Archive for December, 2010

All That Glitters…

December 27, 2010

Aaaah… January 2nd is getting closer and no longer a distant dream for I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I’m not looking forward to it as much this year as last because the bug is in school and that means that we have one whole week of her being home every day and no “special” occasions. Of all of this year’s swag, it seems the favorite item is the cape and mask and if you were thinking of any evil-doing in the near future, I suggest you think twice…

Apparently this superhero’s name is irrelevant because I haven’t heard any declarations that start with “I am…”. But as batman has his robin and green hornet has his cato, this superhero has her… well, it’s a grinch but his name is unimportant also…

The grinch, when he’s just a grinch and not a superhero sidekick, has begun an ongoing debate between the bug and I which centers around whether he has a butt. I say no and she says yes. Of course she wants him to so she can stick it in my face and say… look at his butt. But I’m standing my ground (albeit shaky) and maintaining that since his mouth is sewn shut that he’s like the scarecrow or the tinman and needs no sustenance and obviously no butt. I think I’m losing this battle. The “extravagant” gift this year was an electronic keyboard.

It’s probably evidence of dad’s deep desire for playing music to be a part of her life but how to engender that when I cannot play it myself is a mystery to me. We have subtly hinted about lessons and Sofia’s consistent position is that she already knows how to play and will willingly show me anytime I bring it up. She bangs around on the keyboard sans rhythm or melody and softly plays discordant sounds (maybe all that Coltrane and Charlie Parker when she was younger is backfiring). Anyway, the bug can not only already play, she’s giving lessons…

Now about glitter, I’d like to say… glitter be damned. Part of the xmas swag was one of those spinning paint thingies (that requires, of all things, a size C battery… really?, they still make things with size C, clearly I’m out of the battery loop) that spins like a ceramics throwing wheel and you drip paint while it spins and the centrifugal force makes the paint fly out from the center. So I was making barley soup yesterday and the bug was happily making spin paintings at the kitchen table. Well, included in the package with the paints were two vials of glitter. When I finally decided to check out the finished works I found that there was gold and silver glitter completely covering the spinner, the table top, the bug, the chair, and the floor. I thought, well I’ll clean the glitter up with a paper towel because if I used a regular kitchen towel, it would get into the washer and dryer and then onto the other clothes, etc. When it was time to clean up, I went after the glitter with a damp paper towel and it didn’t work very well and to make a long story short, the glitter cleanup efforts were less than desired. Of course this reminded me of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster and how the radioactive Pripyat River’s water slowly makes its way to the ocean and over a period of time (unknown to me), the radiation, although diluted, is present in all the water on earth. So as I was “cleaning” the glitter it got all over the bottom of my shoes and wouldn’t readily come off them either and then there was Sofia’s feet, clothes, hands and I’ve already seen trace glitter on the living room furniture and the dog. I’ve thrown both vials away but I’m afraid the little specks are gonna be part of our lives for some time to come. Glitter be damned! My only other kvetch is about the batteries. I rarely purchase anything with batteries except the car and the camera and they’re both rechargeable. So aside from one thing requiring a C battery and the other AAA’s (I just thought I would be able to use my rechargeable AA’s), the little plastic piece of shite that is the cover for the battery enclosure has a tiny phillip’s head screw that in addition to being so small you would need an eyeglass repair screwdriver to fit into it, the damn thing is made out of metal that’s about as hard as wet porcelain. One turn and the head is stripped. I had to break the little plastic door to get it open. I’m sure that these things are old hat to all you experienced parents but I’m re-swearing off battery-operated toys. And the glitter, don’t get me started… glitter be damned!

