Thursday, December 22, 2011

Tebow Delivers Another Christmas Miracle!

Now, anyone who knows me knows I'm not a religious man. In fact, kind of the opposite. However, with the inspiring success of Tim Tebow here in Denver, I have started saying my nightly prayers again. All logic and reason are lost to me when I try to account for his amazing run. Even when he loses to the Patriots, somehow the Raiders collapse in the fourth quarter to keep the Broncos securely in first place.

Last night as I settled in for slumber on the the last day of Fall, I knelt to the south, toward the Bronco's Dove Valley practice facility and asked Tebow to please deliver us a white Christmas.

Imagine my surprise when I woke up on the first day of Winter and saw this scene outside.

Sweet baby Tebow delivered another last minute miracle. With eight inches of fresh snow and no warming trend in sight, I think this win is secured and now we just have to run out the clock.

I hurried inside to wake up the family and put them to work.

Harper shoveling the sidewalk.
Sophia and Ains digging a hole.

Amanda building Fort Squidward.
It's still snowing hard now at 11:30 and I think we can reasonably expect 10 to 12 inches. So, Merry Christmas to all of you and don't forget the reason for the season. Timmy bless us, every one!

Monday, December 12, 2011

When life throws you lemons...go ice skating!

Our holiday adventures have begun during my family's FAVORITE time of year.  And I mean FAVORITE.  We get our tree as early as possible, we put up as many lights as our circuits hold, our house inside would give the Grinch hives, we read Christmas stories, watch Christmas movies, and make Christmas food - sometimes at the same time.

So when life has thrown us a few curve balls lately I'm very glad it all happened during our FAVORITE time of year.  It's just easier to handle when we all have smiles from ear to ear.

So what have we been up to...well here are some videos for your viewing pleasure!

After the lighting of Union Station there was a delightful Handbell chorus!

video

We have fallen head over skate for ice skating...in fact that is what Ainslee wants santa to bring her.  This is a video of Kurt doing a "hockey slide."  Don't blink for this one.  Also, someone in the background has a really annoying laugh.

video

We have also attended school concerts and Winter Faires...Harp played his Bass and Clarinet and Ainslee sang with her class.

video


Much to do, so little time...

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving at age 34 and age 20.

This was the first Thanksgiving in ten years I have not been with my or Kurt's family.  Not to mention the first in a few years we haven't had our annual Friend's Thanksgiving.  At first I was so depressed and melancholy I was having a hard time getting excited about the days off, the feast I had in store, and celebrating the best Holiday of the year (second only to Arbor Day).  I just couldn't get past the fact I would not be partaking of my friend's Sam's famous Chex Mix, my Mom's pies, or participating in the Madden Family Gala Talent Show (and I had worked up such an amazing knife throwing act).
The kids and I had the entire week off, so I had a lot of time to think about what I was missing. 



I was also remembering the first Thanksgiving I had as a married woman in Austin, Texas.  We had moved to Texas with our first born Aaron (he's actually one of our best friends and a lovely gentleman) days after getting married.  It was such an amazing adventure.  Traveling in an old bakery truck across the Western US for two weeks, sleeping in swap meet parking lots, running out of gas, told by the police to get out of Yellowstone, and watching our cat Slick walk around on his leash.  Yes, a journey that everyone takes sometime in their life.
I will never forget this trip and the time I spent with my two best friends.  

When we got to Austin we headed to an RV park, where the owner charged us only $5 a night (because did I mention it was just an old Bakery Truck).  Aaron slept outside on a huge pillow, our TV was hooked up to a pole and placed classily on the ice chest, and our spot was backed up to the parking lot of a pretty nice Italian place where people routinely gasped in disgust at our set up.  Yes we were living the good life.  We couldn't get into an apartment for two weeks.  Henceforth we rode the city buses all day long to enjoy the air conditioning, much needed tip to surviving the heat of Texas in August. 

