Saturday, April 30, 2011

Friday Night Yoga Club

I have quickly learned yoga can be a party. Make that a spectacular party. There is a key though and I won’t keep a secret. Its called Friday Night Yoga Club. As one participant put it best, it’s something different to try on a Friday night outside of movies, dinner, or happy hours. And it’s still social.

There were seven Friday classes total, and none beat to the same drum. Offering different studios, types of yoga, instructors, and DJ’s. That’s right…DJ’s get you in that yoga groove. But there is a constant and that’s the familiar faces because it can become addicting. Each night sold out and usually topped off around 100 participants. This Friday night yoga club met at the Rhythm Sanctuary in Edgewater and was mat to mat. But what better way to make a new yogi buddy?

The night is three hours. My first thoughts where ‘whoa yoga overload’ and ‘when’s intermission?’ But the night is about more than the mat. Dancing, eating delicious food from the sponsors and hearing incredibly motivational messages are mixed in.

You see, the night is about experiencing life, but also appreciating the extent at what you can do it. Over 1,000 dollars was raised to benefit the Chanda Plan, and Chanda herself wheeled her way on stage to talk about the moment that forever altered her life.

She was only nine years old when she lost the ability to walk. A 14-year-old relative was babysitting her, when one of his friends picked up a gun and discharged into the back of her neck. In place of the many medications she was taking for the chronic pain she decided to try some alternative methods, one being yoga. Her foundation aims to improve the quality of life for anyone with a physical disability with alternate forms.

Creators of Friday Night Yoga Club, Denise Coo and Erik Vienneau understand yoga is about physical and mental well being, and sees the way it has benefited Chanda. Cook is no stranger to the importance of community that automatically comes with yoga practice. The message Chanda brought connected the room. Any of us could have been in an unexpected accident like her. The way she has gone forward to live her life allows all us yogi’s to revert back to square one and center ourselves on our mats. The world may be a changing but attitude is still everything, and so is what you make of your experiences. And not being afraid to try a new one, because life really is that precious.

And there is more to come from this group this summer with Yoga Rocks at the Park. Find more at

For more images of the night please visit:

Monday, April 25, 2011

Museum of Contemporary Art Denver

There is a special nook and cranny off Delgany Street in Denver. It's called the Museum of Contemporary Art. There has got to be something there that strikes a chord in your imagination. My chords struck with a piece called "Defiant Gardens." For me it defined emotion. The artist, Dario Robleto, combined many materials...including pulp made from soldiers' letters sent home and wife/sweetheart letters sent to soldiers from various wars. There is also homemade paper, dried flowers from various battlefields, fabric from mourning dresses and various seeds. They all encapsulates a poignant time in history.
Another piece from this artist is called "A Defeated Soldier Wishes to Walk His Daughter Down the Wedding Aisle." Appropriate especially with everything we face abroad. The artist brings pop culture and music into the piece by using melted vinyl records to form the boots. A cast of a hand-carved wooden and iron leg sits in the boot as a painful reminder that some soldiers come out of war with a new type of limb.
This is only a splash of what is inside the museum. It's a place that you can find inspiration, a challenge and some new knacks for your mind. There is a cafe, library and of course many other exhibits that could spark something for you to take as you exit a special place off Delagany.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Doors Open Denver III

And the doors kept opening. Many drive by D.U. and recognize it’s a beautiful campus…it may even make you want to head back to school. Or in my case learn to sing opera! Before your ears start screeeeeching…take a look at the Judy June Sawner Gates Concert Hall, and we may be singing together. The hall can seat up to 971 people, luckily none of the seats were filled when Doors Open Denver allowed me on the stage to test the acoustics. This stage can see up to 400 performances a year in this European Styled Opera House.
Last year D.O.D. brought in tours of the new Juvenile Detention Center off Colfax. Right across the street is the Lindsay Flannigan Courthouse, which was open this year. The lines were connected to see first where convicted criminals are housed to the underground tunnel they walk to trial. The location of the two facilities allows many less convicts to be bussed over. Inside there are 29 courtrooms, 300 surveillance cameras and 62 holding cells.

