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Archive for the ‘Denver happenings’ Category

The Book Sale

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HorseWhat I got at the Denver Public Library used book sale

The Denver Public Library’s central branch is almost fortress-like, or at least it seems that way when you’re walking around it with a toddler, trying to figure out how to get in. You pass a lot of empty windows of rooms where they store those anti-pigeon spikes people put on buildings. It’s embarrassing that I haven’t been to the main library before now. We entered on the east side of the building and walked around, past the children’s section, past the bathrooms and elevators but no stairs, but couldn’t find the book sale, which I thought was in the basement, wherever that is. I am dudelike in my unwillingness to ask for directions, so I figured we’d go outside, walk around the building, and see what happens.

A dude sitting on a bench looks at me and says, “Excuse me,” and I’m all oh shit, because any time a dude talks to me outside it’s going to be one of two things, neither of which I want to deal with while I’m escorting a short-fused child to a place he doesn’t want to go (“I don’t like the book sale. The book sale doesn’t like me.”):

If you wanna go and get high wit me smoke an L in the back of the Benzie oh why must i feel this way hey must be the money.


Hey, you got any change?

Turns out he just wanted to know if story time was over. When I said I didn’t know, we were just looking for the book sale, he gave me exquisitely detailed and accurate directions and, thus, reassured me that not every stranger who talks to you on the street does it just because he wants something from you. Soren and I found our way into the basement (enter on the west side) and were met with the kind of chaos you find any time something awesome is on sale for super cheap. There were tables and tables with books and books, and boxes of books, and strollers piled high with hundreds of books already snapped up by the aggressive moms. Do you know about the aggressive moms? They’re the ones who hang out by the water feature at the Mordecai Children’s Garden and get to the book sale early and pile their boxes with shit you’ve heard of like Goodnight Moon. I am not an aggressive mom and never will be.

My plan was twofold: books for Soren and books about anything vaguely homesteading-esque. We hit up the children’s books first, where I grabbed things about dogs and gardens. A woman across from us handed me a somewhat gigantic book — A City Through Time — which I added to my pile. She also handed me a book of Disney stories, which I put back once she’d moved on and couldn’t see.

We checked out (as best we could, me being non-aggressive and all) cookbooks (I got a vegetable cookbook from 1976!), sports (A Few Seconds of Panic, which I’ve been wanting to read forever!), and then did a cursory glance over literature and religion (lots of Jesus). This was harder than it sounds because it was like the surface of the sun in there and I was wearing a faux leather jacket (that shit don’t breathe) and Soren was not having it. He complained. He whined. He sat on the ground and made grumpy faces. He splayed out on the floor like a turquoise-jacketed landmine. Is 3 a little old for this shit? I don’t know. It’s not that I find these displays embarrassing — it’s that they’re so tedious. Sometimes raising a child is boring. When Soren is in the throes of a temper tantrumy thing, I just want to poke him and be all, dude, it’s not that bad let’s go home and eat some beans or go to sleep or whatever. It doesn’t work, though. The only thing that works sometimes is when I make him hold my hand, look me in the eye, and take deep breaths. I don’t remember where or why I came up with that (I’m sure someone has already written a book on the subject, the same way someone has already invented Supreme Court Justice trading cards, which was my “brilliant” idea the other day), but it kind of helps. There have even been a few times where he’s been upset and then on his own starts taking deep breaths to calm down. That kind of blew my mind the first time he did it.

I finally made it to my favorite section, home and garden. I found some cool stuff and then the best thing ever happened. I found a book called Raising Chickens. I was all !!!!!! Chickens and I are meant to be. I said, “Soren! There’s a book about chickens!” and for a second I felt a little aggro-mom as I plucked it from the table. I guess we all have it in us. “Oh man,” this bespectacled, vaguely hippie-looking bearded guy next to us said, “I can’t believe you got the chickens book. I totally wanted that one!” We discussed the awesomeness of the chicken book for a while and a dude working the sale even said, “Yeah, that’s pretty much the Bible of chickens.” Of course everybody was kidding, which made the whole interaction even more awesome. It turns out that vaguely hippie dude is currently in the process of raising bunnies. I didn’t ask more about this, because what do you do when raising bunnies? Do you really keep them as pets forever? I don’t want to know. Watching Roger & Me when I was high and in college was one of the most traumatic experiences of my life.

