2015 May: May this month be forgotten

It’s a dramatic subject, but in between the short bursts of happiness, this one was a bummer for the books.

La De Blog - 2015-05-11 Farewell Art3mis
Rest in peace, Art3mis.

What we believe was Art3mis’ kidney was so enlarged that the ultrasound showed very little and the options were to keep her healthy and happy as long as possible or have exploratory surgery to see what steps to take next. Now, as hedgie parents, Z and I go the extra mile for our hedgebabes, but the thought of having to open her up just to see if there was the chance to save her seemed like unfair treatment to our babe, so we picked the wait and see option. So, we powered through with 6 meds ( 4 of those twice daily). A week after the ultrasound, she started having bloody stools and then stopped eating on her own and we had to syringe feed her canned cat food and she held on through my birthday for me, but that night when I looked into her eyes, I knew it was time. Z and I knew she was ready to go. We took her in to our beloved Chicago Exotics Monday morning, and sent Artie over the rainbow bridge. We will miss that little grumpus and she joins her son Alasdair who we heard recently passed due to an upper respiratory infection.

Z and I decided we need a short break from hedgies due to their too short lives. In the 8 years we have lived together, we’ve had four hedgies pass. We believe we’ll come back to them as foster parents next time around and educate new owners about them before we jump back into being adoptive parents again. For now, we lent our cage to our pals Christina and Shaun who run the Chicago branch of the Hedgehog Welfare Society. Having that empty space where the cage was is worse than when the cage was empty, but it’s what we need to do right now. Luckily, Christina and Shaun have a prickle of hedgehogs to cover us in whenever we need a fix, which will likely be often. <3 La De Blog - 2015-05-24 Darren Hanlon @ Uncharted Books
Burst of happiness: Darren Hanlon @ Uncharted Books

May: Early bday brunch @ Takito Kitchen. Show of Hands Vendor preview @ Neighborly and Chicago Art Girls with Mikey. Township with Z. Lunch with Alison @ Native Foods. Brought towels to Reuse First to heat set and caught up with Jeremiah and Michelle. Show of Hands @ Architectural Artifacts. Hayden @ Schubas. More bday celebratin’ @ Dragonlady vegan buffet. Post bday dinner with Z @ Lula. Boiler Room with Heidi. My parents in town: Janik’s, Barrelhouse Flat, saw Side Man @ Greenhouse Theater, Kiku Open Studio, Little Goat. Saw screening of Love & Mercy put on by The Dissolve with John Cusack & Brian Wilson doing a Q&A. Garden workday @ Community Garden. Emo night @ Burlington with Layne, Jess and her buddy Alithea. Dropped off hedgehog cage for Christina & Shaun to borrow. Bric-a-Brac Records sale. Darren Hanlon/Steven Gilpin @ Uncharted Books. Snuggle appointment with Carlos! Dinner @ Handlebar with Stephanie. Lunch with Stephanie @ Upton’s. UHF @ Music Box with Q&A by Weird Al & Jay Levey. Co-worker Whitney send-off @ Bar Takito – this is the other coordinator at my work and I am going to miss her dearly, but she is moving to Austin. 5 Year anniversary party @ Squasht with Stacy. Worked on some songs with Mike Sherry. Picked up Artie’s ashes. LCBday brunch @ Honey Butter Fried Chicken. Hung out with Mikey/dinner @ Urban Vegan.

La De Blog - 2015-05-15 The Kelseys @ Kelseys
The Kelseys in front of a bar named Kelsey’s

Films watched May 2015:

Dumb and Dumber To
Krush Groove
The Guest
Fay Grim
The Idolmaker
The Big Lebowski
Mad Max
Mad Max 2: Road Warrior
Going Clear *
Ex Machina
Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome
Love and Mercy
Furious 7
Pitch Perfect 2
Avengers: Age of Ultron
Love is Strange
The Rocketeer

* documentary

The Guest. Ex Machina. Love and Mercy. Pride. UHF. These were my favorites of the month – BRILLIANT FILMS every one! Going Clear was great, but too creepy to be one of my favorites! I still don’t like The Big Lebowski all these years after I thought maybe I just didn’t get the humor when I was younger – nope!