Doors Open Denver II

As I trekked on it was further for Doors Open Denver it was proven that you can never be acquainted with Denver enough. A trip inside the Waste Water Management Building may turn some people the other direction. But beyond the eye-catching Gothic Architecture you can see where street maintenance vehicles are stored and take off on those frost bitten mornings to plow the roads. You can’t miss a huge bee-hive shaped dome where these trucks load up with magnesium chloride to take the slick off the streets. And ohh ya…it’s here that sewer lines are maintained.
At District Three Police Station you are normally only allowed to walk into the lobby. But the doors were opened to get a little more acquainted with inside scoop. See where roll call for police officers is taken, the workout facilities and a lay out of the building. Currently there is no police officer museum in Denver…but when the day comes…this station has plenty to offer from old hats, a list of the old lingo, and the stamps used on old police reports. And if you didn’t know…each citizen can take one ride along each year. You can pick up your form here, so get ready to even see behind the doors of a police shift.
The Anchor Center for Blind Children was incredibly enlightening. It seems normal enough as you walk through the halls, but there are many special elements. The floors are made of different materials so when children knock on them with their walking canes, they can instantly identify where they are.
A walk on the Braille trail leads to a gardening area and a greenhouse that are used as a form of therapy for visually impaired students.
A mother who is deeply anchored in the school served as a volunteer for the day. She was told her six year old daughter would never see again but with much hard work her daughter has now graduated from the Anchor Center and has seen her way to Public School. Her eyes light up as she talks about the improvements her daughter has made, and even plans to join the track club later this year.
The architecture embodied to make this school allows kids to develop other senses to a degree most can’t comprehend. What these children lack in vision they triple over with the strength of their minds.

Doors Open Denver

Denver swung it’s doors open for the 7th year in a row this past weekend. Doors Open Denver is a two-day event that features seventy sites that are open for tours…for free. Some places are always open to the public but bring out the guides so you get a fill on information. Other stops are especially special because you can’tnormally just walk in and walk out with the down low.
There are surely a few places on the list that would peak your curiosity, or maybe you just didn’t know it until you entered. The theme for 2011 was architecture of the 50’s and Beyond. But of course it always goes deeper than that.
Scanning the list of the sites brought in visions of some of Denver most photogenic areas: The Denver Performing Arts Complex, 16th street Mall and a variety of buildings at Denver & Regis University. As well as hotels, parks and museums (MOCA, Kirkland Museum, The Cell) also topped the list. And also some unfamiliar areas like Cableland and the Platte Valley Trolley.
Finding a starting point was a decision to be made! My day started at a red brick building that sits quietly on Sherman Street. Surrounded by trees blossoming with bright white flowers The American Red Cross Mile High Chapter has been responding to disasters since 1917. This chapter has been running like crazy with so many wildfires recently striking Colorado.
You can see where disaster supplies are stored, where courses are set up and take look into the Red Cross truck that is stocked with food and water to alleviate victims. Old time Red Cross posters are pinned to the walls inside the building, taking you back to the early days of the start of such an important organization that has spread internationally.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Verso Wine Cellars

Here’s a take on wine tasting that I have not tried before, vertical. I stood up straighter and questioned what the heck that meant as I looked at Paul Phillips, the owner of Verso Cellars. Well first off it means that I would only be tasting cabernet sauvignon. I hope I would still be standing vertically after four tastings. Was this meant to be a challenge?
Commonalities and differences occur in all the bottles.
Commons: They are all grown from grapes from East Orchard Mesa on the Western Slope. Also, all aged in French Oak Barrells. And all are really, really good.
Differences: The years the grapes were grown and of course the weather patterns of the season, which affects the flavors of the grape. And how much is left of each bottle…the 2003 is flying fast and only a select amount of bottles are left for sale.
I started with the 2006, to the 2005, then the 2004 and ended on the 2003. And I completed the challenge, still standing up right. And I tested my vertical jump out the door, it was four times higher than usual!
The challenge left at hand was finding a favorite of the four types offered! Challenge, never completed. Return trip, planned!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Elfreths Alley, PA

You could walk down the whole street in less than a minute. You many have to speed walk but that's still quite the accomplishment when you add the fact that you are walking down the oldest street in the nation.
Elfreth's Alley was built in the 18th century, around the time William Penn founded Pennsylvania. The town boomed shorty after.
Some of your ancestors may have even up here. Many artisans and craftsmen lived in Elfreth's Alley. There was also a point of incredible diversity housing Catholics, Jewish, and a even former slave.
At the time of the Industrial Revolution many immigrants from Europe lived here. Fast Forward to the 20th century and the alley was rundown and nearly demolished. in 1934 a group came together to restore the alley and the colonial houses. They knew how special this area was and still is. Without the 32 houses that line the streets there would be less to celebrate when it comes to the lives of everyday Americans.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