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Mr. Claws Is Coming…

December 24, 2010

Sounds ominous to me… how sharp are these claws anyway. I’ve been trying to convince Sofia that the reason behind Santa’s name is because he has remarkable claws and that it seems that it might be better to rename him Santa Fingernails or just plain Santa Fingers but she’s not buying it. I believe that 6 years old will be the year where I lose my dad mojo and that there’s gonna be a whole lotta things that I tell her that she’s not gonna buy. Regardless, the bug is definitely excited…

Twas the night before xmas and all through the house… not a creature was stirring, not even that mouse that committed hari kari in the previous post. They just don’t write them like that anymore. Or like these, we just finished these two and we’re on to “The Lost Princess Of Oz”…

No doubt the bug will be rapt during this next one because it’s about a princess… look, just shoot me now with the princess crap. Some long time readers may remember my ongoing efforts to thwart the princess crap with this post I did but, like I said, she’s stopped buying it. Of course, people surreptitiously giving her these d1sney books are not helping… in fact, I feel like I’m spitting in the wind. So a week or so ago, she announced that she was gonna copy a book… meaning that she was going to draw the picture on each page of the book that she was copying. I figured that she would draw a few pics and move on but she diligently made it through. When finished, we collated the pages and stapled the book together…

Then…

Then…

Then…

Then…

And apparently it’s not over yet. I’m extremely ambivalent about this because on the one hand, I truly do hate that princess bullshite where the helpless girl is rescued by the prince, knight, upright bass jazz combo member or whatever but I’m also impressed by the dogged determination she displayed toward, what seems to me, a long term goal for that age group. So onto more evidence of my failing, what? I don’t know… eyesight, general awareness, wherewithal, astuteness, etc. It was last Sunday and I wanted to get Sofia a pad of drawing paper to match the size of a pad she already had so we went over to h0bby l0bby and as you approach the shopping center where it’s located, there’s a stop sign. On the right are some other stores and to the immediate left is the store in question. There is not a car in the entire lot and I quickly deduced that they were not open. So I turned left but instead of staying on the frontage road, I pulled into the empty parking lot to swing around and make a loop to return from whence I came. As I enter the lot and start to loop, I started to look over at the door which was quite a ways off to see if maybe the hours posted on the door might inform me that they open late on that day. As I’m making this loop, all of a sudden a horrible, loud crash shocked the hell out of me. I was momentarily disoriented because we felt impact but there was nothing apparent that made the crashing sensation. I instinctively braked as soon as it happened, so I put the car in drive and got out only to see that I had, without any braking whatsoever, run over the handicapped parking sign. Aside from being pissed, I was incredulous that I could have driven right over something this obvious without even having a glimpse of it in my mind. Unfortunately, I didn’t have my camera with me and when I went back (like a devoted blogger will), the sign was gone and the 4 inch metal stub of the pole where the sign had snapped off had been laboriously removed leaving only this pathetic memento of my obliviousness…

The irony of this to me is that if I’m going to continue to drive in this manner, maybe the handicapped driver is me and I should get one of those little sticker thingies to hang from my rear view mirror. On to the damage… I lucked out here but this is how the vehicle starts its general decline until it looks like the previous vehicle. Or as my mom used to say when raising 5 kids and how Sofia’s mom has already started saying… “why can’t we have anything nice?” To that, I usually think to myself… I’m pretty nice. Obviously it’s not a time to get philosophical. So the pole left two vertical “lacerations” in the plastic bumper and shattered the light…

It’s not the headlight proper it’s the one below it that is where a foglight usually is but I think with these F0resters, it may be the bright lights. Regardless, I think I can repair it with little expense…

That’s all I got. Happy Holidays! and come on January 2nd!

Post 400/Arcilla Mojada…

December 18, 2010

To celebrate my 400th post, I give you real life nonsense. You know arcilla mojada right? If you order your clay from certain clay companies, it’s stamped right on the 50lb. box…

