our personalities would work together. Then we pretty much all sat down and bullshitted for the next 1.5 hours.

I have a really good feeling about the people, about the location, and about the job itself.

I'm kind of waiting to hear back about the salary before I tell my boss anything.

Oh, and I'm fucking DREADING telling her.

The Glee Craze.

I have watched about 4-5 episodes of Glee on Hulu over the last few weeks. I have learned two things while watching:

1. It appears I like Lady Gaga songs...I just don't like when she sings them. The covers are always much better (and not just with Glee, but with other people who have covered her).

2. I like the show. I think it's witty and cute. I love the characters, Sue and Britney. I like that they use people with Down's Syndrome, but it's not really the theme. It shows that people with disabilities can be regular actors too. I wish they used a real paraplegic in the same way.

However, I don't really like the musical segments. Strange, I know. That's kind of a theme. The cast, characters, and dialogue make the show a 4 out of 5. But with the music, it knocks the score down some.

Part of that is because I hate that the inconsistency. For example, when they are in their classroom, they have a band, so the songs make sense. (Well, if you ignore the fact that a silly high school band can apparently turn it out like they do.) But then, if they just break out into song in the bathroom or outside, there is no band around, so why not make it acapella? Why does an invisible band have to start playing?

Luckily, on Hulu, you can fast-forward through those.

Staying Single vs. Starting a Family: Which is Better?

(Reposted from Ask Dan and Jennifer)

Get a job, get married, have a kid. That's the natural progression of life...or is it? Many don't see it that way. The best outcome of the feminist movement was that it empowered women to stay single or have a family as they saw fit. Yet even today, women are pressured to fit into the typical mold of becoming a wife and mother. While that may be the path for some women, to others, children are a threat to their desired lifestyle. So what is the better choice for you?

Staying Single

You enjoy your freedom to take a spontaneous road trip, to stay out late drinking with your friends, to move as you please, to advance your career, and most importantly, to not have to take care of anyone besides yourself. Those are all very legitimate reasons to stay kid-less and carefree. Even if you find the right person to spend your life with, you do not have to settle down and have kids. It is possible to have a fulfilling, loving relationship without ever worrying about convertible cribs and college funds.

The beauty about waiting to have kids is that you can always change your mind (because you can’t un-birth a child, if afterward you decide you aren’t ready for the responsibility). Enjoy the ability to take your time on making big decisions. Yet if you never decide to have a child, you are no worse for the wear.

Starting a Family

There are as many misconceptions about having kids as there are about not having kids. It is true that it becomes harder to travel once you have children. However, it is possible. Just like it is possible to maintain your maintain your personality and hobbies and dreams. Upon giving birth, you do not automatically become a militant mommy: the kind of mother who gives up everything that made her who she was in the pre-baby years, who becomes obsessed with preschools and pull-ups.

Because more and more people are waiting until their mid- to late-30s to start a family, they are able to establish their careers and get some of their wilder urges out of the way long before the stroller-days arrive. Yet, even then, parents may find themselves limited by what they are able to do. The cancellation of a babysitter can throw your plans for a loop, regardless of its importance. Also, while many employers try to be “family-friendly,” having to take time off for doctor’s appointments and classroom parties (not to mention, limited time to travel for work) can inhibit your climb up the corporate ladder.

In conclusion, you may be thinking, “this wasn’t helpful at all. You didn’t say which is the best option for me.” Well, of course I didn’t. Choosing whether or not to have children is not something the Internet can help you with, silly. Rather, the purpose of this article is to show you that there are benefits and drawbacks to either lifestyle. In the end, all that matters is how you feel about your life, what you want to accomplish, and what your vision for the future looks like.

October 7, 2010

Keene is playing his next show....

and I'm not invited.

Okay, that's not totally true. He can't find a babysitter on such short notice. So, there you have it. I totally knew this day would come.

That being said, I'm only *kind of* bothered. He's playing two shows next week and neither of us would want to have a babysitter come over two times. So it makes sense, but it still bothers me a tad.

I told him he's not allowed to have fun without me there. And the only thing he can say to any other girls is, "My girlfriend is hotter than you."

