September 20, 2011

Things I Forgot to Post About: Part Two

Here is the second post in an ongoing series of crap I forgot to mention months ago.

Def Leppard and Heart Concert

Okay, this was actually just a couple weeks ago. But summer was about two weeks (and a month) ago, so it totally counts.

I had received an emailed concert newsletter a long time ago in which I learned that Def Leppard and Heart were touring together and would be coming to Denver. Back then, I thought, "I'm definitely going to this." See, as a wee child in Utah, I was in love with both of these bands. In fact, my favorite song for a long time was "All I Want to do is Make Love to You," despite not knowing what it was about. So to see both of these bands in one night? Holy mother of crap.

However, as August drew closer, I realized I wouldn't be able to make it after all. What with packing for our move, getting the kids ready for the new school year, and trying to conserve money...it just wasn't going to happen.

That is, until an angel named Alison emailed me to ask if I wanted to accompany her. Despite all the aforementioned reasons why I shouldn't go, the universe wanted me to go and that always trumps logic and responsibility.

Well, the concert was fantastic. Really amazing. Both bands sounded as if they were still young lads (and lasses) of the '80s. Unfortunately, I discovered my smartphone's camera takes pictures like it was made in the '80s, so this doesn't convey the full awesomeness of the show.

Heart:

(If you click on this picture for the full view, you can kind of see Ann Wilson in the middle of the stage and Nancy Wilson off to the left.)




Def Leppard:


And then it was at this point that the concert blew my camera's mind:



(If you look closely, though, you will see Elliott on the huge screen at the left.)


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Kelli the Trapped-Animal Whisperer

So, I work out of my boss' house, right? I have an office in his basement with a large window well. When the weather began warming up, I discovered a job perk very quickly: wild animals that fall from the sky and need rescuing.

The first was a baby mouse. Well, I didn't so much rescue it as I nearly stepped on it. With my bare feet. Fortunately, I didn't. I noticed movement in the dark copy room and halted mid-step. I flipped on light and there was a tiny, twitchy mouse. It just sat there, jerking like I do when I've opted for a large latte instead of the usual medium. I got down on my hands and knees for a closer look. And there it stayed. Just as I was preparing to scoop it up with a piece of cardboard, a coworker picked it up with her bare hands (meep! Rabies!) and took it outside.

That same week, a bunny fell from the sky. Right into my window well. I heard a big thump, which I ignored. Then a second thump. I looked over to see a little pair of eyes looking right back at me.


After discussing a plan of action with my boss, I climbed into the window well where the bunny hoppedhoppedhopped all around the metal walls. I finally caught it and handed it through the window to my boss, who set it free.

The following week, another little bunny appeared in my window.


This time, before I could get into the window well, the bunny (which was even smaller and faster than the last one) found a hiding spot:


While the bunny was close enough to the surface that I could actually pet him, I couldn't get him out of there. So instead, I left grass and water in the well, hoping to get him next time he came out of hiding. For two days, we played games with me trying to snag him and him being too fast for me. On the third day, I mentioned him to my boss' personal assistant. She threw open the window, reached into his hidey-hole, roughly yanked him out by his tiny foot, carried him upstairs, and set him free.

I never knew bunnies could scream.

I learned my lesson that day: don't tell anyone about the falling animals in need, or they'll do the rescuing themselves. Dammit, they're MY falling animals in need...I should get to do the rescuing. I put in the time and effort to keep the little guy safe and my moment of rescue was ripped away from me...almost literally.

Shortly after, I got my chance with another bunny. This time, a very curious bunny:



Luckily, this one was kind of a fatty, so he couldn't hide in the same corner. I was able to climb out and rescue him, without anyone bogarting my moment. Hooray!

"But was it just bunnies and retarded mice?" you may be asking. No, there was also the bird who was apparently stunned and just chilling on the driveway, waiting for the end:


There was also a tightrope-walking spider, who pointedly did not need rescuing of any kind:


I tell you, folks, I racked up some serious karma points this summer.

Disclaimer: before anyone says, "Egads! Now that you've touched the bunny/bird, his mother will reject him! Killer!", know that that is not true. In fact, if you see a baby bird on the ground, chances are its mom was actually the pusher. If a baby bird is sick or just ugly (oh, I'm kidding...relax), the mother will choose to off it herself. If you put the bird back in the nest, the mother will again push it out. Not because it has human stink all over it, but because it's still sickly (or made even uglier by the inital fall).

In other cases, the bird may actually be of age to leave the nest and is practicing its flying (albeit quite badly). Either way, touching it won't ruin its life, though it could ruin yours if it has some kind of wild animal disease.

However, experts suggest leaving them alone anyways (unless they fall into your window well, I say). You could unintentionally tame them, hurt them, displace them from their homes, or any of the many things we humans do while trying to make the world a better place for cute little critters. So yeah, leave the handling to the experts.

Or me.

September 15, 2011

These things shouldn't happen when you're an adult.

On the way home from work tonight, Keene called to ask if I wanted to go out for dinner. He said that a new Pho restaurant had opened in our new neighborhood and we should check it out. I arrived at home, gathered up the fam, then we drove to the restaurant. Despite it being busy, we were seated immediately. We got our drinks and spring rolls. We showed the kids how to use chopsticks. We talked about work. We talked about school. We talked about the house and future projects.