I mean if you speak spanish, right? You know when you go into a public place and there’s a small yellow “caution cone” on the recently mopped floor with the words “caution, wet floor” and directly below it says, “cuidado, piso mojado”. So, not to belabor the point any more than I already have piso mojado = wet floor and arcilla mojada = moist clay (or wet clay). Well, yesterday Sofia had her 3rd day off from school for the week because of weather and we were meeting my friend Vern for lunch. We all went to our favorite Thai place but the buffet was not up (I think their margins are so low that they simply couldn’t afford to prepare a whole buffet for the limited # of customers who would brave the roads). So we went to this Mexican restaurant in another neighborhood. After a rousing conversation about fairies, cel phones, texting and the failing educational system, I went up to the counter to pay and the man at the register (also our waiter) handed me a blurry (my glasses were back at the table) plastic card that was identical in shape and material to a credit card sans the impressed letters and numbers. He mumbled something that I wouldn’t have understood if he did speak english well and, against my better judgment, I decided on the spur of the moment to engage. My immediate thought was that the only thing I could use the blurry card for was as a throwing rib, so I said, “I’ll use it to throw with.” Of course, most english speaking people would have misunderstood and he looked at me puzzled. I said, I make pots and made the universal sign for “throwing a pot” and he didn’t know what that was either. Luckily, I can compensate for my inability to make small talk with quick access to obscure analogies that only I understand right on the spot and remembering that of all the spanish I do NOT know, I know the word for clay. So I figured I’m gonna make a bit of a breakthrough and the young spanish speaking gentleman may think twice before overtly making fun of my haircut to the other waiters and assuming that I don’t know what he’s saying. I say, “you know… arcilla”, and I pronounce it correctly with the double LL as a Y sound. He says, “Garcia?”. Now I’m thinking, well, in for a penny, in for a pound (fortunately I didn’t say that out loud) and I more loudly and carefully say, “no ar ci lla, you know arcilla mojada.” By now another waiter comes walking up and the first one is shaking his head and the other one gives him that “what’s wrong?”-look and he nods his head in my direction and says, arcilla, pronouncing it like it’s chinese or something. Now they’re both shaking there head with furrowed brows and I look at the second guy and say, “arcilla mojada?” He says, “garcia?” I say no, arcilla again. Now keep in mind that up to this point what is also racing through my head simultaneously is that I just said the word “moist” twice, coupled with a word that is apparently unknown, to two strange men and that of course reminds me of trying to speak Italian to a man in Italy about my grandfather but mistakenly using the word for boyfriend instead of the word for grandfather. But that story another time. Then I take my receipt and write arcilla on the back and show it to him…

He proceeds to get out his cel phone and I think he’s looking it up and the irony of a spanish speaking man looking up a spanish word on the internet is too much so I take my wallet out again and show him my business card which has a bowl on it. He gives me the puzzled look again and then I think, the word for porcelain has to be close to porcelena so I say, “porcelena” (pronouncing it por sell ay na), and he says, “ah porcelana (pronouncing it por sell on a) and I figure I’m home free. So I try one last time, porcelana y arcilla mojada, la misma. They both look at me and one says no comprendo arcilla. So I said thanks and returned to the table. I still cannot believe that an adult in any language could grow up without knowing the word for clay. I actually started doubting myself and looked it up when I got home and arcilla is clay. Maybe they were screwing with me but I can read people well enough to know usually and I’m certain they were for real. Moving on to other mysteries, the night before last, we were putting the bug to bed and I was reading her another Wizard of Oz book and Mom was there with us and downstairs was a loud bang. I didn’t think anything of it because our house is always making noises. Mom goes downstairs first and after I say my “goodnights”, I head down. The dog is in the foyer on a blanket and I walk into the living room and Mom says, “go look in the kitchen”. I thought, what did Sunglasses do now? So I walk in and see this (and like a true CSI, I did not alter the scene)…

At first I jumped to some false conclusions and then realized it really was a Holmes-ian problem (or maybe a Colonel Mustard-ian) but the dog didn’t do it and she was out in the foyer sleeping. So after about 10 minutes of astute deductive reasoning, the best case answer to the murine seppuku (harakiri) is that Mom left the bread knife precariously balanced on the edge of the sink and the mouse in question ventured out from the fulcrum enough to cause it to tip quickly so that the mouse fell to the floor immediately followed by the knife which subsequently landed on his mouse noggin. Excuse the description but this is detective work, the mouse flailed a bit before conceding to the grim reaper of the fields. But, and I hate to be accused of conflation, what are the chances of a mouse actually infesting my kitchen and killing himself? I’ll tell you, it’s about the same chance as finding a spanish-speaking man who doesn’t know what arcilla means? After lunch Vern gave me this beautiful print which I now need to frame…