2015 April: April shows her

La De Blog - 2015-04-25 Heather, Leigh, Kristen & Kelly @ Handlebar
Lovely lunch with lovely ladies: Heather, me, Kristen, & Kelly

La De Blog - 2015-04-29 Pasta Making @ Cooking Fools
Me with pappardelle made at Cooking Fools (yes, I love this sweater)

2015 April: Letter writing party @ Paper Doll. Z and my 9 year boo-versary dinner at Bite. Had hoped to celebrate Chuy winning the run-off election at Map Room, but we know how that went. Work tradeshow (NCIA) in Indianapolis. Takito with Stacy. Bean Baby drop off at Neighborly. Z’s parents came to town: breakfast @ Lula, dinner @ Mana, Show of Hands open house @ Sacred Art, Chicago Food Swap with Z’s mom, dinner @ Julius Meinl, Sound of Silent @ Music Box. Rachel’s bday @ Boiler Room. Vegan night @ Boiler Room with Molly, Allison C. and then the Owl with them, Layne, and met Mikey, J, and their friend whose name i cannot remember. Lunch with Eliza @ El Metro. UVNA meeting. HOA meeting. Lunch with Kristen, Heather, and Kelly @ Handlebar. Attended C2E2 thanks to Mikey’s bud, J Salvador (Super Emo Friends). Got to meet Brad Neely there and *maybe* embarrassed myself a bit. Real fun night hanging with Mikey, J, Melissa, + Fred @ Revolution Brewery, East Room, and Cole’s. Kirstie bday brunch @ Old Oak Tap. Attended the spring Vegan Vortex. Show of Hands Vendor Meet & Greet @ 345 North with Mikey. Dinner with Frank, Cheryl, Briana, Jason, Ashley, & Thom. Pasta making class @ Cooking Fools. Dinner @ Parson’s with Annie.

At her check-up, Dr. Horton had noticed Artemis’ kidney was enlarged. We had a few rechecks and we’re monitoring it.

La De Blog - 2015-04-19 Chicago Food Swap - what I made
What I made for Chicago Food Swap – April 2015

For the Chicago Food Swap this month, I made hickory chick-a-peas, asparagus soup, kale pesto, and fluff stuff – all vegan. I jumped onto the marshmallow fluff made with chickpea brine bandwagon. The most popular things I made were, surprisingly, the asparagus soup + the kale pesto, the most everyday kind of things. Again, you never know what’s going to be the fan fave. My personal fave was the hickory chick-a-peas I made – those babies were OUT OF SIGHT.

La De Blog - 2015-04-19 Chicago Food Swap - my haul
My Chicago Food Swap haul – April 2015

Films watched April 2015:

Begin Again
Big Hero 6
Kumiko the Treasure Hunter
Computer Chess
A Sloth named Velcro *
Beat Street
The Fast and Furious
2 Fast 2 Furious
Alien: Resurrection
John Wick
The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift
Fast and Furious
Pitch Perfect
Fast Five
Fast and Furious 6

* documentary

A Sloth Named Velcro and Chappie were probably my faves this month, but Beat Street, Nightcrawler, and F&F: Tokyo Drift were up there.

2015 Weeks 10, 11, 12, 13+ : Chicago Food Swapsessed

La De Blog - 2015-03-15 Chicago Food Swap - vegan tamales
Tamales pre-steam in makeshift steamer

For the Chicago Food Swap this month, I made buffa-faux chicken dip, tamales, salsa verde, and rumchata (all vegan) for Chicago Food Swap @ The Chopping Block in the Merchandise Mart. New food swapper tip for anyone internetting first time food swap what to do or what to make: Do not make tamales by yourself for a swap, unless you make them a few days before hand and then freeze them. There are times I learn a new skill and I want to practice and/or show off. I had learned how to make vegan tamales at Kimmi’s the week before and decided for sure that I wanted to make them for the food swap a week later. Originally, I purchased salsa verde to pour over the soy curls (soy chicken) I had soaked, trying to replicate Quesadilla la reina del sur’s delicious salsa verde tamales, but I decided that was not authentic enough and that I had to make my own salsa verde as well (for the first time). Hello, run-on sentence! So, instead of making three items, I was making four items in two days. In times the pressure is on in my work life, I go into ultra-achiever mode and do things like this in my free time. You know. For fun!

