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

2014 Week 42: End Cat Calling Halloween Costume & First Vegan Food Swap Chicago

La De Blog - Feminist Halloween Costume End Catcalling
My Feminist Halloween Costume – End Catcalling

The last few years, my Halloween costumes have been memes, but this year I couldn’t think of anything until two days before our party and came up with this one. Probably the most topical costume I’ve done so far, as the viral video of a woman being catcalled (over 100 times in 10 hours in NYC) has been all over my feeds this week. This year I went as no catcalls/end catcalling. Z and I both have been sapped of energy since it feels like we eat, sleep, and breathe our move these days and we skipped two parties we really wanted to go to.

This week: Boxtrolls @ City North. Made Rhymes with Twee ad for the DIY Trunk Show program. Cooking Up Change event @ Bridgeport Art Center. Made chili for Vegan Food Swap. Z & my Halloween Party. Errands at Home Carpet 1 and then Floor and Decor. Dropped Bean Baby onesies and ‘bean a great year’ cards at Neighborly. Afterwards, I made pierogi for the food swap. Rachel & Adrianne’s Halloween Party. Made truffles for the food swap. Friends helped Z and I carry boxes to our new place – we have the sweetest friends. Vegan Food Swap @ Read/Write Library. Was too freakin’ tired and I ate my ticket to Allo Darlin’ at Schubas. LAME. Cannot WAIT to just be moved already.

La De Blog - Vegan Food Swap Chicago 2014-11 Truffle 01
Salted Caramel Peanut Butter Truffle

La De Blog - Vegan Food Swap Chicago 2014-11 Truffle 02
Salted Caramel Peanut Butter Truffle – inside

For the first Vegan Food Swap Chicago, organized by buddies Alison & Ian, I made the potato&onion pierogi, black bean + butternut squash + kale chili, and the Salted “Caramel” Peanut Butter Truffles from the Minimalist Baker recipe. I was most proud of the truffles and they were fairly time-consuming, actually, but they were my least popular item. I know it to be true that savory nearly always wins, BUT I still like to challenge myself and make something new, which most often is sweet. As I took a first taste of the dates mixed in with coconut oil, my first thought was “oh, man. vegans thinking this tastes like caramel be crazy,” but once you drape the “caramel” in peanut butter and chocolate, it goes a long way in convincing me that it does taste something like caramel. My fave things I swapped for were Betsy’s vindaloo tofu, Reba’s quince preserves, Bob’s cauliflower kalamata olive thing, and can’t remember swapper who brought the elderflower tea. I had multiple lunches/dinners for the week. It was great going to a swap where I knew I could potentially eat everything! Alison, Ian, and I are still taking part in the regular swap, but this is a nice breakout swap for the Chicago vegetarian/vegan community.

La De Blog - Vegan Food Swap Chicago 2014-11 what I swapped for
Vegan Food Swap Chicago – what I swapped for

Films watched 42nd week of the year:

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
The Boxtrolls
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze

Yep, only kid movies this week. I think I watched something without Z, but I can’t figure out what it was. The Boxtrolls was tremendous. I have always been entranced by stop motion films, but this one had a great deal of heart and a nice message of being yourself, even if you’re a weirdo.

2014 Week 42: Flux capacit-derp

La De Blog - Leigh & Codex
Farewell, Sweet Codex

This week: Sara and Chris came to pick up Codex – I was happy she went to a great home, but the sadness kicked in a day later. Takito Kitchen with Stacy. Finally sold off nail polish supplies on Craigslist. Farewell LAK Lacquer – you had such a short life. Dinner ate Bite with Z and Frank. Closing. Hoosier Mama/Yuzu with Teresa. Squasht 10 Year Anniversary Celebration with Stacy. Snack at Authentaco. Handed out candy with Amy at Boo-palooza. Podhalanka with Z and then House Theatre’s Season on the Line @ Chopin Theatre. Sold at Halloween Vegan Vortex at LAMA Chicago. More packing!