Here’s a digital picture of it that’s better for looking at on the computer…

Last but not least, Rand and Linda sent me a bunch of photos combining the events of organizing the beer cooler and trying out the camera on their new phone. They sent me a bunch of shots but I particularly like this one of Rand using the beer glass I made enjoying a nice cold one while becoming a nice cold one inside of his newly organized cooler amongst his many many darling brews…

And here’s a shot of the previously much disheveled cooler…

Drink With The Beer Wench/Club 53 Begins…

December 12, 2010

When it rains it pours… right after Eli posted my beer glasses over at the Confessions Of A Beer Geek I got an email from the Beer Wench letting me know that her post about those very beer vessels had just been posted. And a wonderful post it was, thank you Ashley!…

So if you’re interested in the craft brewing scene, head on over to Drink With The Wench and immerse yourself in the wonderful world of cerveza. Before I move along to the first installment of Club 53, here’s just a taste, or should I say nip? as in catnip, of (someone’s?) xmas card that the bug and I worked on today…

Friday night began Club 53 and a very inauspicious start for me it was. Just as I was leaving the house, the bug started screaming and apparently had gotten some jalapeno pepper juice on her finger and then rubbed her eye. I left after calming her down and went to the birthday boy’s house (Ray’s) and he drove us to meet the others at a new place downtown called The Beer Store. Sounds like a good name, so we went in and of course there was beer everywhere which is always good. We ordered a couple and I reached for my wallet and got that horrible feeling that everyone gets when they reach for their wallet and it’s not there. So I drove Ray’s car back to my house and figured my wallet was right where I always put it but it wasn’t. I got very frustrated checking pants pockets in the dryer etc. before finally finding it. Back down to the Beer Store and things evened out after that. My only criticism of the new place (and it’s not a valid criticism for hardly anyone… only me) is that it’s a hep place but hasn’t even one chair and when you have my plantar fasciitis problem, the thought of standing for hours is not welcome. Anyway, here’s Ray who’s now 53 and is having something very important explained to him…

Here’s the rest of our motley bunch (Al and Jeff), myself excluded…

All in all it was a great deal of fun and we drank some good birra. Here’s a shot of the wall as you enter the bar…

Notice the hand on the right side of the pic. That’s the hand of the venison jerky pusher (did I mention that it’s organic… not his hand, the jerky). Ray purchased some Jamaican hot jerky and some other kind of venison jerky and relying on the excuse that I had been drinking, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to point out a connection betwixt the venison vendor and myself by telling him about my buckskin jacket that my uncle had made from a deer he shot back in the day. He wasn’t nearly as fascinated by this coincidental buckskin vortex we had stepped into but he was polite about his disinterest. Jeff of the motley crew shot gave us all a print he had done as a demo for his class, Bill Monroe…

So home at 2:00 a.m. and up at 7:00 a.m. with the bug, pack some pots and head to the post office at 9:45 only to find out that my favorite P.O. closes at 9:30 on Saturday… why open at all? From 8 – 9:30? Whatever… onto the spherical puzzle. When I visited central NY for the holidays, Sofia and I went to get coffee the first morning there and she was running low on drawing paper so we were in this unfamiliar shopping center thing and we went into a store called Tuesday M0rn1ng and it just happened to be tuesday. I thought it was the most likely place I could find a pad of paper and although they didn’t have one, they had some Ravensberger puzzles for very cheap and I bought two. I recently came to the conclusion that these Ravensberger puzzles are the best ones out there. After getting several “made in China” puzzles for Sofia, I was beginning to think that they didn’t make good puzzles anymore. The chinese jigsaw puzzles are made of thin cardboard and half the time the pieces don’t stay put which is enough to turn any 3 or 4 year old off from doing jigsaw puzzles for life. The Ravensberger ones are thick, heavy duty pieces and each cut is unique so you cannot put the wrong piece in place of the correct piece. Anyway, one of the puzzles was one of these globe puzzles and the pieces are plastic. It’s not so much a puzzle as an beginner’s engineering problem. Bucky Fuller would be proud though. Anyway the pieces are numbered on the inside…