Neckwarmers: Saving Crocheters from a Sad Life of Unfinished Projects

Neckwarmers are a very welcome trend for a crocheter like me. A crocheter who has lofty ambitions with little time. Or a crocheter who has all the time in the world, but gets bored halfway through a scarf. Also, baby blankets. Have you ever tried to make a baby blanket? Sure, it is easy enough, but after three hours of making row upon row of the same stitch, I'm placing a curse on whoever uses the finished blanket. (Don't worry, though, I clearly display a disclaimer with all of my cursed blankets, for liability issues.)

But where does the neckwarmer enter? As my personal crocheted savior, of course. I have about, hmm, three thousand half-finished (or half-started, does that make me a pessimist?) scarves and blankets. I was getting sick of the sad, little pieces laying around, reminding me of my astounding ability to not follow through on projects. So I have started turning them into decidedly un-cursed neckwarmers. As it turns out, this is a pretty easy transition.

Once upon a time, in a living room far, far away, I started a baby blanket. A striped blanket made up of dark blue and white. I don't remember for what baby I originally intended to give the blanket. Surely that baby is a teenager by now. A blanket-less, cold teenager.

Over the years, I would learn of another pregnant friend, coworker, or sister. I would think, "Oh, I know! I will finish this blanket and give it to ________!" Three rows in and that would turn into, "Oh, to hell with that! I'll just go to Target for a gift." Because of this can't-do attitude, I would like to apologize to any baby born between the years of 2006 until today.

Then the day came in which I thought, "Wait a tick, I can make this into a cowl!" An hour later, that bastard of a blanket was a funky and bold keeper of the neck warmth.

However, not all of the neckwarmers came from such sad beginnings. This purple strip of awesomeness was actually made (and more importantly, finished!) with the right intentions.

While taking this next photo, Kortney said, "Okay, close your mouth." I replied indignantly, "You can't ask a mouth-breather to close her mouth! Are you trying to kill me?" Then for dramatic flair, I sucked in a deep (mouthful of) breath, closed my mouth, and made muffled "help me" squeaks. Every day with me is like an adventure, I tell you.

Good news, folks! This panic-inducing accessory can be yours! Check out the Etsy listing for other awkward, closed-mouth photos.

October 6, 2010

I just had a spontaneous phone interview.

Quite out of the blue, I applied for a job earlier this week. I was drawn to it, because in addition to typical office stuff, it listed this:

- very computer savvy and quick to learn, including internet-based applications.
- supports training sessions -- produces participant guides, ships books & materials, invoices client, doe some light modification of the guides (some graphic/layout program capability - or ability to quickly learn)
- Editing marketing/email copy.
- Writing blog posts.
- Social media management.
- Video editing.
- Graphics and layout design.
- Create & submit Press Releases.
- Manage WordPress websites.
- Search Engine Optimization & Marketing
- Writing marketing copy.
- Any capabilities needed for online learning and development.
- Simple website changes.
- Instructional design.

So, I applied. Left out the typical professional cover letter and just wrote a casual email with my resume.

They wrote me back that afternoon, asking me to take a personality assessment (that's their business). I took it.

The lady who is leaving just called to talk with me. She said they were very interested in my assessment. We talked for about an hour about the job. She said she's going to check on the boss' availability, then get back to me. They want to meet me this week. She even offered to meet me halfway for coffee or something.

Oh, and this office is only ten miles from my house. Unlike this current job which is 3-4 cities away.

D. Scott Morris: The Passing of a Writer, a Teacher, and One Kick-Ass Musician

(Reposted from Colorado Music Buzz, October issue)

If you are a musician, you hope to gain the recognition of at least a few fans. It is the rare artist, however, that can inspire the appreciation of not just his many fans, but also of an entire musical community.

Guitarist D. Scott Morris formed the Alternative/Funk band, Ultrachronic, in 2004. While the band had its share of complications, Ultrachronic began to garner attention in the local scene. During this time, however, D. Scott was informed of an inflammatory myofibroblastic tumor residing in his chest, “the size of a cantaloupe,” he said in a blog post. It was removed successfully, despite such complications as a vocal cord being severed. Yet he kept on truckin’, performing shows, recording tracks despite the cancer his body battled.