Films watched 42nd week of the year:

Back to the Future
Back to the Future Part II

Z and I have started down the slippery slope that is our favorite childhood films. On the plane home, our flight attendant made a joke about a flux capacitor and the girl he made it to did not get it. SHE HAD NEVER SEEN BACK TO THE FUTURE. I mean how do people like this exist!? The first one remains such a classic, but I remembered loving II when I was a kid, but it is not very good, except for the fuel made directly from trash, which remains an excellent idea.

2014 Week 41: A happy boo weddiversary! & Swap #4

La De Blog - Wedding Boo-versary 1
After being together for 8.5 years, it was bound to happen that we’d get a nearly identical card for one another and it turns out this happened for our one year wedding anniversary card. 🙂

La De Blog - Greenhouse Bed & Breakfast in Kempton, IL - Breakfast
Breakfast @ Greenhouse Bed & Breakfast – HUBBA, HUBBA

This week: Celebrated our anniversary at our beloved Greenhouse Bed & Breakfast in Kempton, IL (30 minutes outside of Kankakee, the same place we had our mini-moon last year. It is the best best & breakfast that we’ve gone to and we love Mark and Guia and their pups Tinka & Apollo. It is the best place to forget about the stress going on in our lives packing and getting ready to move. Truly feels like a home away from home. And the food that Guia makes; probably about 90% grown in their gardens, from their chickens, or from their neighbor Mint Creek (sustainable meat farm), is better than most restaurants we have eaten at. Pictured above is breakfast: savory kale oatmeal, poached eggs and tomatoes, cornbread, persimmon pudding, zucchini bread, fruit, and bacon for Z. Guia does not mess around with food. You can pay additional to have dinner there since it’s rather remote and it is completely worth sticking around because dinner is just as good. Basically, everyone should go there. Tell Mark & Guia we sent ya.

La De Blog - 2014 October Chicago Food Swap - what I made
What I brought to swap:
potato & onion pierogi. black bean, kale & butternut squash chili. popcorn eyeballs.

La De Blog - 2014 October Chicago Food Swap - my haul
My swap haul

After missing a couple Chicago Food Swaps due to being out of town, it was fantastic to make it to this one! Lots of veteran swappers and a few new faces. Some faves were coffee beans from elhurst coffee, two different dilly beans, vegan pancakes, fig bars, maple ginger soda, lime curd, and amazing caramels. Freakin’ tastiness. I feel like this was the most winning combination of stuff I made. Everyone went WILD for the pierogi. I used this recipe from Isa Chandra and then froze them for swappers to cook them with whatever they wanted. Mods made: Adding the magical Epic Spices garlic pepper.

Films watched 41st week of the year:

The Hangover Part III
Harry Potter & the Half Blood Prince

THP3 was terrible. The opening scene is the only thing worth watching. ParaNorman was brilliant – I’d guess that others felt it was similar to Frankenweenie as well. Pretty cool. HP&THBP excellent re-watch.

2014 Week 40: Canadian Thanksgiving Weekend!

La De Blog - River Farm
View at River Farm

This week: Got into Renegade Craft Fair Chicago Holiday – HUZZAH! Lunch with Betsy @ BDP. Flew to DC. Dinner with Jen, Matt, and kiddos Max & Luke. Brunch with Alison, Ron & kiddo Hannah. Dinner with family @ Cedar Restaurant. Carol & Russell’s Wedding at River Farm with reception at China Garden. Monday = Brunch with Nancy & Les @ Woodlands Vegan Bistro. Flew back to Chicago.

It was so great seeing so many buds in such a short time. Also, it was pure serendipity that Nancy happened to be in town over the weekend also. Such a happy weekend. We also got to meet my parent’s new dog Gracie. Even though she’s also a berner and looks nearly identical to Shadow, Gracie is the polar opposite.