No way a 6 year old could do this without using the numbers but it was fun…

Well, got more pots on Etsy than I ever had before and I still have some more to post on Monday. That’s all I got.

Demigod Beer Glasses…

December 7, 2010

Busy, busy, extremely busy… where to begin? How about here…

That’s the Autumn Stout (said to be good for a hangover) that my cousin, Rand, sent me home with from thanksgiving. It was a dreamy dark brew and went well with the barley potato zuppa we had for supper. So demigods… I may have to change the slogan on my beer poster. “Ceramic Beer Mugs Of The Demigods” is the title of the post today over at a great beer blog I was checking out called “Confessions Of A Beer Geek” run by Eli “The Mad Man of Beer” Shayotovich. I have to confess myself that I agree with Eli when he states, “Beer is the elixir of the gods. A refreshing beverage made of hops, barley and a pantheon of other delicacies that when looked at properly – through beer goggles perhaps, has quite literally changed the entire course of human history.” Anyway, if you get a hankerin’ and feel like reading about beer and getting thirstier and thirstier, head over to Eli’s blog and find out what’s going on in the craft beer world. It’s been an etsy week, uploading pots all day and I think I have more pieces in the store than any one time before…

I’m glad to report having to go to the post office more than usual which brings me to my little story of the day of things that always seem to happen to me or when I’m around or maybe I was just the only one listening. I went to the post office which is a relatively unknown p.o. at a “retirement community” place. There are lots of ancient people there who prefer to weigh there letters before mailing them but compared to a regular city p.o., this place is relatively un-crowded. So I’m in line and I’m about 6 back. At the counter is an old woman (maybe just a bit older than me) fussing about her packages but I’m fine because the line isn’t that long. Number 3 in line is a young woman, probably around 35, with her back to me and she has a small package but I cannot see it. When she finally gets up to the counter (I would estimate that she had waited a good 10 – 15 minutes), she puts a small cardboard container on the counter which is not taped closed and has no addresses on it. She says to the postal clerk, “I’ve got a tv remote, a wallet with ID, a cel phone charger and ____ (something I didn’t hear) in here.” The confused but nonplussed postal clerk says, “where would you like to send it?”. The woman says, “I want to send it to my brother.” The clerk says, “You’ll have to have an address, can you put an address on it?”. The woman says, “OK” and steps out of line and moves over to a small table off to the side and calls (her brother?) on her cel. I’m still standing in line and I’m not suggesting that I have a problem with eavesdropping (it’s one of my favorite activities) but everyone could hear. She says, “I’m here at the Post Office and they say I need your address.” Then, “I’ve got your tv remote, your wallet with the ID in it, phone charger and ____ (something I didn’t hear again) ready to go”. I’m thinking, not so sure how “ready to go” they really are… I mean I can’t believe these fascists at the post office have to bother everyone by making them get an address and put it on the package in order to mail it? Fortunately, transcribing the complex address information from the vibrations coming into her ear down through her arm, into her hand and out through the nib of the pen onto some paper took longer than it did for me to get to the counter and finish my business. This year… mailing a package, next year… selling online. Speaking of “delicate vibrations”, Sofia and I finished this book last week…

And in this book, written in 1914, the true inventor of the wireless telephone is revealed…

It’s the Wizard Of Oz! That really was some wizardry wasn’t it? Little did he know that it would sweep the planet and turn us all into a bunch of texting twits, killing each other on the highway while letting our friend know that we’re heading over to Target. In other news the holiday sale at the Mount St. Francis monastery went pretty well this weekend. I had the bug all weekend and think she tolerated being there with nothing to do pretty well. Of course, of the work there, she seemed to like Brian Somerville’s squirrel piece the best (Brian does tons of great carving on his pieces)…

