Argh---Blogger finally ate a long post of mine; I was too careless to copy it before posting. Swearword swearword swearword, swearword swearword.
Anyway, it was a wonderful holiday, with visits to and from friends and family, gifts given and received, and travel negotiated with a minimum of fuss and muss.
First, the goodies. It was a Very Beery Christmas for me this year, with several welcome books from Dad including Designing Great Beers, Brew Ware, and Brew Chem 101. Matt supplemented this with an outstanding example of the amalgam of coiled-copper and silicone tubing called an immersion wort chiller. Mom rounded this all out with a set of four beautiful handblown pub-style beer glasses with air bubbles embedded in artful patterns. Thanks to everyone!
The kids' gift to the parents this year was a refitting and repainting of one of the upstairs bathrooms. Matt was the spearhead of the project, and under his direction I was able to help with a fair bit of the shopping, sanding, taping-off and initial painting. I had to return to Richmond before the project was completed, but reports from Mom and Dad indicate a very good result. Pending receipt of scans from Dad, I'll post pix of the finished product one of these days.
Mary (for whom I still don't have a good link; bloody, stupid school administrators) dropped by on her way to visit an old friend in North Carolina, and I managed to cover her with dog hair before sending her on her way - since I've been traveling, there's been little time to do any vacuuming. Mary also was nice enough to present me with a martini-making kit, including a shiny cocktail shaker and two spiffy glasses appropriate for the work. I'm slightly suspicious of the purity of her motives' altruism, though, because she made absolutely certain I had the technique of martini fabrication down during our visit. Very detail-oriented, Mary is...
Well, Rich's Big Dawg Brown Ale is in bottles, but it's anyone's guess how it'll turn out. Between a scorched grain bag, a quick, then stuck fermentation, airlock-seal trouble and finally some bottling hassle, it's up to the Fates to rescue this brew from the hopper. My next effort (to be begun ASAP) will be a custom-designed India Pale Ale, because A) it's different from my prior efforts so far, B) it'll be a good test of my technique, keeping a pale ale pale and adhering to the prescribed type, and C) Joanie suggested it. :-)
[Addendum: This little post from USS Clueless has made my day, especially in light of how unutterably trivial the above post is. :-D]