Saturday, January 28, 2012

Everything is, better than, ok

What a beautiful day.

After a week of rehabilitating snow and wet-cold, working long days, being slightly down in the dumps - January 27th came along, and made everything ok.

I walked out of work early in the afternoon, and was greeted by the bluest sky and brightest sun, I'd seen in weeks. It was warm in the rays - so much so that I could take off my big puffy jacket. It was so nice, I was motivated to take my pup, Milli, for a walk. We walked up the hill, and back down, then over to Island Lake park. It was so beautiful. The water was still. The blue sky reflecting off the calm surface - but the trees' reflection was muddled - blurry. It wasn't till I took a close look, that I realized the lake's center was covered in a thin sheet of ice.

You can see the clear tips of the trees on the water where the ice stops.
The feeling I had, was that of standing outside on a sunny day and feeling rain on your skin - how is this possible. How could a day be so cold, but so sunny. It didn't matter. I loved it.

Later, in the evening, Chad and I were invited to a birthday party. The party in and of itself was wonderful! The highlight of course was celebrating one friend, with many others. But, there was a single event within the party that will stick with me forever. My friend Clark, whose house we were at, brought out a lantern, while we were out by the fire. He told a story about how these lanterns have marked significant moments throughout his life, and thought that this, our common friends birthday, should be marked as well. He lit the latern, and told us all to make a wish. Then it simply took off, slowly, rising into the sky. It went so high, a serene feeling passed over the crowd - we all watched it till it was a mere speck in the night sky.

I found myself having a hard time making a wish. I thought it should be significant in some way... but I realized I love my life so much, and am so happy with where I am, that I couldn't come up with one. So I just watched it float up, hoping that all things in life stay as great as they are.

January 27, 2012 - I'm glad you happened.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Our Tuesday Off, A Non-Snow Day

A foot of snow? Last night? Today? Tonight? On the road? Preventing any kind of driving? Bah.

The sun was out. The sky is blue. So we took advantage of it.

My drive to work on Monday morning.
Today has been awesome! Chad and I have been effective, busy, humans today!

Woke up, made a real, home-cooked breakfast and coffee. Then Chad went out to a dentist appointment (he had a tooth, that was eating away at his lower jaw bone, removed) and got his hair cut. I stayed home and ran 5 miles - only the second time I've ever run this distance. The first time was two days ago on Saturday - when I did it in 73.5 minutes. Today I did it in just 63.0 minutes.

Once Chad returned, we went to Costco - stocked up on all the good stuff - then to Wholesale Sports where we got some 20 gauge for my shotgun.

The real fun started when we got home - and we assembled our counter-flow wort chiller. I've been planning this stupid thing since our first day brewing. I was talking to every brewer at Big Brew about their chosen wort cooling method - everyone agreed that the counter-flow system was the most effective.... but expensive. I came home that night and researched the system on the internet. We could buy a new, manufactured one for a daunting $120 (including shipping, but who knows about tax).... or according to a few home-builders - we could make (what looked like) an over-engineered, complicated one for $70.... still stupid. I knew I could do better.

So I came up with this, which we assembled and tested today. Remember this was only a test - nothing has been sealed and this is not its final configuration. But holy crap, it worked. And it worked, perfectly. Water from the pot, that was just a minute before boiling - going through a mere 10 feet of tubing - ended up in the bowl below at a perfect 66 degrees. If this were a real brew, we could pitch the yeast directly - and we still have a solid 10 degrees of breathing room.

During this experiment, I finished my other greatest accomplishment of the day - I made my favorite pie. A chocolate-chip cookie pie. Delicious.

I can't wait to see what tomorrow brings - especially since we are "expecting" another foot of snow tonight, and another 3-7 feet tomorrow!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Babies, Wine and Smiles

Happy New Year!!

Where the hell did last year go?! Who the heck knows! Seriously, we were hanging out in Kelseyville one second, and the next.... wait? I didn't tell you about Kelseyville, Napa and the two new babies?! Well, are you behind!

I should start by telling you that Chad and I had a grand christmas. We opened presents, we talked to family on the phone, we had dinner with friends, I got my slippers!!! (finally...). It was great. Then I got the stomach flu, we took down the tree and lights, and found ourselves in the car... at 2am... driving south.

In the mountains just north of Yreka
Luckily! This was the plan! (well, everything but the stomach flu...) We were on the way to meet our babies! Rather, THE babies, the new babies in our lives. First stop Kelseyville, CA, where Bri, Zeff and Baby Drayton live! Then down to Napa - where Crystal, DJ and Baby Davyn were visiting!

We stayed in Kelseyville for four days total - mostly hanging out, talking, and drinking beer - the best kind of vacation. Little Man Dray was freaking fantastic! He was a big dude for seven months old - standing on his own, but not yet crawling (I think he's gonna skip that step, personally). The best part was he liked me too! We hung out, me holding him up on my lap, him bouncing and giggling. Chad hung out with him a bunch too - especially on the day that Bri and I escaped the house and went wine tasting! Oh my goodness... Clear Lake wine is amazing... Anyways, as all good things have to, our visit had to end... Bri and Zeff were the BEST hosts! And Chad and I had a great time! So, New Years Eve, we found ourselves in the car again, driving south to Napa.

Me and Dray playing the morning we left.

 At Vigilance Winery
Just so happened, we had one quick stop on our way there - Bri had given me a 2-for-1 ticket for a winery in Calistoga - Envy. It WAS Chad's turn to try some wine...

I had never been to Napa before - and what a great excuse we had: meeting our new nephew Davyn! Originally, our plan was to drive down to San Diego to meet him - but it worked out that Crystal and DJ were up in Napa visiting his mom. New Years Eve, C&DJ brought over Davyn - he was sleeping, but Chad got to hold him. He was soooo little! Only 12 weeks. A spitting image of his dad. After the introduction we all went to dinner at Downtown Joes - a brewery in downtown Napa! It was a great night - that ended with Chad and Me asleep by 10:30! Lame.. I know.... but we made up for it the next day - with the help of four wineries and dinner with the family. Again though, we had to say our goodbyes... 

Chad and Davyn the night we had to leave

Chad and Crystal (his sister) on New Years Eve
A great trip. Part road trip, part family reunion. It can all be summed up in three words: babies, wine and smiles.