La De Blog - 2015-03-15 Chicago Food Swap - what I made
What I brought to March swap: buffa-faux chicken dip, carne de soya tamales con salsa verde

It’s all worth it though – it actually IS fun. All of the savory items I brought were a big hit, but I was shocked that the rumchat-ahh wasn’t more popular. It was delicious! Ended up bringing leftovers to coworkers and friends. I don’t believe I’ve mentioned it, but part of the main reason I enjoy going to the food swap is to hone my skills. I like to change it up and I have not made the same thing twice yet. I also like to try to make everything I bring vegan because there is a stigma surrounding veganism. I am a fairly strict vegetarian, but I inch closer to veganism every day. I like showing others, especially in the often dairy/meat-centric food swap arena, that there are so many mouth-watering things that are (or can be made) vegan! It has been inspiring having others start making vegan goods to swap with Alison and myself because they know we make tasty stuff. ^_^

La De Blog - 2015-03-15 Chicago Food Swap - my haul
My March swap haul

I swapped for some fantastic things this time. There were not as many vegan treats as I had hoped, but plenty of vegetarian goodies. Lots of bready things & jams/chutneys to go with them this swap. I had lunches for over half a week from my haul and many freezable or pantry items, which are always appreciated. The swappers are such a great group of people and I am happy to be a part of it. I hope to take my MIL Gail to the May one since she and Wes will be in town. If so, I vow to make things ahead of time for that one!

2015 Week 10:
Chiditarod attending/adventuring & Furious Spoon with Shanleys & Brian. Vegan tamale making/cookie baking with Kimmi & friends.

2015 Week 11:
Quesadilla with Erin R. & Alison S./waffles at L&Z’s. Takito with work buds. Dinner with Gretchen @ Bullhead Cantina. Promo item tradeshow in Arlington Heights. Saw Eliza perform at Harold Washington Library! Breakfast with Z, LCB, & Amy @ Grandma J’s Kitchen. Dragonlady vegan buffet with Sue cooking again! Made buffa-faux chicken dip, soy chicken tamales, salsa verde, and rumchat-ahh (all vegan) for Chicago Food Swap @ The Chopping Block in the Merchandise Mart.

Chicago Food Swap @ Chopping Block. Filed taxes!

2015 Week 12:
Walked to Green Grocer because it was glorious outside! Dragonlady with Alison & Jen L. Baked cupcakes for a coworker with vanilla & blood orange frosting. Bob’s Burgers @ Chicago Theatre. Dropped off stuff I sold on West Town Community Swap & Sell. Updated Rhymes with Twee stock at Local Goods. Movie with my boo. Lunch @ Rice/movie with Jerroid. Jen L. bday @ Archie’s.

2015 Week 13:
Etsy orders picking back up again after the usual beginning of the year lull that happens for me. Lunch with Gretchen @ Breakfast House. Miss Spoken @ Gallery Cabaret. Made food for Kristen & Bill. Dinner @ Quesadilla with Z.

2015 Week 14 (beginning):
Dinner with Stacy @ Sushi Para II.

Films watched 10th – 13th+ week of the year:

Million Dollar Arm
Sudden Death
Speed Racer
The Imposters
Ganja and Hess
Movie 43
Jupiter Ascending
Gerhard Richter Painting *
The Never Ending Story

* documentary

I did not prepare myself to think much of Whiplash, but it was a truly GREAT film; one that made me audibly gasp and I have thought about it many times since, though I don’t want to watch it again. I played alto saxophone at school for 6 years, through my senior year of high school. I was dedicated and good, fluctuating back and forth between 1st and 2nd chair, playing in symphonic, marching, jazz, and even pit sometimes. 100% band nerd and proud of it, yet I never got to this level of obsession. I saw it around me, but very few people from our (very good) marching & symphonic bands chose to continue this life after high school. I greatly respect professional musicians and one of my dearest friends, Eliza, has chosen this life and I admire her greatly for it. My preference is a day job with regular hours and stability so I can work on Rhymes with Twee goods by night. Anyways, you should see this film, people of the internet, if you have not already done so.

Other particularly great films this month were: Alien & The Never Ending Story (duh), Non-Stop (spoiler alert: still waiting for one of these films where Liam Neeson actually *IS* the bad guy).

