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The problem with not blogging for a while is that when you get back, there’s just too much to talk about!  Generally when you don’t know where to start, people say to start at the beginning, continue until the end, and then stop.  However, I have found that sometimes it works much better to start with the most recent happenings, go back until you’re either tired of talking, or the other person is caught up, and then stop.  So I think we’re going to go with that plan.

The most recent news is that Saturday night we had our much-anticipated Beer Tasting Party.  The idea for this party actually came from a blog post I put up last September about a visit to Mr. & Mrs. Darwin’s manse in Columbus, and the Founder’s Breakfast Stout that I drank while I was there.  There was much beer discussion in the comments, and when I put forward the idea of a beer tasting, both Dove and Sugar Ray were enthusiastic.  The only difficulty was scheduling.  I tried at first in October, but between wedding prep and people’s schedules, it just didn’t work out, and I put it on the back burner.  Then on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, when my Catholic young adult group was at South Park Tavern after going to Mass together, Sugar Ray brought up the subject again, and asked me when I was going to schedule it.  I opened up my calendar, and decided that it was going to be on January 14.  And it was.

The party itself was a good time.  We crammed in just about as many people as the house will hold, particularly since it was much too cold to spill out to a fire in the back yard like I was originally hoping.  People brought so much food that I had to open up the extra leaves on the dining room table.  This included the Vat o’Beer Cheese supplied by my sister Mariah, who borrowed my six quart crock pot to make it in (it was darn good, btw).  Sugar Ray brought some of his home brewed beer, I went to Belmont Party Supply and filled up two boxes with whatever looked good, people brought some amazing new things with them, and we had a great time.  Here (in no particular order) are all the beers we tried:

  • RJ Rockers Son of a Peach Wheat Ale
  • Bell’s Two Hearted Ale
  • Yuengling Traditional Lager
  • Celis Raspberry
  • Brooklyn Brewery Black Chocolate Stout
  • Sierra Nevada Biggfoot Barleywine Style Ale
  • Samuel Adams Irish Red
  • Samuel Adams Latitude 48 IPA
  • Samuel Adams Winter Lager
  • Samuel Adams Octoberfest
  • Samuel Adams Holiday Porter
  • Leinenkugel Berry Weiss
  • Leinenkugel Fireside Nut Brown
  • Newcastle Brown Ale
  • Abita Purple Haze
  • Perre Jacques 2011 Belgian Style Ale
  • Wild Blue Blueberry Lager
  • Pepe Nero Belgian Style Ale
  • Wernesgruner Pils
  • Emelisse Imperial Russian Stout
  • Rogue Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout
  • Heavy Seas Gold Ale
  • Great Divide Wild Raspberry Ale
  • Brekle’s Brown Ale
  • Southern Tier Imperial Choklat Stout
  • Point Belgian White
  • North Peak Darkangel Cherry Porter
  • Shock Top Pumpkin Wheat
  • Young’s Double Chocolate Stout
  • Ovila Dubbel
  • Founder’s Breakfast Stout
  • Belhaven Scottish Ale
  • Framboise Lambic
  • Lagunitas Cappuccino Stout
  • Fort Collins Brewery Chocolate Stout
  • Original Sin Hard Cider
  • Crispin Natural Hard Apple Cider – honey crisp

You may notice that the list is rather heavy on the stouts and porters, particularly chocolate stouts.  This is mostly because I like them, so I bought a lot.  Maybe next time I’ll have more variety, but then again, maybe not.  I do love my dark beers!  We also tried Sugar Ray’s home brews, and did a side by side tasting of the Founder’s Breakfast Stout, and his own version.  It was pretty darn good.  Over all, I think my favorite was the Ovila Dubbel, contributed by The Pessimist.  It was smooth and caramel-y and delicious.  It also won my personal Bernadette Award for Best Beer At The Party.  When I was out shopping for the party, I decided that we needed to have prizes.  (This had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that those really cool big ornaments filled with chocolate pralines were on super sale.  Nothing at all.)  I had three things to give out, so I decided that they would be for Best Beer, Best Snack, and Person Who Amuses Bernadette The Most.  So The Pessimist won for Best Beer (though he left before I could give it to him), Mariah won for Best Snack, and Pippi won for Most Amusing.

The one thing that disappointed me about this party was that I had carefully, and with mischievous intent, hung a sprig of mistletoe in the greenery still decorating my house.  (What?  Christmas isn’t over until Candlemas!)  You would think that if you fill a house with mostly single young adults, supply them with lots and lots of beer, and then hang a sprig of mistletoe, that there would be at least a few kisses by the end of the night.  But no.  Not a single one.  It made me sad.  Though I do know of one girl who got asked out at the party, so that’s good.  But still… sigh.  We’re going to have to work on this.

Before rejoicing sometimes comes sorrow.  On Thursday we marked three years since my brother Jacob died.  This is always a hard day.  I had been thinking that I was doing very well with things this year, but as soon as I got off work Wednesday night the reality of what the next day was hit me like a brick.  That night and the next day were very hard, especially since I wasn’t able to take the day off this year like I did last year.  One thing I am grateful for is that in the afternoon, while I was alone in the office and feeling rather melancholy, three of the A/V tech guys (the closest thing I’ve seen to computer geeks since I’ve been on the new job) came in to get new badges made.  I hadn’t realized how much I had been used to being surrounded with geeks & nerds until they came in, and were so lovely and familiar that they felt like old friends even though I’d never met them before.  They were being utterly ridiculous, making funny faces into the camera, and teasing each other like geeks do, and it was all so great.  I laughed until tears came – the good kind.  It was an unexpected blessing.

I never told you guys what the results were of the poll you took a while back on what kinds of blog posts you would like to see.  The results surprised me.  Not a single person voted for the video posts, which, combined with the fact that my new work apparently Does Not Approve of youtube, means that you won’t be seeing any of those again for a while!  Most of you seem to really like the newsy posts about my life, followed by posts about my family.  To be honest, I had started doing links posts and picture posts and video posts because, well, sometimes my life just isn’t that interesting.  I swear.  Plus it starts to feel a little weird, talking about myself all the time.  But you guys seem to like it, so I’ll keep on. 🙂  I haven’t figured out a new blog schedule yet.  There’s no way I can post long, newsy posts about myself five times a week (it’s that not really that interesting thing again), so this does mean I’ll be posting a little less frequently.  But hopefully as I settle down into my new schedule I’ll figure something out.

And that’s as much time as I have to write today.  Tonight will be (God willing) my second ever visit to the Dayton Knitting Guild.  Good times ahead, my friends!