We finally got our apartment in the hoity toity Sea Breeze complex that was placed right in front of a great little spot we called the "Drug House" and no where near a Sea.  The "Drug House" was a rundown home where people went in with TVs and came out hours later empty handed, with glazed eyes and singing versions of Bob Dylan songs.  (Mom, don't worry it was similar to Church).

We all got jobs:  Kurt - 7-Eleven, Aaron - Pizza delivery, Amanda - Drive through dry cleaning.  
It's amazing how little money we survived on.  We found furniture by dumpsters or garage sales, ate a lot of free pizza from Aaron's job, and swam in the pool.
Austin was a great city...it really was...the library was beautiful, the buses were free if going downtown, the people very friendly, food was amazing, and the music and movie scene was everything 3 twenty year olds could ever want.  We also made some great friends (especially after I got a job upgrade to baker at a Kosher Deli).

Months passed and we settled in to a life I now realize was extremely care free.  We built a distinguished record collection, and played a ton of Atari.
The holidays came upon us and I soon realized that I am unnaturally connected to my family.  I missed them so much I could hardly get up in the morning.  I had my two dearest friends with me, not to mention a husband I adored, yet I was so young.  I had never lived 5 minutes away from my mom and dad or my wonderful, wonderful, sweet baby brothers.  God I missed them.  I hadn't realized that my crazy, loud, much too talented brothers and sisters were such a part of me and who I was.  The holidays were so lonesome.  We invited a down on their luck family to a Christmas dinner.  I'm not even sure what I cooked.  We exchanged gifts...

We moved back to Portland 4 months later.

I've grown up a lot since then.  I am still connected to my family in ways most people can't understand.  I need them in my life...they are still a part of me and who I am.  Yet, I'm more me now.  I'm also a part of my own family.  I have two of the best kids in the world, and a husband that is my best friend and whom I adore.  So this holiday season it wasn't so bad being so far away...we cooked an amazing meal, truly epic, we played board games, we went ice skating, watched the Muppet movie, and just sat and enjoyed each other.

So I probably won't move back to the West Coast in 4 months this time.  We will make sure to fly home for Thanksgiving next year guaranteed.  I have my family and friends with me all the time in my laugh, in my songs, in my head, in my heart.  



But my little family now is my heart and soul, and the adventures have just begun.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Wet n Wild at a Colorado Hot Springs

Oh, Colorado, where have you been all my life.  Every time we jump in the car for an adventure we end up at something so fantabulous, so unexpected, so fun I have to blog it.  Which is the American thing to do.

This was such the case when we happened upon Hot Sulphur Springs.  I woke up Saturday wanting to hike somewhere, see some nature, get us all away from our technology and jobs (Kurt has been working so much and so hard-which a proper sugar daddy should be doing).  Anyway, we did some research and decided to head on up the mountain towards Estes Park and the Hanging Lakes.  However, we hit a wall of cars right off...stop and go traffic.  So we checked our GPS for a way around it, instead kind of took a wrong turn, and found a new destination...Hot Sulphur Springs.

Beaver pond is right behind this pool.
The ride was beautiful, up the mountain switch back style.  We went through Winter Park, past ski resorts, mountain pass, through small towns (much like the towns my dad moved us too over and over again), then to the "resort."  This resort was more a backhills lodge that happened to be surrounded by various spring filled baths and pools.

I think what was so amazing was the peace and tranquility.  The natural settings, waterfalls, duck pond complete with beaver and his dam, chipmunks running around, and the hippies just added to the serenity.  Thankfully the hippies left their bongo drums at the yurt and kept their clothes on.

It started to snow while we were there, which
just made the water feel warmer.
We soaked, floated, received a natural massage from the waterfalls in mineral rich 102-108 degree water.  There are a total of 23 pools that range from soaking tubs to pools.  We tried about 10 of them.
It was hard to come back to real life.

The only thing wrong with Colorado is that our friends and family can't join us on these adventures.  I can just imagine my Dad or our friend Jason soaking in these tubs, my nephews getting along with the ski bum hitchhikers we picked up while heading to the top of the pass, and my sister rubbing elbows with the dreadlock wearing greenies.