Well, back to etsy, gotta go upload some demigod beer glasses. Here’s the bug playing dressup again…

Three, Four, Shut The Damn Door…

December 3, 2010

Actually, the rhyme goes 3,4 knock at the door, but no matter. For about 3 days running the bug has been walking around the house (and maybe school too) loudly reciting… 1,2 buckle my shoe, 3,4 shut the damn door. This is my last Thanksgiving post but first I wanted to point out to any locals that there’s a Holiday Sale that my friend, Steven Cheek, invited me to up at the monastery where he runs the pot shop…

If you get a hankerin’, drop on by… it lasts all weekend and the opening is tonight starting at 6. So one of things we do each year (although it was much more fun when my dad was alive and my mom lived in NY) is go bowling. Sofia had a pretty good time after we found a 6 pound ball that she could handle…

Looks like she might make this split…

Over the years bowling has changed of course and most of it has to do with how the scores are kept and bumper rails to prevent the younguns from getting tons of gutterballs. The addition of “stats” to the display of everyone’s scores is ever increasing and this year included a description of where your second shot had to go to get a spare if the first shot didn’t strike. But immediately upon arrival I noticed a new stat that I was certain was going to change the afternoon’s bowling and of course guarantee a terrible score… MPH. Why do we need to know miles per hour? PJ and I started right in on trying to throw the ball as hard as we possibly could and although I eventually won that contest with a blistering 18.8 mph, my score was terrible and I found out the hard way yet another thing not to do when you suffer from plantar fasciitis… plant the left foot and wrench a 16 pound ball as hard as you can down the lane. I’d say live and learn but I’m not learning. Next year I guess they’ll include a stat about the amount of displacement in the side of a pin as the ball makes impact… but that would still only encourage throwing the ball as hard as possible. And of course I don’t think Sofia liked bowling as much as wrassling with her favorite cousin, PJ…

Not sure but I don’t think PJ enjoyed it as much as she did. Then, on two occasions, the bug played dressup for hours with cousin Kerri (she was so happy during this picture)…

On to pots, I posted these four to etsy yesterday. I love this glaze (clicking sends you to etsy)…

Parental Amnesia…

December 2, 2010

When we drove back from central NY this year, my niece accompanied us and we talked about her college experiences and future plans while we were speeding along toward Kentucky. After a while the conversation reminded me of events that I remember from my youth. This got me thinking of two intersecting phenomena that have always amazed me whenever I witness them. One is that adults (especially those with children) tend to forget how bad or mischievous or immature they were when they were the age of their kids and all the poor judgments they made. What’s worse is many of them present this disinfected persona to children as though it was real. The other phenomenon is that our kids, nieces, nephews and grandchildren tend to not really believe that we were ever young and did any of the things they are currently doing. Interestingly, one side’s deceit and the other’s obliviousness dovetail and actually support the idea that we actually never were young… we just popped out of the womb fully grown and in my case, complete with cat-like reflexes. Seeing as how I had just visited my cousin, Rand, and had many tasty beers with him which I talked about in the previous post, I thought I would tell one of my favorite “Rand and me” stories from when we were very young. I don’t have pictures so I’m going to have to resort to international symbols again. We must have been 12 or 13 years old and we would always go to Rand’s house after school, mostly because it was easier to get into mischief there. At the time of this event (and others like it), his dad used to get home in the early afternoon and when we got to his house, he would be asleep on the couch…

So there lie the sleeping giant as they said in “Tora, Tora, Tora” and what an irresistible target he was. Anyway, Rand and I would go into the kitchen and get a large plastic drinking cup out of the cupboard…

Next, whichever of us could, would fart into the cup while it was held fast to the buttocks so as not to allow any of methane mixture to escape…

Then while the cup was still held flush with the blaster’s butt, the perpetrator would slide his flat hand between the mouth of the cup and the butt trapping the fetid gas inside the vessel…

