Well, here we are. End of October 2018. TEN YEARS AGO was the best day of my life. Walking through that little, creepy chapel filled with bones was just way too cool.
OH WAIT--I mean, getting married in a gorgeous Gothic church in Prague surrounded by family and friends, with a boat ride and dinner in a medieval wine cellar was just way too cool. :D
Look at how young we look, damn!
Anyway, we did take a Hallowversary trip this year, but I have too many other things to tell you about that happened in August, September, and the first half of October, so you'll have to wait until next month to hear about that! But let's just say that several bucket list items got checked off, woo hoo!
So, we were home for two whole months without travel. Do you think I sat around watching TV? Hell no! Before I dive into that, let me show you some photos of the massive hail storm/potential tornado we had at the end of July. I was in Rochester with family and JC was so concerned that he actually took the cats and went into the basement! Hence why this was probably a near-tornado. Good thing we didn't have our new roof yet! But our plants and trees got shredded. They recovered somewhat in the next few months, but not fully.
Unfortunately, no gnome casualties occurred.
Just to remind you, this is not January, this is JULY.
Moving on...our first event in August was meeting for dinner with our friends Lisa and Kent and their 5th foreign exchange student who arrived a week or so before this. Oscar is from Sweden. At the same time, their 1st student, Ayumu from Japan, came back to the States to visit. Of course, we went for Mexican food! Every student they've had has fallen in love with Mexican food!
Next were two concerts: Erasure, an 80s pop band who were amazing at the opera house:
And Marilyn Manson and Rob Zombie at the Pepsi Center. Here's Marilyn, whose set was actually really good and diverse.
And here's Zombie. His set and videos were quite impressive, as were the random massive two-story creatures that walked across the stage now and then. He put on a fantastic show.
Lastly, we took a short trip to the Wild Animal Sanctuary with our nephew Colton who was visiting for the summer. We only got about halfway through the place when it began raining sideways and we were freezing. The animals didn't exactly care, so I was able to get a few good images of some of them.
On Labor Day, I got to do two new things: see my friends from college who moved to CO from MD in late July for the first time since they moved, and go to the Taste of Colorado! That is an event that is held in Civic Park in downtown Denver that includes activities for kids, free concerts, vendors and lots of local food and drink stands. It was a perfect summer day to be outside. We got to see Everclear, have dinner together, and welcome the gang to Colorado life!
But first, weird animal heads in Civic Park.
Lisa and I!
Then, of course, there were more concerts. We saw PIG open up for someone else that we didn't stay for. Then there was the Nine Inch Nails show. NIN came out of retirement and instead of selling tickets to their summer tour online like all modern bands do, they decided to kick it old skool back in March and make their fans stand outside in lines to buy tickets at an actual location. I couldn't go (thankfully), but the gals I went to the show with, Allison and Cynthia, stood in line outside in the cold for like 10 HOURS to get tickets. So we already were in a love-hate relationship with Trent, the lead singer/creator of the band.
They played Red Rocks, the best venue in the world, two nights, Tuesday and Wednesday. We only bought tickets for Wednesday because they were $125 each, ouch. On Tuesday, it was a super warm, sunny day. On Wednesday, we had a drop in temperatures and massive, random thunderstorms. One came through at 5:30 at night, but in typical Colorado fashion, it comes in quickly, dumps a ton of rain for some flash flooding, and then leaves in less than 30 minutes.
Well, Trent and company were so scared of another rainstorm that unbeknownst to us, they rearranged the whole evening and chopped stuff out. We arrived at 7pm when the show was supposed to start to hear the 2nd band playing instead of the opener. They chopped the opener out entirely, cut the 2nd band's set short, and NIN came on stage at 8:30 and was OUT the door at 9:45pm. They even closed the merch booth while the show was happening so none of us got any swag.
Now, the set itself was AMAZING and had I known that A) The weather was going to EFF us over, B) The show was going to be this good, and C) He was going to play entirely different songs each night, I would have paid to go on Tuesday as well. While all of us old people were thrilled over the show ending so early, we felt jipped. All we could say the whole time was EFFING TRENT.
In addition to those two shows, I went to see an amazing play called Vietgone. It's about two Vietnamese refugees who met in a relocation camp in Arkansas during the Vietnam war who fell in love. It was gut-wrenching and gave me a completely different perspective on that conflict. I encourage everyone to go see it because it will change your mind about that war and what the general American thoughts are about our participation in it.
Lastly, I finally got a chance to drive down to see Lisa and Mike's house (the peeps who moved to CO) and Lisa and I had a paint and sip girls night out! They live in Parker, which is at least an hour from me on the other side of Denver so it's no small feat to get to them. Downtown Parker has a place that does these painting events, so we signed up and I gave acrylic painting a shot! I had zero confidence in my ability to make something that didn't look like a kindergarten drawing, but the instructor was great and really took the fear out of it.
I think it turned out MUCH better than I expected, and I love that our paintings are so different! Another new thing I did this year!
Days of our (Past) Lives
OK so here is another cool thing I did in September: I took a class on Past Life Regression. The woman who taught the class is big into spirituality and the Quaker belief system and basically led us into a series of meditative states in which one is supposed to see their past lives. The concept is that our souls don't have beginnings and ends; there is no heaven or hell. Rather, just like all other energies and entities, we recycle. So our souls are infinite and pass from one life to another so that we learn lessons and ultimately achieve enlightenment. It's very similar to the Buddhist teachings.