Flights now for only $159 from Priceline!  Reserve yours today.

Monday, October 3, 2011

I'd like to dedicate this post to R.E.M.

I would like to take this moment to share with you something very special.  Something that I care very deeply about.  Something that changed the way I view the world and myself.

Alpine Slides.

Kurt and Harper riding up the mountain.
I know, I know.  Amanda/ Mandy we already know all about Alpine Slides and the spiritualism of such a ride, where have you been.  I know, right!  For those very few who don't know it is a slide so high you take a ski lift to get to the top of the MOUNTAIN.  Then after you sign a waiver you get into a plastic "sled" with a brake between your legs, say a prayer, kiss the children one last time then hurl yourself down a track made of concrete.  We drove into the mountains on Saturday to see some fall foilage and beautiful scenery when we happened upon Heritage Square and their glorious claim to fame.

If there is a patch, I need one.  Cause baby, momma gonna find and ride every alpine slide available.
Seriously, when you come visit I will take you to my new chapel and you will be converted!


A video.
video
Sorry I would have recorded more but I had to hold the pee in and the brake at the same time, the video camera had to go.

Monday, September 12, 2011

9-11

9-11 by Harper Workman
Harper on 9-9-01
The date: September 6, 2001. My dad and I flew out from Portland, Oregon, to Billings, Montana, to visit my Grandpa, who lived in Casper, Wyoming. At the time, I was only two years old. Our flight back to Portland was scheduled on September 11, 2001. We were camping in Grandpa’s old camper, which was full with mice. On that Tuesday morning, I was fishing when Grandpa got the call. He had to go up onto a little hill, so he could get better reception. When his call was finished he said:
            “Well, Grandma says they blew up New York,” to which my dad replied,
            “What do you mean, they blew up New York? WHO blew up New York?”
            My grandpa had no idea, so we jumped into the car, and drove to a nearby town called Custer. Custer was a strange place. There was absolutely nobody outside. It was pretty early in the morning, but still, it was a bit creepy.
            We pulled into a gas station, and walked inside. Behind the counter stood a small green refrigerator, and on top was a TV with the news on it.  We sat down to watch as they played a recap of the second plane hitting, and the South Tower crumbling to the ground. We all sat, dumbfounded, even me, a tiny two year old. It seemed even I knew that something awful had happened.
            We drove over to my Great Grandma’s house, in Laurel, Montana. We called up our airline, United, but needless to say, our flight back home was, “canceled until further notice,” which was devastating to us. All we could do to entertain ourselves was watch the news. After four days of getting denied by United, we finally got a call saying that our flight was on Friday afternoon. That was on September 15, 2001.
            Our cousin, my dad’s first, and my second, drove us over to the airport. When we got there, it was a mad house. Everyone in the entire state, it seemed, was at the airport. We learned that our flight had been delayed for about three to four hours. After sitting in an overcrowded airport, our flight arrived, but the pilots (of course), had to rest because they had been on duty too long. So another three hours later, we finally got on our plane, and got back to Portland, but it was too late for Mom to pick us up. We had to take a taxi to get back home, and when we did, Mom burst into tears.
            Even though it such a huge ordeal for us, it was nothing compared to what others were feeling. We had to put ourselves in the shoes of the people who had died, and their families. And when we got home, we were just happy to be together, which was more then what 3,000 other families had. 

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Summer Camp Part II - Future Smartasses of America at Camp Lotta Ha Ha

Lots of parents raise their kids with the hope, and maybe even expectation, that they'll be the future leaders of our nation. I guess I can see where they're coming from - we need politicians and captains of industry to keep this big ol' machine a humming. These parents use examples like Bill Gates and Barack Obama to illustrate to their kids that it doesn't matter where you come from, you can make a difference in the world.