2015 Weeks 5, 6, 7, 8, & 9: February flew by

La De Blog - 2015-02-15 Chicago Food Swap - what I made
What I brought to February swap: saag tofu, granola

La De Blog - 2015-02-15 Chicago Food Swap - my haul
My February swap haul

2015 Week 5:
Miss Spoken: New Year’s @ Gallery Cabaret. Quesadilla with Eliza & Meghan. 1st Ward Aldermanic Debate @ Wells HS. Dinner with Shanleys @ Handlebar. Made jackfruit curry & vegan nutella for Vegan Food Swap: Blizzard edition!

2015 Week 6:
Drinks with co-workers @ Cobra Lounge. Jerry’s with Stacy. 2nd Ward Aldermanic Debate @ Wells HS. Flying Saucer with Shanleys + epic walk home. Shopped the valentine vegan vortex!

2015 Week 7:
Worked on a song with buddy Steven Gilpin. Finally dropped T-Mobile for Verizon and I have coverage in our condo! Boo v-day dinner @ Bite. Steven Gilpin @ Hideout. Dinner with Alison @ Ground Control. Emily W. djing @ Burlington. Rainer Maria @ Lincoln Hall! Made saag paneer & granola for Chicago Food Swap.

2015 Week 8:
Paczki day! Jennifer T. bday brunch. Kaitlyn & Adam going away party. Lula & Kingsman: The Secret Service with Jerroid! Amanda bday pizza party. Oscars @ Kimmi’s.

2015 Week 9:
Chicago Mayoral & Aldermanic Election! Lunch @ Upton’s with Alison. Parson’s with Ginny. Took Z out for bday dinner to Osteria Longhe. Said goodbye to Parks & Recreation. Tilda dental cleaning & extraction. Movies @ Music Box! The House Theatre production of The Hammer Trinity @ Chopin Theatre. Z bday pizza & coffee party.

Also this week, Rhymes with Twee was happy to support Illinois Leadership Seminars (ILS) by donating a set of Veggie Vampire Tea Towels to their 7th Annual Wine Tasting & Silent Auction Fundraiser at D.O.C. Wine Bar 2/28.

Films watched 5th – 9th week of the year:

Pain and Gain
August: Osage County
Kick-Ass 2
Edge of Tomorrow
A Pony Tale
What If
Le Week-end
The Book Thief
Demolition Man
Da Sweet Blood of Jesus
Small Apartments
The Tale of Princess Kaguya
Kingsman: The Secret Service
Song of the Sea
What We Do in the Shadows

So many fantastic movies, but The Tale of Princess Kaguya and Song of the Sea were both phenomenal. Frank was something I had never seen before and I liked most of it. Ida was incredibly beautiful. Kingsman & WWDITS were belly laugh inducing.

2014 Weeks 50, 51, & 52 + 2015 Week 1, 2, 3, & 4: Electwee Boogaloo

Hey, hi. I haven’t written in awhile. It’s busy around these here parts. Z and I are still settling into our condo. My hurdle is the craft room. It’s 80% done, but that 20% left has been hard to find time to do.

La De Blog - Oh, Christmas Twee
Oh, Christmas Twee

Weeks 50 – 52
Berea, OH! Melt with Kate & Marikka. My parents drove up from Alexandria, VA to spend Friday through Sunday with us. D’Agnese’s. Dante Next Door. Started the drive back to Chicago and picked up Amanda & Derek outside Toledo. Kimmi bday @ Pot Pan/Rainbo. NYEE party @ Linsey & Scott’s. NYE celebrations @ Austin & Annie’s, Eliza & Mike’s, and Shanleys.

Films watched 50th, 51st, and 52nd week of the year:

Troop Beverly Hills
A Christmas Story
Big Eyes
The Frighteners
Big Trouble in Little China

Troop Beverly Hills is every bit as amusing today as I found it when I watched it as a kid. So happy Z shared my love for it. I freaking loved Big Eyes. I don’t know why the film was not nominated for a Best Picture Oscar. It has my vote and that’s all that matters.


2015 Week 1:
NYD brunch @ Amanda & Derek’s and collards @ Nick & Erin’s. Got updated DL at DMV. IKEA/Sushi Station with Z, E&M, A&D, and Juli.

