Sunday, November 28, 2010

Beer, beer, beer, and birthdays

On our way to Julian for apple picking, Prez and I came up with a great idea - our very own brewery tour! See, San Diego has 35 breweries located throughout the county and was named by Mens Journal as the "top beer town" in the country. Thatboy and I are fans of most of the local brews, although since they tend to be on the hoppy side, he enjoys a wider selection than I do.

Realizing that Thatboy's birthday was coming up, we decided that would be a perfect time to implement our genius. Thatboy picked three breweries he wanted to visit, we invited his nearest and dearest friends, rented a giant van to cart them all around in, and we were off!

Our first stop was Green Flash Brewery.

Thatboy swears up and down I've had their beer before, but I don't know if I believe him. This brewery production is not widely available. In fact, I think I have only seen it in one store in the area, and even then they only had 2 different beers. Going to visit gave everyone an opportunity to sample most of their wares.

Everyone looked at me with apprehension as we pulled up to what looked like an industrial warehouse, but sure enough, they were handing out beer inside amidst giant metal tankards.

They also had cheese and salami laid out, which was a nice touch. Almost every opted for the "try everything" sampler.

I think there were 9 different beers, but I also think most people lost track.

Well except for Prez, who made it down to number 4 before deciding she was going to use all her "samples" to drink the first beer she tried.

Since I was driving, I stuck with one beer - the pumpkin ale.

I am SUCH a sucker for pumpkin beer, and Thatboy isn't a big fan. But even he admitted that this one didn't have the overpowering spices that most pumpkin ales have.

By the time everyone was loaded back into the van, the difference between "sober" and "drunk" was already beginning to become evident. Undaunted, I headed off to our next stop, Lost Abbey.

Thatboy and I were really looking forward to this one since it's our favorite local brewery. This time when we pulled up to an industrial looking building, no one was phased. We were quickly becoming pros.

At Lost Abbey, everyone was given 6 tasting tickets. And because everyone was so drunk from Green Flash, NO ONE used all their tickets. Luckily, the nice people at Lost Abbey let our group trade tickets for bottles to bring home before we left.

Lost Abbey was far more crowded than Green Flash, but had actual seating. It was clear that people treated it like a bar, coming on a regular basis to sit and drink. In fact, Thatboy was adopted by some of these "regulars" who filled him in on the good stuff. By the time we left Lost Abbey, Thatboy had become a die hard advocate for their "Inferno."

When I rounded up the troops to leave, "drunk" didn't even begin to describe the atmosphere in the van. Thatboy decided it would be a good time to call customer service for his new phone (he has the best wife ever) and complain about not having internet yet. When customer service couldn't hear what was going on (what with all the yelling and woo-hooing), Thatboy hung up and informed the van they were all being too drunk and ruined his chance at internet. He spent the entire ride screaming about how there was homemade cake and it was so good.

Luckily, our third and final stop had food. Because drunk people? They like food. And you know what goes well with beer? Pizza! So we ended our journey at Pizza Port, a brewco that is as equally well known for their beer as their pizza.

More drinking ensued, but this time tempered by something to soak it up. Of course, the illustrious cake was presented and everyone sang. And there was eating and talking and comparisons drawn between our party and the teen party beside us, which had a magic show performed by someone's little brother (not mine).

Myrtle and her husband couldn't make it to the "beer tour" part of the party, but met us at Pizza Port. Because they didn't get enough of drunk Thatboy, as people sobered up and dispersed, they invited us out for another pint of beer. This time at a local Irish Pub in the area that they loved. So we headed out for one more drink, this one a little more exotic since it wasn't from San Diego County. Alas, the Irish Pub had changed ownership and wasn't as quaint as when Myrtle was a frequent visitor. We drank our beer and made a quick exit as the band came on and began playing Pink Floyd.

I brought Thatboy home and did my best to tuck him in to bed since he was showing no signs of sobering up. He fell asleep with visions of pints, casks, and bottles floating through his little head. I think it was a pretty successful birthday.

And for those of you that want to play along at home, know what you do with massive amounts of beer?