These are fine examples to look up to - even if you're an Apple fanboy or a raging teabagger - who wouldn't want their kid to be the richest man in the world or the PUSA? Well, us for one. We tend to idolize a different sort in our house. We look up to John Stewart, Louis Black and George Carlin. Yes we need future leaders of America but we also need future smartasses to make fun of those future leaders.

Harper and Ainslee both are already world class ball-breakers and to tell you the truth, I couldn't be more proud. So when I saw the local comedy club, Comedy Works, offering a weeklong comedy camp for kids I couldn't register Harper fast enough.

From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday, Harper studied his butt off learning how to write jokes and put a decent three-minute set together. Then on Saturday afternoon the kids performed their acts in front of a packed house of parents, friends and creepy adults who just seemed to want to watch little kids on stage.

The comedian in charge of the camp was a guy named Phil Palisoul, which you can watch here on "The Tonight Show", http://youtu.be/BSsyxxUs-48. He told us repeatedly what a great writer Harper was, but seemed worried about him "finding his voice." He kept telling us to watch comedians like Steven Wright and Mitch Hedberg. "See, they're also quiet but somehow managed to stand on stage and say stuff for a few minutes," he said.

Amanda and I were way more nervous than Harper and in the end he in fact did manage to stand on stage and say stuff for a few minutes. So here's the result of all the comedic hand-wringing. Enjoy!

video



Thursday, August 11, 2011

Summer Camp...part 1

We made a bit of money on the sale of our house in Washington so we decided to spend some of it on the kids.  You know, instead of doing something mature and responsible like painting a General Lee flag on Kurt's truck ala Duke's of Hazard.

To be honest we are also still trying to bribe the kids into to thinking that moving was the best thing we could possibly do.  We aren't going to win any parent of the year contests, so we thought "hey how's a simple bribe gonna hurt our track record."
So we asked the kids what would their dream activity be?
Ainslee:  Horse riding camp
Harper:  Comedy camp
So Kurt, who although I'm the librarian in the house does the majority of the compulsive research, found both camps.  The cost was high, but the experience will be forever a great memory for both the kids and us.  I also think we found their true passions  We will continue to help them pursue it so that we may live vicariously through them.

I can't possibly explain to you how amazing it was to see my little baby girl up on that big horse named Blue.  I came back the first day of camp a bit early to see if I could  catch her riding.  On the FIRST DAY she was up on that horse like a natural.  I was giggling.  She was so happy, so brave, so not my baby but a little lady.

Kurt and I absolutely did NOT pressure our kids in these choices, but both of them were dreams of ours too.  It was so much fun to watch and participate as the doting parent.  She put on a horseshow with the other campers to show what they learned.  I love seeing her little feet kick that horse to trot.

video
Thanks Academy Stables!

Part 2...Harper's comedy genius!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Rev it Up! 4-Wheel-driving the mountains of Colorado

Old slough used for mining.
So, my dear friend Gayle gave me a delightful book Guide to Colorado Backroads and 4-Wheel Drive Trails as a going away present.  I was actually very excited about this book since my husband is 1 part city boy, 1 part BBQ master, and 27 parts "backroads and 4-wheel-drive trail lover."

We were looking for a mountainy thing to do this weekend, especially to get away from the 100 degree weather, so we turned to Gayle's present.  This book categorizes trails as Easy, Moderate, and Difficult. Since the descriptions on most of the Difficult trails included terms like "probable roll overs and body damage"  we decided to try the trails marked Easy then work our way to the death trails.
We followed the Snake River a lot of the way, but this is a
creek that we had to cross twice.
However, according to the book Chihuahua Gulch trail looked amazing even with it's Moderate rating and TWO water crossings.

To be honest I'm not a huge 4-wheeling hobbyist.  I never saw the temptation of riding around rocks and cliffs while being tossed around the cab of a pick up like an old yogurt container. The kids and Kurt LOVE it so I usually just went along.  I was so clinched that I feel I ran a marathon instead of sitting in John Rambo (Kurt's truck).