Then with practiced dexterity, the carrier of the “torch” in one swift motion (or fell swoop) would hold the cup over the sleeping father’s (or cousin’s) nose while quickly taking away the hand that trapped the odor…

In a scene of hilarity that still makes me smile just thinking about it, Rand’s dad would wake like an angry bear shocked out of hibernation, confused about being awakened and the horrible odiousness simultaneously. By the time it occurred to him that, once again, it was us… we were running away laughing as hard as I ever remember laughing…

Of course his dad would come after us swearing all the way but this did not dissuade us when the opportunity arose again. So once again, I’m just a mere potter in the midwest and the AIGA up in Chicago or New York is willfully neglecting yet another much needed international symbol. Look AIGA, I’ve already done the legwork, you can use the symbol royalty free but if you don’t act soon those damn stockphoto places with snatch it up and then nobody will get to use it without paying…

Here’s the beer glasses I uploaded yesterday (clicking goes to etsy)…

Happy Beerday…

December 1, 2010

So for the last few years, there’s been one day of the year that’s devoted to beer and I have my cousin Rand to thank for supplying all the beer. I posted about my visit last year and if you get a hankerin’, you can check it out here and that link reminded me that I had a hematoma this time last year from running full speed into my coffee table which I also blogged about here. This year was hardly as dramatic as the bug and I made the drive without Mom, who had to work. We arrived Monday night and finalized that Wednesday would be the day to visit Rand. Sofia decided to stay overnight and play with her cousin so I drove up around 3:30 and we started tasting right away. Here’s the brewer himself…

I gave him a couple of my beer glasses too (he’s only holding one, the other is the coffee because this was the following morning)

My brother Ken came too but he was waiting to see if my nephew would arrive home from Virginia in time to accompany us but alas he was stuck in traffic, so Ken didn’t get there until Rand and I were well under way. Rand’s son and my cousin Jib (pictured in the previous post) showed up later too. Linda made some very yummy chili and we all ate and drank for some time. Linda’s cut off in the top picture (sorry Linda, I took another pic of you but it was so blurry that you couldn’t tell it was you). Anyway, we started with 3 pumpkin ales, moved on to black IPA, IPA, double IPA, brown ale, spruce ale, wit, tripel, baltic porter, more baltic porter and storter (which is Rand’s combination of stout and porter). The order of these is wrong and incomplete but I was enjoying the beer. After eating and tasting about 25 beers (maybe more), I started to get sick. This was not sick due to drinking (I know what you’re thinking… yeah, right), I could feel a sore throat coming on and general malaise. Around 11 pm I figured if I didn’t lie down I was gonna die. So I was the wimp this year for sure… come to think of it I was the wimp last year too. By the way the beers I had were only a few ounces, not full glasses. The next morning I was sick and hungover (I’m still ailing now) and I went to my sister’s house for thanksgiving dinner and stayed in the recliner all day praying for death. The gnocchi was good but I probably could’ve eaten much more if I didn’t feel so bad. Of course when I woke up, Rand suggested that a nice glass of stout sometimes made him feel better when he was under the weather. That morning I took more pics of his operation, here’s the converted freezers with taps in them (I posted pics of them last year but he added more to the ends of the freezer that now total 16)…

Here’s the inside of the freezer and a glamor “tube shot”…

The following is the area where the cooking takes place…

On to the cooler, here’s Rand coming out or going in…

And the inside of the cooler, more beers than can be drunk…

Of course the underlying story behind all the brewing is that the beer is slowly taking over their house as evidenced by the sign on the downstairs bathroom door…

In the bathroom on the floor are several more batches all snugly wrapped with towels and hissing away as they ferment…

All in all and despite getting sick, I always look forward to and enjoy visiting Rand as we were inseparable when we were kids and got into tons of trouble together. So anyway, it was good to see my cousin again. Speaking of beer glasses, I posted these yesterday and probably more today (clicking goes to Etsy)…