Use them to make hot dogs!!!! There is nothing more delicious than some franks boiled in beer and onions. Because hot dogs and beer are almost as good as pizza and beer!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Welcome Back to the Stone Age

I'm not very technologically advanced. In many ways, that makes me older than my years. For instance, Thatboy and I just became involved in the phenomena known as "texting" some time last year. And that "texting" is pretty much the high tech extent of my phone's abilities. I mean, sure, it can snap a photo of something, and if you squint your head and turn it at just the right angle you might barely be able to figure out with image I was trying to capture. But it doesn't have any other non-phone capabilities.

Which brings me to the topic at hand. Most of you know I started a new job in October. And one of these days I'll regale you with stories of crazy bosses and even crazier interview stories. The new job is for a larger firm than I'm used to working for - a firm large enough to have their own line of clothing apparel. "Dear Thatgirl," the email began, "The Firm will be purchasing you a shirt or sweatshirt of your choosing. Please make your selection from the following list." And when I tested my buddy who works at the main office to ask what the heck this was about, she shot back "They have EVERYTHING! I just ordered a blanket!"

The Firm is awesome in so many ways, including the offices in a fancy-schmancy downtown building which affords me lovely distractions like a view and the near constant sounds of ambulances and police cars.

Thatboy and I have been taking advantage of working so close together and meeting for lunch dates and dinner adventures. Today he even joined me for an oral argument since he had just finished up his own hearing next door.

However, this new job isn't all perks. This is the first firm I've worked for with its very own in-house tech support, who is able to access my computer remotely every time I need help with this stupid billing program that I SWEAR wasn't installed correctly onto my computer. And along with this in-house tech support comes some good ole fashioned big brother monitoring. Monitoring of every internet website I visit. And while a visit to the "tentative ruling" page of the court isn't going to raise any eyebrows, many other of my favorite internet sites could spell T-r-o-u-b-l-e (that's with a capital T for you Harold Hill fans). Which means I literally only go online if it's work related, and everything else has to wait until I get home in the evening.

And folks, I am not getting home early. I was completely spoiled by my last job, even though the crazy level was through the roof. The area of law I was working in meant that we were very rarely in court, meeting with clients, or attending depositions. It was mostly just phone calls with clients and letters to opposing counsel. And most of the clients weren't in California, which meant their work day ended much earlier than ours. I remember my first week of work, when I stayed until 5:15 and one of the partners told me it was ridiculous of me to stay so late. By 5:05 every person who worked there was gone (4:30 on Fridays). Now I'm hardly ever home before 7 and I'm then I'm putting up dinner, packing lunches, and trying to get the day's chores under control so I can be in by 10, ready to start all over the next day. Thatboy helps out as much as he can. Earlier this week I came home and the floors were all swept clean and the laundry was in the dryer. But there is still just enough time to answer some emails and read a couple blogs before I hit the hay. My online social networking, which was never very present to begin with, is virtually non-existent.

On the plus side, it's really helped me get back to the basics in terms of communications. My close friends know that if they want to tell me something they'd better text me or call if it's important, email if it can wait till the evening. Like Nicole, who texted me the morning of my second day of work to send me "no crying" vibes. Or Michelle, who waits until 9pm to gchat me her latest drama of the day. I feel like I'm back in high school- before the age of cellphones in every pocket and laptops on every desk. Back in the days where you'd spend all night talking to your bestie on the phone, or when you were allowed 1 hour of computer "free time" to chat with your friends on that new "instant messenger" program.

In honor of my trip back to the days of yabba dabba doo here's a fantastic caveman entree, sure to satisfy your favorite homonid. I mean, after all, it has three sure fire man pleasers: beans, sausage, and bacon. I picture a grip of men surrounding a fire cooking this - whether it be early cave dwellers, cowhands, or even a bunch of hobos tired from a day of riding the range. No matter what, I can tell you something they all have in common. NONE of them have any access to the internet during the day. Just like me!

Caveman Jambalaya
  • Turkey sausage, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 4 strips of bacon, chopped
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 can BBQ baked beans

1. In a saucepan, cook bacon until crisp. Drain.
2. Add onion, pepper, and sausage. Cook until vegetables are tender crisp.
3. Stir in beans and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Splitting Up

Thatboy and I usually spend the weekend in one location, San Diego, Orange County, Rio de Janeiro....but last week we each had an important event, requiring us to divide and conquer.