Notice what we didn't do? We didn't eat. Because neither our food nor our waitress was anywhere to be found. After an hour, we dropped money to cover the drinks and rolls onto the table and left.

By this time, it was late and we were hungry. We didn't want to wait any longer, so our only option was fast food. But wait, I thought, isn't there a little Chinese buffet down the street? "Have you ever been there?" asked Keene. No, but I always drive by it.

"We even rode our bikes here once...there's a bar next door that we were going to check out one night," I said.

"You mean the bar that had the big seized sign on the front, due to tax evasion?"

"Yeah, that one."

So we walked in to the restaurant. And that's when life stopped making sense. To start, it wasn't a Chinese buffet at all. It was more like a Russian cafeteria. It was like the Twin Peaks of divey restaurants. It felt dark, though it was well-lit.

We walked across a long stretch of, well, emptiness to get to the counter. You know how in movies, the camera will move forward, while the scene moves backward, giving it a disorienting vibe? (Keene says that's called "zolley".) That's what this was like. The restaurant was huge, despite only having two counters and maybe ten tables. We looked through the glass case to find pans and dishes stacked next to and on top of each other, with food that was, well, of an indeterminable nature. One dish was filled with purple sludge. Some kind of casserole in another. Bread stuffed with...something in a third.

A woman appeared with tongs in hand and asked for our order. I pointed to a dish and said, "Uh, that?" "How much?" "I, uh, three?"

The kids looked pleadingly at us. Keene said, "Should we...try somewhere else?" But by then, we had already wasted so much time on not eating, I was determined to get the meal over with. "It'll be fine. It's a new experience."

Absolutely bewildered, we ordered: exactly three barbecued ribs, 1 breaded chicken thing, 2 pork chops with melted cheese on top, and a small bowl of potato and beef soup. Because there were no tables large enough for four people, we spread along one wall.


Years later, Kayden will describe this night to his therapist as the night he had to eat melted-cheese-chicken in a weird Twilighty-Zone restaurant.


But, um, hooray for exploring our neighborhood, right?

Scenes from Moving Weekend

We did a very grown-up thing and bought a house. A house with a basement, a garage, and neighbors who don't share our walls.

Meet Castle Greenskull:


So, the night we "took possession" of the house, we brought a couple carloads of boxes over.


We worked on putting together our new Ikea table:


We hid from Keene in the backyard, because we could:


Then we dragged our blankets, sleeping bags, and a Harry Potter movie into one room and had a slumber party.


The next morning, everyone woke up, excited to carry heavy boxes for hours on end:


And because pictures of us sweating and cursing and getting our shins all banged up isn't that entertaining, here are some more pics of the house:





Sunday afternoon, with our former apartment sparkling clean and totally empty, we dropped off the keys at the management office:


Then it was time to...holy crap...start cleaning and unpacking:


But luckily, Pooper joined in the effort, so it didn't take that long:




As of now, we're probably about 50-60% unpacked, so I'll post more pictures later.

And in closing, if you ever wondered what it looks like when I'm in the crocheting zone, here it is:


And if you never wondered, well, go back and stare at that pretty, new table.

September 12, 2011

Craftin' Carnival and Other Crafty News

So, with return of cooler weather, the crochet business has returned to being slightly insane.

On Wednesday night, I met with Samuel of the I Heart Denver store, which will be carrying Bitter o'Clock hats for the season. Let me tell you: if you live in Colorado or any of the surrounding states, you must check out this store. It's beautiful. The kind of beautiful that makes you not want to buy anything, because you'll mess it up. Except that you want to buy everything, so then you struggle internally until you leave, and then you regret not buying anything, so then you make plans to go back as soon as possible.

Oh wait, what? Yeah, so now my hats are right in the mix of things:


(Photo is courtesy of I Heart Denver)

I'm really excited to be included in such a cool shop.

However, after leaving, I realized that, "Ruh roh! I just dropped off my entire stock of animal hats and flapper hats...and I have a craft show in a few days." So over the next three days, I crocheted and crocheted to build the stock back up.

On Saturday, I did a test run of the booth in our still-covered-in-boxes living room. If you squint, you can spot several brand new hats, as well as the Bitter o'Catalog and signs I created over the last week.


So, Sunday was the day of Craftin' Carnival. The event was tons of fun. It had a cotton candy machine, a cupcake truck outside, and some of the most amazing artisans selling their goods.

For example, Mama Zshanna and her prints:


Batty Amanda and her purses:


I'm so in love with this bag. You can't tell from the picture, but it has a super long burlap-type strap, so it can be worn as a messenger bag. I don't even use a purse, but apparently, that's because I've never found one I loved so much. Guess who carries a purse now?

I was also really lucky to have Megan from Wild Paper Flowers right across the walkway from my booth. She sells gorgeous paper flower bouquets:


On a side note, she is also extrememly sweet and was so much fun to talk to all day.

As for me, I've realized this weekend that--as I suspected--high school craft fairs really do not attract my target customers. Hip craft fairs where the girls have asymmetrical hair and tattooed sleeves and the guys have tight jeans and mustaches...those are where my hats fit in.


(This pic was taken at the end of the day, after I realized I never got a picture, so excuse the basically wrecked booth.)

For the last bit of excitingly crafty news, I'll be participating in Denver Handmade Alliance's Art by Craft Market show on October 9th. Details to follow, purchase not necessary, void where prohibited.