In 2007, the members of Ultrachronic disbanded, with D. Scott, Kyle Ingram (vocals), and Dave Crotser (bass) moving on to a new project. Along with members of the recently defunct band, Boondok Saints – Matt Fink (drums) and Wayne Alden (guitar, vocals) – they formed The Flash Mob. This new band’s sounds contained facets of both Ultrachronic and Boondok Saints: a bit of Hip-Hop, a bit of Reggae, a bit of Funk, and a whole lot of Rock.

The Flash Mob has since become a focal point for Denver’s attentions, resulting in this year’s Westword Music Showcase award for Best Funk Band – an honor that the band members dedicated to their ailing-but-hardworking guitarist.

Just months later on September 11th, D. Scott Morris passed away. His bandmate, Dave, wrote on The Flash Mob’s website, “D. Scott put his heart and soul into the music he created. His guitar tone, haunting melodies, and face-melting guitar solos were always just as he wanted – he was a creative perfectionist, and had the unique ability to find just the right part, just the right riff, just the right tone, just the right arrangement. He had the ability to envision a song as a whole, more than the sum of its parts. These are rare talents indeed, as any musician will tell you.”

D. Scott used his knowledge and writing skills to teach others about the music industry through his honest-yet-supportive column, The D-List, featured each month in Colorado Music Buzz. On the side, he worked with Brice Hancock, as administrator for the Denver Music Board, a definitive forum for any local musician. By working with and for other bands, he helped to establish a strong sense of community, of helping one another out for the greater good. As Buzz writer Christian Blochinger once wrote of D. Scott, he was “a truly unique and genuine human being wrapped in a kick-ass guitarist.” Because of his efforts and hard work, the Denver music scene has benefited and will continue to do so in the years to come.

This whole tween phase is strange.

Kayden and I have a great relationship. He knows he can tell me anything and I won't get mad. He tells me stuff that is embarrassing, but he knows I won't laugh. And so on.

So, the latest thing is talk of running away. I don't think it's necessarily him having these thoughts. It sounds like he has a couple friends who bring it up in different ways.

One night, as we were reading at bedtime, he said, "I had thoughts of running away earlier, but I'm not thinking that now." I talked with him about it, trying to figure out why he would think that. Turns out, he had had a rough, hormonal day in which Maia was bugging him, he couldn't play with his friend at school, whatever. So I told him that ANYTIME he just wants privacy, he needs to let me know and I'd keep Maia from bothering him. He felt better and that was that.

Then last night, he told me that a friend of his "dared" him to run away. He said, "I don't know why he would say that." I didn't really understand the context of this, but talked with him anyways.

I explained that many times, kids are frustrated and upset, so running away seems like a good way to blow off steam. However, there are so many people out there that would snatch him up and hurt him. We would never know, because we would just think he had run away and would return soon.

I also told him about how, growing up, my mom would often throw me and my sister out of the house for days on end. No money, no food. I told him of the time when I had to stay at Denny's during the days and sleep there at night, because I had nowhere else to go. I explained how it may seem neat to be on your own, but really, it's just scary.

Soooooooo, I really don't get the impression that he is upset with his home-life or anything. He's generally happy, occasionally getting annoyed with Maia, but that's it. In fact, he told me last night, "Even though Maia and I fight and I'm still getting to know her, I still like her 99%."

However, I think at this age, kids are starting to learn the concept of "running away" as a solution for anything that upsets them.

October 4, 2010

What is Lenox Bone China?

(Reposted from Lenox-China.Net)

Bone china is one of the most intriguing and valuable collectibles in the world of pottery. It is stronger than any other form of porcelain, yet is thin enough that light can easily pass through it. With its alluring translucency, its hardness, and its natural ivory color, bone china is of extremely high quality—and oftentimes, is extremely expensive too.

First and foremost, people wonder: does it contain actual bone? The short answer is yes. In order to be considered as “bone china” in the United States, a piece must contain at least 25% bone (though most pieces are comprised of at least 50% bone). It was first created in a rough form in 1748 by Thomas Frye, who tested it at his porcelain factory near East London. With his factory being located near cattle farms and slaughterhouses, he was able to obtain the bones easily. Nevertheless, it was Josiah Spode who revolutionized the development process between 1789 and 1793—creating a formula which is still considered to be the basis for all bone china today.