First, we headed to Orange County for the Winter Craft Fair. Thatmom has been participating in this for years, and after Thatdad died she asked Thatboy if he would join her. The fair is held the first weekend in November, a weekend we usually spend with Thatboy's family to make up for not being there later in the month for Thanksgiving. But I've ducked out of that for a number of years, and last year Thatboy decided to skip it and help out Thatmom instead. And this year she convinced him to join her again.

Thatmom sells her knitwear while Thatboy showcases his photography. This year Thatmom's fingerless gloves were an undeniable hit- she had more buyers than inventory, and even got some special orders. Thatboy's new addition - notecards, were his top seller. Following the winter fair, we packed everything up and headed back home, because:

Sunday I had my first real "race" since the half. See, after the half I decided to get my leg/back/hip looked at. I had promised Dr. Boyfriend I'd have a physical therapist check me out after the half. And he understood, because, Dr. Boyfriend is a runner and has been postponing a knee surgery because of it. So once the half was under my belt, I found out that I was one messed up puppy. My sacrum was all torqued and rotated, my SI joints were uneven and misaligned, and the physical therapist was just sure that shooting pain down my leg was probably caused by a combination of the two bothering my sciatic nerve. She made me promise to take a break from running. And so I did. A 2 1/2 month break. And everytime I told my physical therapist about a "race" I was competing in, I had to assure her I'd be taking it easy. And since both the Disney 5k and the Zoo Walk were with Thatmom, I didn't really have to worry about injuring myself.

But at the end of October I couldn't take it anymore. And so (without telling my physical therapist) I started running again. And after a week, I let her in on my little secret. And she laughed when I told her that I was afraid to tell her, and didn't discourage me when I told her the runs were pain free. So the day after the Winter Fair I went racing.

I participate in the Elizabeth Komen Race for the Cure every year, and I didn't want to miss out this year! I really wasn't expecting much, since I hadn't run in a long while. There wasn't a mile marker for mile 1, but at mile 2 I glanced down to see that I was pretty much EXACTLY where I had left off in terms of time. And then we hit the freeway (one of the reasons I love this race). Once on the freeway it got REALLY hot. That black asphalt sure does reflect heat! And after mile 1 there was no water on the course, which is unusual. And then came the big hill. So I slowed down, because really, I was already doing better than I had expected. And my finish time? Definitely not a PR for me, but also pretty on par with what I used to run 5ks at before I got all speedy last year, which was a lot faster than I was expecting to run.

But after all that running around between counties and craft fairs and races and I was tired. And I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm not above cheater dinners when I'm tired. Cheater dinners where everything is made for me and I just have to combine them and put them in the oven. Like these sausage snack wraps by Pillsbury.

Because the recipe was on the package and when you're tired and hungry, sometimes it's nice to have someone else come up with dinner ideas. And goodness knows Thatboy isn't going to help out in that department.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Scarily Late

On Sunday night I watched the annual Simpson's Treehouse of Horrors and thought - "Man it is SO anticlimatic to be watching this a week after Halloween." And then I realized I still hadn't blogged about our Halloween adventures. Guilty!

October is always busy busy busy at Thathouse. First, there's all the preparation. Weekends spent searching for costumes, planning treats, and hunting for the perfect pumpkin. I think we visit a different patch every year. Thatboy especially liked this one because we got to go right out into the patch to pick our pumpkins.

I don't think this pumpkin patch was Thatdog's favorite. Mostly because I don't think he appreciated having to pose in every "photo op" cutout they had.

Or the creepy goats that wouldn't keep their eyes off him.

But honestly, Thatdog's happy any time he can leave the house. Even if it does mean being subject to unbearable picture torture.

All those pumpkins can mean only one thing - PUMPKIN CARVING! Prez and H came over to join in the fun after Prez commented that I haven't had my annual pumpkin carving party since back in law school. And our pumpkins all came out phenomenally whether we were going for fun or scary.

And of course, what would Halloween be without the treats? Our coworkers got spooky scary spiders:

And I made chocolate covered oreos to bring to the Halloween party we went to.

Except, halfway to the party, I realized I'd left all 50 of them at home. So Thatboy came up with a brilliant solution to bring them in to work. Except he didn't. Instead, he ate them ALL. (He finished the last one tonight, so it wasn't like he ate them in all one sitting, but STILL.)

And now I leave with you my boys in their Halloween costumes. Such cuties, and obviously they both REALLY wanted to be photographed.

Happy Belated Halloween!