Best Place to Entertain Yourself After Breaking Your Leg

Swedish Medical Center

Swedish Medical Center
Medical emergencies aren't known for being fun, since they're often accompanied by blood, exposed bones, scrambled viscera, agonizing pain and more blood. So credit Swedish Medical Center with providing patients and their loved ones with a high-tech way to keep their minds off more unpleasant matters. Stalls in the emergency section of the hospital are outfitted with computers whose oversized screens and keyboards are mounted on swivel arms that extend over gurneys for easy access. Visitors can use the computers to watch any of 25 or so cable-television channels (the same selections available in regular rooms at Swedish), surf the Internet or play a variety of games. Getting hurt has seldom been so entertaining.
Are Jesus and Buddha friends? The supporters of St. Paul's Methodist Church's weekly Christian/Buddhist contemplation hour think so. Every Sunday, the Capitol Hill church hosts a low-key, hour-long service that mates Buddhist and Christian philosophy and practice. The interfaith congregants are a reflection of the neighborhood's eclecticism -- expect aspiring monks in robes and housewives in sweats -- and the program rotates like a prayer wheel. Most weeks, speakers from local temples and churches, including Christian pastors and Tibetan nuns, guide meditations and give talks on everything from right speech to redemption. The services provide an open, casual introduction to both Christian and Eastern practice. Be here now.
The second and fourth Tuesday of each month, Arvada's D Note welcomes Church at the Bar. Run by the local and open-minded Connected Life church group, it's the only service in town during which attendees can celebrate the Holy Spirit with spirits and good craft beer. Bar-hoppers thirsty for a few shots of spirituality now have no excuse for skipping church.
Spiritways
The next time you're out shopping for incense, a Balinese tapestry or a dagger to use in magical rituals, try SpiritWays. The East Colfax metaphysical shop has a wicked, double-bladed dagger, or athame, for every price range, starting with a small, economical Egyptian model for $30, complete with scabbard. Check out the Gil Hibben custom design series ($120 to $150) or the particularly ornate Isis Dagger, which at $99 comes with its own wall plaque. Typically, the ceremonies these daggers are designed for don't involve the letting of blood, but make no mistake: They're sharp and, as gun-store owners like to say, "ideally suited for home defense." And you don't need a special permit to own one.
As much a museum as an antique shop, Packrat Antiques is overflowing with the weird, the odd, the curious and the bizarre. Some of the items for sale, such as vintage Western movie posters, are fairly typical, but they represent only a tiny portion of the store's willfully eccentric collection. Scientific and medical instruments from eras gone by are a specialty: There are enough twisted gizmos, gadgets and doohickeys on hand to provide props for the next five David Cronenberg movies. As a bonus, Packrat features decorative items -- such as a human skull and imitation eyes to put in it -- sure to provoke conversation, if not terror. Here's looking at you, kid.


Ever wish you'd kept all those dorky iron-on T-shirts you wore as a kid? If so, get a load of Sugar. Nestled among the vintage shops on Broadway, the year-and-a-half-old boutique has a huge selection of retro-'70s and '80s iron-on transfers -- as well as custom lettering -- that can be applied to the shirt of your choice in minutes. Fancy unicorns? Atari? Joan Jett? They've got it. Sugar also carries a modest but unique array of men's and women's retro attire, jewelry and accessories. Sweet!
In the mood to beat something with a stick? Dulcería El Pachangón has just the thing. The tiny boutique carries a colorful inventory of ready-made piatas, from Sesame Street and Simpsons characters to star shapes and animals. If you'd prefer something a tad more personal, bring in a photo of your favorite cartoon character -- or, say, your boss or significant other -- and ten days later, you'll have a papier-mché model of it, ready for stringing up and pummeling. Dulcería Pachangón also stocks a truckload of treats for birthday parties, weddings and quinceaeras. The sweets range from traditional hard candies to Mexican confections like cucumber and chile lollipops and rose chews. Scoop it up by the handful or the pound and get ready to stuff.
Composition
We use paper all the time -- to write boring memos and long grocery lists, to cover things, even to blow our noses. Composition takes paper to another level. We don't mean flimsy sheets jammed into the copy machine, but thick, grainy stationery that's perfect for writing eloquent love letters. Tucked into the corner of LoDo's Annex at the Steelbridge Lofts, Composition also carries funky journals for recording private thoughts, leather photo albums to guard precious memories, and unique greeting cards to convey the deepest of sentiments. Owner Jennifer Roberts understands that paper and design can inspire, so the next time you have something important to proclaim, let Composition help you say it.
Aspiring bards, novelists, journalists, essayists, students and screenwriters come to the Lighthouse Writers Workshop for help getting words on paper -- and maybe even into print. Taught by local pros of the pen, the classes are small, intensive and inexpensive, which means that even those on a poet's budget can afford to delve more deeply into their art. The schedule varies by season, but certain themes pop up in all of the courses offered: Lighthouse instructors emphasize storytelling, revision and breaking the blocks that inhibit creative expression. Classes are open to students of all skill levels, from novice scribes to graduate students and published authors. Even the most accomplished writer needs an editor. Sometimes they also need a teacher.
Barbara Stone's polar bears inhabit that peculiar juncture where wildlife art meets whimsy, just sidestepping kitsch. Her watercolors have surfaced in children's books, on kimonos and calendars, at the Smithsonian, and in a TV special dealing with the artist's pilgrimages to the Arctic to observe her subjects. You can find them at her gallery in Longmont, in an old church on Main Street.

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