X-Country Skiing at Breckenridge Nordic Center

Step down. Kick the Ball. Glide. That’s all you need to know and what do you got? The basics of cross country skiing. These thoughts ran thorough my head throughout the day, and luckily didn’t fall out when I fell down. I know, I didn’t think it was possible to fall cross-country skiing, otherwise I would have padded myself up with pillows!
The beauty of cross country skiing is that it can be picked up in a day, is more affordable than skiing, and offers a break just to shake it up. I shook it up at the Breckenridge Nordic Center. There are over 30 km of groomed trails for skiing, and 18 km for snowshoeing.
I thought groomed meant the paths were plowed and we wouldn’t be breaking powder. But even better, they are grooved: groovy was my next thought. If you place your skis in the two grooves you feel like you are on a rollercoaster. Uphill, downhill, or flat the grooves help you stay on course. But as I learned, the trail can demount, and knock some sense into you.
The trails range from green, blue and black…I was headed on troll trail and since I had no luck finding any, I started to venture towards Shock Hill and that’s when I noticed that sense knocked into me. I decided to stick to the grooves only on blues and greens. No blacks, that may have ended up in a black eye.
Trail passes and rentals are each 17 dollars, I mean that’s not even a twenty, which I think is a fabulous deal for a day’s entertainment. And I also entertained the instructor in my lesson when I took him down with me while learning to turn. You can also take an instructor to the ground…lessons range from 47 dollars to thirty-six dollars. Trails are open seven days a week from 9-4.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Colorado Midland Railroad

Copy and paste this link for interview with Colorado Midland Railway.

Colorado Midland Railroad

My wheels were chugga chugga choo choo’ing as I rolled into the Colorado Midland Railroad. The model railroad that is housed in the basement of Union Station has a history dating back to 1933. The “original” Colorado Midland Railroad was found abandoned in 1920. Since the railroad has gained traction with modern additions and restoring the old.
The rails keep running solely on passion. Members meet regularly to work make improvements to the rails and even bring in some of their own toys to add on. The money to keep the tracks turning comes completely from donations, initiation fees and membership dues.
Inside you will hear trains steering and see over 4,000 feet of track surrounded by Colorado scenery. There are materials that date back to WWII and through today’s most up to date materials. There are details to be explored…see if you can spot the man scaling the mountain, an alligator or tow truck…watch out! Note the personality of the laid out towns that rails run through. Colorado is represented with authentic gravel and dirt from local rail yards.
It has been said that everyone has a story, but in the case of the Colorado Midland Railroad, it makes sure that you will leave with one to tell as well.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Rockies Opening Day

Rockies opening should probably just be declared a Colorado holiday. Black and purple flood the streets. Even the city of Denver is in on the action by painting a purple stripe eighteen inches wide down Blake Street. Everyone is beaming as much as the sun is shining. And many call in for a “sick” day, which the day is pretty sick, so a lie is not even told!
Even though the Rox lost by a single run in extra innings on the first day of April, fans still walked out counting down till 6:10 the following night for game two of the series against the Diamond Backs.
And the fans will do anything to show their love for the Rox. I came across two fans that looked like they took a beating. Turns out they did. This duo slept on the cold concrete overnight to try and get tickets to the rock pile. When they made it to the ticket window their hearts stopped. Sold out, but they were given two vouchers to use for another game. Still they sat outside the home plate entrance to hear the wave of fans cheering when the Rox had a victory of any size, home run, base hit, an out for the Diamond Backs. And good thing there is DVR because after the game they planned on watching it from the top.
Another guy sat outside because he said he could never afford to spend nearly 100 dollars to even sit in rock pile. But he could show his support in other ways by striding with the crowds and replying to the other side of the street “ROCKIES,” after they screamed “LETS GO.”
And Blake Street will still be a party through Rocktober. There are still 80 some games and you know what that means? A lot of people are saving up their sick days by staying healthy to cheer on those Rox. The spirit of the city!