2015 Week 2:
Dropped Bean Baby onesies off at The Fig Tree. Quesadilla & movies with Eliza & Juli. Alison/Kim hang. Eliza Bday Pizza Party. Emily bday dessert & drinks party. Ground Control with Heidi. Review revue.

2015 Week 3:
Steve Niketopolous fundraiser @ Shaman. St. Sebastian Day @ The Peacock. Lunch with Sarah J. @ Takito. Ginny bday karaoke @ Spynners. Three Movies with Z @ Logan. Dinner with Z & Ed @ High Dive. Kathy M.’s bday @ Emporium.

2015 Week 4:
Quesadilla with Erin & Alison. confirmation that I am more blind than before with beloved Dr. Ortiz @ Eye Appeal. Little Goat lunch with Rachel! First condo association meeting for us. Pet Baths. Movies @ Logan.

La De Blog - Sushi Station
Sushi Station, Mountain of Plates Consumed

Films watched 1st, 2nd, 3rd week of the year:

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Spring Breakers
21 Jump Street
An Easter Bunny Puppy
To Be Takei *
The Skeleton Twins
Chulas Fronteras *
Roman Holiday
The Theory of Everything
Baggage Claim
Captain America: Winter Soldier
Small Soldiers
Finding Vivian Maier *
The Emperor’s Nightingale (Jiri Trnka)
Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo

* documentary

A mix of fantastic and fantastically terrible movie films so far this year. This MIGHT be sacrilegious, but An Easter Bunny Puppy might be even better than A Talking Cat?!? Speaking of best pictures, the Oscar Best Picture nominees I still need to see: American Sniper, Boyhood, and Whiplash. Selma struck the chord I was looking for. Truly a bummer that Ava DuVernay was not nominated for a Best Director. It was a beautiful & riveting film, with the best ensemble cast of the year. I thought the timing of this release was very smart – hopefully it will inspire everyone to get out the vote; something that people risked their lives for and died for. Let’s do this!

2014 Week 45, 46, 47, 48, & 49: new condo, I like you elotes.

La De Blog - i like you elotes card - Rhymes with Twee
i like you elotes card – Rhymes with Twee

La De Blog - Veggie Vampire Tea Towels - Pippi Kale & Husko Corn
New Veggie Vampire Tea Towels – Pippi Kale & Husko Corn

Whirlwind life! I have good reasons to be weeks behind on the La De Blog. Even though I have been SO busy, I managed to make four new products for the winter fair season: 2 new VV tea towels, the elotes greeting card, and hedgehog gift labels. Z and I have been getting used to being homeowners. Our neighbors are nice. oving from Ukrainian Village to Logan Square has been a big adjustment, but we’re getting there.

Week 45:
First week at the new place. Dropped off at new stockist Blue Door Farmstand! Music Box. Sold at DIY Trunk Show. Had an indoor yard sale. Fat Willy’s/City North with Z, Ed, & Heidi.

Week 46:
UVNA member meeting. Picked up pies at Hoosier Mama. Friendsgivings at Jess & Dave’s, Kirstie & Jason’s, and Jen L.’s. Christkindlmarket. Sold off last of yard sale stuff. Mega cleaned the old place.

Week 47:
Picked up Letters to Santa letter from the USPS. Sold at Renegade Craft Fair Chicago Holiday @ Bridgeport Art Center. RCF After party.

Week 48:
Letters to Santa shopping. Lunch with Eliza. Printed a hell of a lot of Veggie Vampire Tea Towels! Alison’s Bday dinner @ Chicago Diner. Picked up wine rack to use as tea towel display! Z work holiday party at the Gage. Got everything ready for the Boohaus holiday/housewarming party. Party! Leah & Tim’s party. Sold at Revolution Craft Show @ Revolution Brewery. Ian’s going away potluck.

Week 49:
Letters to Santa shopping with Amanda. New Jason Anderson album dropped and you should go download it now – Cold Cold Rain http://jasonanderson.bandcamp.com/ ! Made no bake cookies for holiday party and dough for Kimmi’s cookie party. House Theatre’s The Nutcracker at Chopin Theatre. My work party at Aberdeen Tap. Made cookies Friday night and dropped them at Kimmi’s Saturday morning. Sold at Hideout Holiday Sale. Drove straight to USPS. Z and I ate dinner at Urban Vegan. Went to Kimmi’s and met more of her lovely family and picked up cookie booty! Lunch with Dan Somen @ Honey Butter Fried Chicken. Erranding. Reba hogtorial. Wrote our holiday cards, wrapped all of our gifts.