Harp in John Rambo.
Yet after this trip I am hooked.  The scenery was breathtaking.  The thrill of water crossings and riding the edge of cliffs is like the ups and downs of a rollercoaster.  Next time we are finding one with a campsite and maybe even THREE water crossings.  It's an amazing way to see the glorious mountains of Colorado.

And if you don't buy it, just look at the pictures:
Indian Paintbrush
View from the top!
This is one of the wildflowers  we saw along
the trail.  Rocky Mountain Columbine
(the state flower).
One of the water crossings.  When we waded through it
reached up to Kurt's knees.  This did not deter my mighty
4-wheel companions.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Lakeside Amusement Park

While our cousins came over to see us all the way from Georgia, we were stranded at our house, trying to find something to do. We nearly hung ourselves, when I remembered a little amusement park called “Lakeside Amusement Park.” Built in 1908, it's only 2 miles from our house so we decided to set off right away, and after a short car trip, we reached the parking lot and paid the 2 dollar admission. After purchasing our tickets to the rides, we each set off. I spied a go-cart track, and immediately headed over. It was just a circular track with four carts and I swear they go at least 20mph. It was my favorite ride.  
               
There were two roller-coasters, and they were pretty fun. One roller-coaster was a traditional, 6 car, two-person-per-car, metal-track, roller-coaster.  What about the other one?  Its name was The Wild Chipmunk, which should tell you what decade it came from, and it was the weirdest roller-coaster I have ever seen. It’s just one-car, and you can only fit two people in that car. This ride was NOT fun. You feel like you’re going to fly off the track, and that’s before the first actual hill.
               
Next, we headed over to the area with the “Zoom.” And that’s basically this park’s version of the Panic Plunge. I was too scared to go on, but everyone else went on at least once. It wasn’t very fun for my Mom, who was crying the whole time.

After the Zoom, I went over to the Bumper Cars, which were definitely the best bumper cars I ever been on. You could only go one way, and they were FAST! After crashing into Mom a few hundred thousand times, the rain picked up, thus concluding our visit. All in all, it was a lot of fun.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Do I Sense a Chaaallennnge?
The ten minute walk with ten bucks lunch challenge

There are so many excellent looking restaurants in the Berkeley neighborhood we decided to throw down a $10 lunch challenge to see who could get the best lunch in our ‘hood for ten bucks or less. We figured it would not only help us decide on a new lunch spot for the fam, but also allow us to try 4 new restaurants. All of the restaurants were on Tennyson Street except for Tacos Jalisco, which is on 38th, and are no more than a ten-minute walk from our house.

We started the challenge with Amanda’s choice at Swing Thai, .2 miles away from our house – about a five minute walk.

Walking in we noticed it very clean and classy with a modern Asian feel – in other words, no cheesy paper lanterns or metal chairs with red vinyl seats. We were greeted by a smiling hostess and seated immediately. The rest of us sat around like a bunch of sad-sacks while Amanda decided what to order. She decided on the Pad Thai and while it took quite a while to prepare, it was extremely hot and fresh when it arrived.
Amanda said it was the best Pad Thai she’d ever had. It had a nice hint of peanut and unlike most pad thai, was not overly sweet. She did order the mild and it could have used a little more kick – next time she’ll try medium.


Next we moseyed our way across the street to the Cozy Cottage. It was also .2 miles from home and google maps said it would have only taken us four minutes to walk here.

We were met at the door right away and Ainslee decided she wanted to sit outside. It was starting to get a little hot out, so the hostess moved a table into the shade for us.

This place had a huge menu, with tons of options under ten bucks. Ainslee narrowed it down to two options, the Cozy Blintzes with fruit and cream cheese and a classic cheeseburger. After a protracted pros and cons session – longer than death-row inmates take to decide on a last meal – she went with the burger.

The burger was big and dripping with juices, Harper (who was looking a little famished by this point) said it made him start foaming at the mouth. The burger had a big, beefy flavor that tasted more like a homemade patty than a bland restaurant hockey puck. Ains loaded it up with tomatoes, onions and lettuce and dug in, juices running down her chin the whole time.