Films watched 40th week of the year:

Obvious Child
Gone Girl

It’s obvious why most people I know who saw it loved Obvious Child – quite a film. Gone Girl was really good. I tried not to hear any spoilers about the book – I only knew that there was a twist, but oh boy, it was a doozy.A.C.O.D. was alright. I love Adam Scott, but I don’t think I’d watch this one again.

2014 Week 39: “Oh, I was moved by your screen dream.”

La De Blog - Leigh and Marnie the Dog
Me with Marnie the Dog

I met Shirley’s pup, the famous Marnie the Dog, at NYC Popfest, but I forgot to post the picture. I only took a handful of photos during my epic week, so I figured this photo is better than any of those. <3 This week was the most culture I think I have ever jammed into one week. Met Amanda & Stacy at Tecalitlan. Dropped tea towels @ Plenty Grocery and Deli. Music Box. Quesadilla with Z, Elisse, & Nathan. Magritte exhibition @ Art Institute. Scotch tasting @ Jarvis house. David Bowie Is Exhibit @ MCA. Velvet Goldmine screening @ MCA with Todd Haynes & Sandy Powell. For our wedding we had received a few museum memberships and, since we're closing in on our one year wedding-versary, we knew we had to finally use or use for a second time! It was an incredibly fun and productive week - feels good to get stuff done. So, about the Magritte exhibit - when Z and I were done I whispered to him: "Yep, not into Magritte." Admittedly, I only knew about 10 works of his, but I thought I enjoyed them, but seeing the paintings in person, I am not a fan. It was our first time in the modern wing and when I turned the corner and saw the Joseph Cornell wall, I was like, "yep, this is my kind of art." I've been a long time fan of Cornell's work and have seen a retrospective, but it had been awhile since I'd seen any of his pieces in person. The blend of art and craft is what touches my heart. Whatever kind of art moves you is great, as long as you find something that moves you! Speaking of art, I have been incredibly proud of buddy Dolan Geiman‘s work these days. The pieces he is creating today remind me of Cornell and strike my heartstrings the same way. Get thee to his website.

Films watched 39th week of the year:

Safe (2012)
The Zero Theorem
Velvet Goldmine

Safe was fine. The Zero Theorem was fantastic for costume design; think The Capitol City from Hunger Games, but without the heart behind it. Since I saw it, Velvet Goldmine has stayed in my Top 10 films of all time. I love every single thing about it. One of my perfect films. Getting to see it with Todd Haynes and Sandy Powell doing a Q&A after was splendid. Sequel, please? 🙂

2014 Week 37 & 38: On our way to fall into fall.

La De Blog - Zack & Leigh pre-K&B wedding
Z & Me, pre-Kate & Brian’s wedding

The last two weeks: Sara and Chris came to meet Codex. Errandin’. Last Dragonlady vegan buffet. Got rear van light replaced. Black Lips/King Khan @ Logan Square Auditorium. Apple picking @ Kuiper’s with Eliza, Mike, Meghan & Lee. Reprinted garlic & artichoke Veggie Vampire tea towels. Picked up stuff @ Amish Healthy Foods to go with Kate & Brian’s wedding gift. Drove to Cleveland. Helped Kate & Brian with wedding prep (see wedding card box below!). K&B Rehearsal Dinner @ Stone Mad. K&B Wedding! Breakfast with Hansens @ Dante Next Door. Drove back to Chicago and listened to a heap of Ready Player One, read by the one and only Wil Wheaton himself.

La De Blog - Board Game Wedding Card Box
Kate with Board Game Wedding Card Box

Films watched 37th & 38th week of the year:

Let’s Be Cops
The Rock
The Abyss
David Bowie is Happening Now *
The Princess Bride

* documentary

LBC was OK. TR remains great. TA was far more beautiful than I remembered watching it 15 years ago. DBIHN was one long commercial for the exhibit we’re seeing at the MCA, but I didn’t mind because I am SUPER psyched for it. TPB is an absolute classic. Safe was forgettable, but it’s hard to like Statham in a movie that is not Crank or Crank 2.