Soon after this Soren looked at my pile of books and said, emphatically, “That’s ENOUGH mommy.” And I was all yeah, okay, because I’m done dealing with your grump ass and I have no idea how much this is going to cost. It turned out I got 12 books (a remarkably tiny haul, judging from everyone else we saw) for $15, which is not bad at all.

Apparently they add books every day, so I think I’m going back, maybe without Soren, to find more hippie and children’s books. Cheap, used books are the best.

In other news, my frames arrived today, fresh from Germany. I was pretty nervous about ordering them, because according to the internet, there has never been a woman to wear the Cazal 623 — it’s all Rick Ross and Sammy Davis, Jr. and 80s rappers and stuff. Remarkably, they have received the stamp of approval from Ben (“I think you can pull these off.”) (“Hey, when you don’t want those any more can I have them?”) and will be going to my glasses people for lenses. I can’t wait to wear them.
Cazal 623

Written by Tracy

December 6th, 2012 at 7:40 pm

More Stuff I Made

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To catch you up on what I’ve been making:

On 10/10, I made pizza dough. I meant to make an actual pizza but got distracted with other stuff like making vet appointments for our 900 dogs. (Protip: If you have a dog with autoimmune issues, watch out for allergic reactions to vaccines. Sadie’s face swelled up like a little dog balloon hours after she got vaccinated. She’s fine but it was kind of nuts.)

On 10/12, I made homemade air freshener, following these instructions (although I just used a hammer and nail to poke holes in the top of the lid instead of replacing it with card stock and used way more essential oil).

homemade air freshener

On 10/13, I went to beer fest and made a list of what I had to drink. That required dedication and goes something like this:

  • Stone Brewing Co. Enjoy By 11/09/12 IPA (Amazing, available only in CO and Ohio for a very limited time.)
  • Cigar City Jai Alai IPA
  • Alaskan Smoked Porter (So good.)
  • Short’s Brewing Co. Beard of Zeus
  • Short’s Brewing Co. Peaches ‘n’ Creme
  • Short’s Brewing Co. Bludgeon Yer Spruce (Not as good as last year’s spruce.)
  • Dad and Dudes Breweria Dank IPA (This does qualify as dank. Very good.)
  • Denver Beer Co. Pueblo Chili Beer
  • Spring House Brewing Co. Planet Bean Coffee Stout
  • Redwood Brewing Co. Cinnamon IPA (Weird.)
  • Sierra Nevada Estate Homegrown Ale
  • Odd Side Ales Derelicte Pineapple IPA (Very weird and very sweet.)
  • Fat Heads Brewery Hop JuJu Imperial IPA
  • River North Brewery Hello, Darkness
  • Green Flash Imperial IPA (x2) (Tied with Gubna/G’Knight for best beer of all time.)
  • Hoppin’ Frog Brewing Co. Frog’s Hollow Double Pumpkin Ale (Good.)
  • Oskar Blues Gubna (Yum.)
  • Moylan’s Brewing Co. HOP CRAIC XXXXIPA (I’m pretty sure I really liked this one.)
  • Pumphouse Brewery Hooligan Double IPA
  • Wynkoop Brewing Co. Colorojo
  • Lumberyard Brewing Co. Lumberyard Big Rapid Red
  • Marble Brewery Imperial Red
  • Port Brewing Co. Hop 15
  • Bell’s Two Hearted Ale (x2) (Please sell this in Colorado.)
  • Mountain Sun Vagabond IPA
  • Breckenridge 471
  • Tap It Brewing Co. IPA (gold winner) (Very good.)