In order to create the china, the bones must first be pulverized and burned, resulting in a fine ash. The ash is mixed with water, then with china clay, ball clay, flint, and feldspar. This resulting slurry is filtered to remove the air and all but 20% of the water; the leftover liquid substance is called “slip”. Once drained, the slurry is formed into chalky cylinders called “pugs”. The slip and the pugs are sliced into discs and placed in plaster molds, forming them into the shapes of plates, cups, and other fine china pieces. From there, each piece is scraped of excess clay (which is reclaimed and used in future batches), dried, removed from the mold, dried again, and smoothed. Next, each piece is inspected then inserted into a kiln, where it withstands a temperature of about 2,300 degrees (Fahrenheit). Lastly, the pieces are polished, heated, glazed, heated, decorated, and—you guessed it—heated a final time.

As is evident by the lengthy process, making even a single plate is labor-intensive, not to mention expensive, given that the basic ingredients are both domestic and international products. Because of this, up until the end of the twentieth century, bone china was almost exclusively produced in England. In 1989, however, Lenox China opened a factory in Kingston, North Carolina—the only bone china factory in the United States.

Over 200 years after Josiah Spode developed his key formula, the Spode factory in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire is still producing quality bone china today. Along with Lenox bone china, Spode’s china is considered highly collectible, taking such forms as vases, dinnerware, and figurines. Because of its valuable nature, most bone china produced today is registered and marked with an identifying pattern, brand, and/or date.

October 1, 2010

Oops, I Did It Again.

No explanation needed, I know.

Being All Hip-Hop and Stuff at Funky Buddha Lounge

Last night, we went to the Funky Buddha Lounge downtown. Yeah, on a Thursday. I tell you: we are cah-ray-zay. Keene was going to play his first hip-hop show--alongside his drummer-friend Mike--playing backup for the local rapper, Time.

I had never been to Funky Buddha, but heard it was a dance club where all the guys dress like Kanye West. Okey-dokey. Sounds good to me.

Kortney and me, getting our hip-hop on:

Okay, you got me. I don't know how to get a hip-hop on at all and I probably stuck out like a hippie's sore thumb.

While I had a positive first impression of the club right off the bat (swanky-yet-interesting furniture, lively music, intriguing murals on the walls), this was soured very quickly by the bartender. Now, I understand that bartenders are supposed to be jerks. That's like their shtick. The bartenders at my beloved Falling Rock don't have the best reputation for being nice guys (although I find them to be just dandy).

While ordering a drink, I couldn't hear what he was saying over the sound system blaring some autotuned garbage. "Excuse me? What?" He reached over, lifted the earflap to my hat, and shouted in my ear. As if the medium worsted weight yarn were the real perpetrator of our miscommunication.

Douche club bartender = 1, Kelli = 0.

Nevertheless, I consider myself the real winner in this scenario, because I'm the one that got to drink a Guinness right then and he didn't.

Kelli (and Kort) = 1,000,000. Douche club bartender = 0.001

Moving along, here's a little something for the ladies...

Or the gay men. Or just the connoisseurs of fine buttocks, regardless of gender.

(Knowing that Keene's family reads this blog, isn't it odd that I still openly objectify him on here? It would appear my personal brain-filter is not compatible with Blogger. For that, I apologize. I would probably be a much more tactful person on WordPress.)

The opener was Doctype, who produces tracks for Time and other members of the Dirty Lab, as well as creating his own music:

And here's where it gets colorful, and not even because I was playing around in Photoshop.

Then Time, AwareNess, Keene, and Mike took the stage. Their chemistry was clear and amazing. While I was a fan of Time's before, I was blown away by this performance. The addition of a bass and drums (and keys) seemed to energize him, make his style explode.

Towards the end of the show, the singer of Petals of Spain jumped onstage for an impromptu jam session.

But more importantly, I remembered to use the camera flash.

Around 1:30-freaking-a.m., we packed up the gear and headed home for a few hours of shut-eye before getting up for work. Just like true rock-stars.