Harper and I were feeling peckish by this point and couldn’t wait to dig in to our own lunches. Harper chose DJ’s Berkerly Café, which we mentioned in an earlier blog post. It was .4 miles and 8 minutes from the homestead.

DJ’s is a breakfast and brunch place, with lunch items limited to a few sandwiches. Inside, the exposed brick walls and humming duct work overhead give it a relaxed, loft feel and I can imagine this place being popular in Portland.

The waitress remembered us from our earlier visit and was as perky and Rachel Ray-like as ever. Harper went with the strawberry stuffed French toast, which is sort of a misnomer because it’s actually stuffed with strawberry cream cheese.

This was definitely the best tasting meal of the challenge. The French toast was deliciously sweet, without being cloying and the tangy cream cheese inside kicked it a few rungs up the flavor ladder.
By this time I was hungry enough to, as my step-dad from Maine likes to say, “eat the ass-end of a skunk and use his tail to wipe my face.”

We walked around the corner from DJ’s to Tacos Jalisco, also .4 miles and 8 minutes from Casa de Workman.

Walking in was like walking in to a restaurant that had been frozen in time in 1974 and was just thawed by a team of paleontologists. The cheesy décor, the placemats that try to make us bilingual, the booths that were a little to close and a little too high. Needless to say, I loved it.

I ordered the taco plate with two steak tacos and two tongue tacos. The waitress, who was a little surly but showed a lot of cleavage so I didn’t mind, brought us a basket of warm tortilla chips and an assortment of delicious salsas.

My tacos arrived steaming and sizzling, each one on two little corn tortillas – just the way they’re supposed to. They were very basic, meat, onions, cilantro and a lime to squeeze over the top. The steak tacos were a little more flavorful and tender than the tongue, but both were excellent.

The Winner

So, this challenge did have a winner and a loser. We devised a complicated criteria consisting of eight elements ranging from taste and presentation to price and distance from home. We assigned points in each category and chose the winner based on the results.

First place – Cozy Cottage
A combination of atmosphere, service, choices and distance from home made this the narrow victor.

Second Place – DJ’s Berkeley Café
Great service and delicious food made this a tough decision.

Third place – Swing Thai
Good atmosphere, excellent food and proximity to home made this an excellent choice.

Fourth Place – Tacos Jalisco
I totally lost it when I ordered the tongue tacos. The kids were too creeped out to give it high scores.

Winners – us!
For having so many excellent food choices within walking distance of our house.  The best part was freaking out the wait staff when only one of us ordered and the rest of us looked on drooling.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Heaven is a pancake

DJ's Berekley Cafe on Tennyson will blow your mind.  We didn't have any breakfast goods at home last Saturday (by which I mean no milk and cereal) so we took a walk to find us a good breakfast haunt.  The clouds parted and light shone down on DJ's.  First I was skeptical.  How can a cafe named after a character from Roseanne be any good, but alas I will not make that mistake again.

I had Crab cakes Ala Eggs Benedict that was freaking amazing.  Everything was homemade, the coffee was great, and the prices were decent.  And the waitress reminded me of Rachel Ray (less extreme annoyance factor, just really friendly and cute).

Not to mention Ainslee's breakfast:
three pancakes, all different kinds-banana walnut, blueberry, and chocolate chip/ hazelnut-this was a children's menu item so crazy cheap.  We were all fighting for bites.  I also demanded my food on a Mickey Mouse shaped plate, but Rachel Ray gave me a funny look and I dropped the issue.

So come visit and we will show you heaven, and it is indeed in a pancake.  Next time I'm trying the strawberry stuffed french toast.

Monday, June 27, 2011

It's already the 3rd post and I'm just now mentioning Goonies!?

Teachers become teachers because every year they get to experience one of the most thrilling, raw feelings known to mankind...the last day of school.