On 10/14 (and this is by far the most exciting thing I’m telling you about today) I made what might be the best bread I’ve ever had and seitan pepperoni. Holy crap.

homemade pepperoni seitan

For the bread, I used this recipe, put all ingredients in the bread machine on the “dough” setting, and then transferred the dough to a loaf pan and baked at 350 for 30 minutes.  I had to add extra flour because the dough was super sticky at first, but that happens all the time. This bread is amazing (super doughy) and everybody loved it.

For the seitan pepperoni, I used this recipe. I know I’ve already said “holy crap,” but holy crap. It is SO easy and SO good and really tastes like pepperoni (or at least what I remember of pepperoni because I haven’t eaten meat in almost 20 years). I followed the recipe exactly and as far as the optional stuff goes, I used tahini instead of cashew butter because that’s what we had and ketchup instead of tomato sauce and omitted the agave nectar. The only adjustments I’d make in the future are first, more salt (lots more salt) and second, I’d add some oil. And that’s it. If you like seitan and/or pepperoni, make this.

Now that I know how to make seitan in baked/log form, which is much easier and more pleasant than boiling it, I feel like I can do anything. I could adjust the seasonings and make something breakfast-sausage-esque. Or turkey-oriented with thyme and sage. Or chorizo-esque. So many possibilities!

Written by Tracy

October 15th, 2012 at 2:54 pm

The thing about beer fest

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is that it takes up two days: one day of beer fest and then one day to recover.

The annual

The good news is we’ve pretty much recovered. Yay beer fest!

Also, this just in: GABF tweeted that the 2013 Great American Beer Festival will be October 10-12. Yay!

Written by Tracy

October 14th, 2012 at 9:47 pm

Posted in and life,Beer,Denver happenings

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What I Made: The Last Few Days

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Sometimes you’re so busy doing shit you don’t have time to tell the internet about all the shit you’ve been doing.

hemp bracelet for babies

On Thursday, I made a hemp bracelet for babies. This wasn’t intentional. My plan was to make a Shamballa bracelet, but I realized making a Shamballa bracelet was above my skill set when the tutorial was all, “If you know how to make a square knot, you’ll fly right through this part!” And I was all whoa puppies WTF is a square knot? So I got out some hemp cord and practiced making square knots, which really aren’t that bad and go like this:

  • left working strand over core strand; right working strand over left, under core, and through the loop; pull tight (holding the core strand with your teeth if you’re me and can’t figure out a better way to do it)
  • right working strand over core strand; left working strand over right, under core, and through the loop; pull tight.

Knot knowing what I was doing (haha OMG shut up), my hemp cord wasn’t long enough and I ended up with a bracelet that is too tight even for Soren. The good news is I learned to make the hell out of some square knots.


On Friday, after thinking it would never happen (I ordered a lemon yellow ice cream maker that was about to ship then it didn’t ship then it was going to ship and then it didn’t and then I was all boy, wolf, and got the turquoise one instead), I made homemade ice cream. I used the “Simple Vanilla Ice Cream” recipe from the book that came with the ice cream maker. It’s just heavy cream (I used “heaving whipping cream”), whole milk, sugar, and pure vanilla extract. Homemade ice cream is all I dreamed it would be and more. It’s so easy and so delicious and I can’t believe I didn’t start making my own ice cream earlier in life. It’s fun, too.

Okkervil River.

On Saturday, I started drinking in the afternoon and didn’t make anything. Actually wait, I did make something. I made Soren a t-shirt at the Cultivate Festival while he was super busy screaming, rending garments, wailing, and throwing himself to the ground in a fit of outrage because . . . his hands were cold and he was grumpy as hell.

I Instagrammed the Okkervil River show and then died of hipster overload.