Films watched 45th, 46th, 47th, & 48th, 49th week of the year:

Pulp: A Film About Life, Death and Supermarkets *
The World’s End
My Neighbor Totoro
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1
Back to the Future Part 3
Stranger than Paradise
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
A Talking Cat!?!
Santa Claws

So many good movies. All of these were enjoyable to some degree, even Santa Claws, though Z would tell you otherwise.

* documentar

2014 Week 43 & 44: Rest in peace, Katniss Everdeen Kelsey-Hansen

La De Blog - Leigh, Katniss, & Zack
Me, Katniss, & Z

I’m blogging from Thomas apartment in a sea of boxes. It is Thursday night/Friday morning. We got everything packed up and this should be a fairly quick move tomorrow morning; Friday morning. I believe Z and I are the most tired physically and emotionally that we have ever been. Last night, on the same day that Laini died 7 years ago, Katniss let us know it was her time to go and we drove her to BluePearl, which is our vet Chicago Exotics during the daytime. We talked to the vet and the means to keep her alive weren’t a guarantee and we didn’t want to put her through any stress, so we decided together to have her put to sleep. It was crushing to say those words, but in the end, we knew it was time. She’d had green poop for awhile and when we had mentioned it to Dr. Horton, she said it could happen, but that she was perfectly healthy and happy. She had started losing weight, but was still eating, but in the last week, she took a turn for the worse. She stopped eating, so I had been force feeding her since we had our vet appointment coming up Saturday. When we took her out last night, her butt was cold to the touch even though she’d been on her heating pad. I put her on my belly to warm her up and it didn’t seem to be working like usual, so I gave her a bath and it was clear that she was spiraling downward. While I was crying and holding her tiny barely moving body in a towel, Z said, “I think we should take her in.” I had the sweetest voicemail from our favorite tech at Chicago Exotics this morning. I am glad we took Katniss in when we did, but the timing is just about the worst it could have been. Happy to know she is up in Hog Heaven, as Aimee (David Bowie, Lady Hedgehog’s mom) said: “I am so sorry to see this. Nothing makes this time any easier, but just know that you guys gave her the best little hoglife she could have asked for. She is up in HogHeaven crunching meal worms with David Bowie doing spin class. Sending so many hoghugs. xoxox.” Hog moms are the best moms. I texted in a PTO day to work. I wear my heart on my sleeve and I can’t talk about this without starting to cry. I would have been useless at work, but being home, I slept in and then was working most of the day until 12:30am packing nearly every last thing up. A new chapter in our life starts tomorrow and we are very sad not to have Katniss with us on the page.

Week 43: Took T-dog to vet. Voted. Eliza picked up a onesie. Had a DIY Trunk Show employee pick up my DIY Trunk Show goody bag items! Spontaneous dinner at Smalls with Linsey after going to Lincoln Antique Mall to look for a coffee table. Z’s parents came to town and helped us check off about 18 items off our 20 item bucket list.

Week 44: Dropped off Stacy’s bday present. Picked up money and music that Reckless didn’t buy. Dropped $ off. Dinner with Rani and gave her the plates back that I hadn’t been able to sell. Drink at Rainbo. Sarah J. came by and helped us pack. Next night Jen L. helped us haul stuff over to the new place. Drove Katniss to BluePearl. Pack, pack, pack.

Speaking of emotional, it was really and truly fantastic to see Rani alive and in such better spirits. She drove up to get the rest of her stuff and her beloved cat Mieko. We both got teary a few times, but happy tears. Just so happy to see my friend moving forward in her life. ALIVE. When one year ago, it seemed so bleak, silver linings are showing.

Films watched 43rd & 44th week of the year:

The Lego Movie
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

TLM was really fun and yep, I have the song stuck in my head. I don’t mind because I need things to be awesome. THG:CF was great a second time. I love these films so much and it was fitting I watched this within a week of Katniss passing. <3 <3 <3