Remember that day?  It was one of the only days you got up without being told, brushed your teeth with vigor, kissed your mom, the dog, the goldfish because you were feeling so good!  Well teachers remember it, and they get to feel it every year.  Sometimes you can see a teacher skipping when the last day is close.  Sometimes you will find them giving everyone As, everyone.  Sometimes you will find them giggling when all alone in their room.  That's because the end of the year is magical.  You've made it.  You completed another year with both eyebrows, and no one finding out about that time you dropped the Fbomb.  It's why we go back after summer is over (and also because we are all nerds and enjoy the FIRST day of school just as much).

However, soon comes the summer blues.  A time when you feel a bit lost, a bit unstructured, a bit...bored.  This year it came early for me.  It might be because I now live in a large city where I know NO ONE, or it might be because I have to fit 2100 square feet of house into a house the size of a smurf mushroom, or maybe it's because I haven't lived in a city for 9 years and I feel a bit trapped and lost, or it might be because I don't have even a hint of a job, or it might be because I stopped doing heroin.  Whatever the reason I'm in a bit of a downer...which will come as a shock to some, and to some much glee because they are bitter about me leaving them.

So after a couple of days I'm tired of myself, and have to decided to fix the way I feel.  That's right I am going to do stock-car racing (suck it Danica Patrick)...no no no I'm too fragile.  I'm actually going to try some yoga.  You know, like the hippies, and my friend Jason.  So tomorrow (because I'm too busy on the interweb to do it today losers) I'm going to walk to the local Berkeley neighborhood Yoga den in my Goonies tshirt and tattered sweats and show those skinny, well toned women that I can bend as well as the next overweight librarian.  I'm going to find my inner Frodo and find peace and calm (and try to shut out the voices in my head).

I'll keep you posted.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Buying Back Your Games


Recently, we went over to the Farmers' Market on Wadsworth, and across the street, we spotted an awesome store, simply titled, "Buy Back Games." At said store, there was a wide selection of games, DVD's, and more! 

They had plenty of merchandise to keep any gamer satisfied for a life-time, whether you're 11, or 30, including plenty of products from the 80's, 90's, and today. They also had some sweet deals on awesome gaming systems, such as a PlayStation for $20.00 (Which someone didn't let me get), and an xBox with Kinect, priced at just $300. Compared to all other stores, that's a bargain, because lowest prices for em' at any other store are $350 at least. 

Plenty of arcade machines were sprinkled through the store, including an arcade version of Super Mario Bros., Pac-Man, and more. They had a Kinect set up towards the front of the store, which they invited everyone to play (and let me tell you, those things are pretty awesome)! All in all, that was certainly the best store a gamer such as me could hope to ask for! 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

This is a tiny town, and we don't want you coming 'round

The family asked me what I wanted to do for Father's Day and I decided I wanted to go for a drive in the mountains and find a nice place for a picnic. It's Colorado right, how hard could it be. So we headed out on the highway and after a couple of wrong turns we ended up in Conifer, where Trey Parker grew up.

Coming around a bend in the highway we saw rows of tiny Victorian houses, a Silver Spoons style tiny steam train and a sign reading Tiny Town. We sat in the truck and inhaled our sandwiches then hotfooted it to the tiny booth where we paid the tiny man with a tiny visa card.


The prices were cheap, 7 bucks for adults and 5 for kids, which includes a ride on the train. Just inside the gate Amanda turned to me and said, "Thanks for spending Father's Day making one of my childhood dreams come true."

Apparently a guy named George Turner began building Tiny Town in 1915 on the site of a Denver-Leadville Stage Coach station as a way to entertain his daughter. By 1920 he opened to the public and by 1924 there were 125 buildings and two lakes. Looking at the old photos of Tiny Town it looks like any idyllic American town in the 1920s.

Several floods, fires and restoration attempts later, Tiny Town isn't quite as grand as I imagine it once was. Like lots of full-sized small towns in America, some of the buildings seem a little rundown and it doesn't quite have that perfect little community vibe it once had. It's still a relaxing way to spend Father's Day - or any day for that matter.