DIY shamballa bracelet
Today, I made chocolate ice cream (holy shit), homemade bread without using the bread maker (dense), and that goddamn Shamballa bracelet. Let me tell you, if the instructions for making something involve burning and gluing string or cord of some sort, I want no part of it. My square-knot expertise aside, this was not a fun project for me and my sliding knot thing or whatever they call what in theory allows you to adjust the bracelet is a mess. Also, don’t believe what they tell you — 8mm hematite beads don’t fit on Chinese knotting cord, so the beads on the ends of my bracelet were borrowed from Soren because I couldn’t find anything else that fit on the damn cord. Ugh.

This 30 days of making stuff project is going to make me fat and bejeweled.

Written by Tracy

October 7th, 2012 at 9:10 pm

Tour de Fat

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If you have the chance to go to New Belgium’s Tour de Fat (more info. here — upcoming dates in LA, San Francisco, San Diego, Tempe, and Austin) do it. (Protip: Wear a costume or at the very least a sparkly dress and/or cowboy boots.) Although we missed the bike parade on Sunday because of soccer (or in our case, not soccer), it was still totally awesome. There’s food, good beer, music, entertainment, a little of everything. I’m a big fan of any event where you bring your kid, sit outside, and drink beer, especially when you can bike there.

This child is supposed to be on the soccer field.
Tour de Fat
Tour de Fat
Tour de Fat

Written by Tracy

September 10th, 2012 at 9:39 am

Happy Father’s Day

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(Sorry about the random dudelegs in the background.)

We celebrated Father’s Day by going to the gay pride parade in the morning (protip: it’s awesome to watch the parade get started at Cheeseman Park, because everybody is fresh and happy and it’s not crowded and you can sit in the shade) and then, as usual, having pizza at City Park Jazz (protip: don’t sit by a group of shirtless dudes if at all possible). (Protip: stop saying “protip.”)

Hope your Father’s Day was awesome, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Written by Tracy

June 18th, 2012 at 9:42 am

Posted in and life,Denver,Denver happenings

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Chihuahua Fail

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accessorizing for the Chihuahua racesI was so, so, so excited about going to the Chihuahua races today. Did you know about the Chihuahua races? Well, they exist. It’s a thing at Cinco de Mayo, which is your typical street fair kind of thing (think Taste of Chicago but less hot, crowded, expensive, and annoying). I’m not always into your typical street fair kind of thing (I always want to be, but then when I think about it, I’m all, well, there’s overpriced food that probably isn’t that good, average to below average beer, porta potties, and a bunch of shit you’re not actually going to buy), but when I heard about the Chihuahua races, I was all in for Cinco de Mayo this year.

We busted our asses to get there on time today and got there to find . . .  well, a bunch of people standing around what I presume were the Chihuahua races but, not being 6’7″, I couldn’t see a damn thing but the backs of people’s heads. So that was a bummer. So we met up with some pals and had an average beer and, surprisingly, come cheap food that wasn’t bad at all (including vegetarian red chili, which I didn’t know was a thing but was freaking awesome). Then the clouds came in and it got cold as hell and I had to bike home while having to pee (I thought it wasn’t that urgent but, when biking home in the biting cold wind, realized it was). So that was that.

The good news is that the Chihuahua races presented the opportunity for the inaugural wearing of my fancy new hat. The Kentucky Derby, which I object to on moral grounds because I don’t believe horse racing to be completely lacking in animal cruelty, always makes me want to wear a fancy hat and, I don’t know, go around being fancy. I don’t really have the opportunity go around being fancy, so sometimes I’ll take advantage of something where it might be marginally acceptable to go around being sort of fancy. So I wore my hat to the Chihuahua races, which are kind of like the Kentucky Derby only with more beer and fewer rich people, and it wasn’t, as they say, no thing.

Next year, I will get to the Chihuahua races very, very early so I can get a spot in the front row. Or I’ll ask Javale McGee to come with so I can sit on his shoulders. Also we are totally bringing Sadie, who can pass as a Chihuahua if you’re drunk and don’t know about min pins.

Written by Tracy

May 6th, 2012 at 9:04 pm

Posted in and life,Denver,Denver happenings

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