Anyway, I've been fascinated with this concept since high school so I had to try it for myself. We did a total of 4 meditative sessions and I SAW DIFFERENT THINGS IN EACH ONE.
Do with this what you will. It's what I experienced and that's all I can say! I do plan on doing more sessions with the teacher, though, so stay tuned!
OK here's something almost equally as weird. There is a famous restaurant in Denver called Casa Bonita. It's a legend around here and was so loved by the creators of South Park that a whole episode was done around it. I've known of it since I moved here almost 13 years ago but have never been. Why? Because JC REFUSES to take me there. Why? Because according to legend, the food is GOD AWFUL.
Well, you know me. I must experience it for myself!! And I finally found a brave soul to go with me--our friend Bobbie who moved back to Colorado this year. Her husband also is from Colorado and refuses to go, so the two of us braved it alone! We went for lunch on a Wednesday to avoid the children. It was like a ghost town in there. We got a good seat in front of the waterfall and cliffs (yes, you read that right) so we could see the cliff diving shows. Here's the cliff diver climbing up the rocks for another dive.
The architecture around the place is modeled after actual Mexican locations.
Other than the dragon, of course.
There are hundreds and hundreds of tables in this place. This is a whole underground mine-themed area you can eat in.
There are a variety of shows that take place on that cliff, plus arcade games, a store, and a cave with creepy animated monsters that pop out at you. It's an EXPERIENCE.
Here's a video showing the place. It's a great explanation of the history and building and shows some of the South Park episode about it. Just hit me up if you want to go--I would return! I actually did not think the food was bad at all and I am happy to report that I did not get sick (no, seriously, JC was genuinely concerned about that!). The bonus is that there's a little red flag on a pole on each table that you raise to get unlimited sopapillas which were VERY good!
The last thing I did in September was attend the Scrapbook Expo in Denver. I usually just go on Saturday to shop, but this year my friend Lisa and I went to crop all day Friday and Saturday. I got a lot of cute cards made, got to shop a bit, won a prize and took an adorable card class. We also sat with two really nice sisters who we exchanged info with, and we got to crop with one of them in October!
I also got a lot of scrapbooking done and am the most caught-up I've ever been. I'm done scrapping everything I've done through June of this year! So check out my 2018 album before it disappears (I have plans...).
OK this has officially been the busiest month of my LIFE. Before our Hallowversary trip I had EIGHT events to attend plus two scrapbooking days. Here's what we did.
We saw Mel Brooks live. Yes, THE Mel Brooks, famous actor and director. First we were treated to a full, uncut screening of "Blazing Saddles." Then Mel came on stage and talked about all sorts of topics and answered audience questions for an hour. He told stories from his childhood, explained some of the casting behind the movie, talked about other Hollywood moments, and told us about his first acting gig. It was an incredible honor to be in the same room as him, and at 92 years old he's still funny as hell.
I went to see one of my favorite bands, The Birthday Massacre, with my friend Heather. There were WAY too many opening bands (three!) and it was way too damn loud in there, but one of the openers called Ghostfeeder was actually quite good.
Here's the merry Massacre group. LOVE!
I went to a musical by myself that was ground-breaking: Dear Evan Hansen. It's a very modern musical about present-day struggles and issues. If anyone else sees it, let me know what you think of the end. I didn't love it. The first half of the show was INCREDIBLE and then the second half disappointed me.
Our first Avalanche hockey game against the Calgary Flames. We missed the home opener because of Birthday Massacre, so mid-October was our first one. They lost, boo.
Next up was Henry Rollins. I will always, always go see that man speak. I've bought several of his books and I devour them. He was the lead singer of a punk band back in the 80s, had his own alternative band in the 90s, and now is a speaker, writer, podcaster and has done many TV series and documentaries. He does speaking tours every few years and I've seen him like 4 times now. Heather went with me and this time it was a Travel Slideshow. He travels to really exotic places that most people don't go to and takes amazing photos. I'll never get to these places so it's fascinating to me both to learn about the places, peoples and cultures, and to hear his experiences.
This was the funniest part of the show. In India, he ran across a street vendor wearing one of his 80s punk rock band t-shirts. He found out that a vendor nearby sells them, with a completely different famous rock star's face on the back!
And here he is ranting on about how penguins are filthy and disgusting creatures in Antarctica.
OK, next up was Neil deGrasse Tyson, the famous and hilarious astrophysicist. He was touring the country speaking about science in movies and it was genius. He went through a variety of science topics, like the sun, gravity, aliens, thermodynamics, stars, etc., and showed clips from shows, movies and beer commercials (amazingly there are a lot of beer commercials that are science-related) and explained how truthy or false they were. He was really really funny and explained concepts in a way that even I could understand them. The movies ranged from Armageddon to Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, and very few actually got science right.
And FINALLY, I dragged Heather to yet another concert, She Wants Revenge. The band consists of two quiet DJs whose music is dark and brooding. I love their music and they are fascinating to watch live because they are very humble. They set up their own gear, just walk out on stage, perform, and then don't even bother walking off the stage when they're done--they just start tearing everything down. I met them a few years ago on their last tour and they were super quiet and reserved.
So, yeah. Nothing going on.
HAPPY TEN-YEAR HALLOWVERSARY BABE!
Album - 2017