Summer Job and a Successful Irish Stout

I am looking forward to the summer. Why? I am looking forward to the summer because I have a way to occupy it that is within my field and financially responsible. Indeed, dear reader, I got a job as a scenic artist at the Contemporary American Theatre Festival. Ultimately, the job description is very similar to the one that I do the rest of the year, but summer stock has a way of amping up the intensity on even the most mundane of tasks. Usually, one is building and painting full scale productions in a very short time period (a week is a luxury) and those shows are put into rotation (usually called Rep) over the course of a few weeks. Imagine doing what you normally do over a single week and then take that and accomplish the same amount in less than half the time. Yeah, the hours can get pretty wild. Luckily, this place sounds like they actually care about a person’s time and health. So, while I fully expect plenty of long days (and nights) filled with intensely creative cyclones, I also anticipate having a massive amount of fun being in a new environment. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I seriously love my job, but I am almost glad that I have three months away. Sure, it would be nice to not have to go on the hunt for a job in the summer. However, that means that I have to keep my portfolio up to date, I get to work in different places as well as with different people, and I don’t get bored during my hiatus from the Stage. Plus, I get a sweet little cushion between my summer job starting and Stage season ending so I get an actual break before all the madness. I have many a scheme for that month that make me rather giddy indeed.

Also, on a totally unrelated note, I have discovered a new craft. Well, craft brewing to be exact. Ladies and Gentlemen, this blogger has officially brewed her first batch of beer! Handsome got into brewing last year and when we moved here I made it clear that I would love to learn. Thus, a few months back, we got our kit and equipment and we now have our first beer fully carbonated and delicious while our second has just been bottled. First beer is an Irish Stout that came out rather fantastic. I know to some it probably tastes something like petroleum, but as someone who loves a good stout, I am deeply in love with ours. I practically glow with pleasure when I taste the thing that I and my gorgeous partner put together…and it doesn’t scream “DISGUSTING” or “AMATEUR”! I won’t go into too much detail because I realize brewing is one of those things that is far more rewarding to drink than to wax poetic about, but I will say that I thoroughly enjoy the process. Even if it means we now have way more beer than we ever thought of drinking comfortably.

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Outakes (Romping through the Vineyards)

Yesterday was the last full day off for the rest of our time here at the Camp. Considering we have only a few days left, we decided to make it a most worthwhile day. Thus Helena, BearGirl, the Thinker, and myself a piled into my Silver Steed/Prius of Adventure and set off for an afternoon of wine and wondrous fun We had decided to hit three wineries along M22. The first was Good Harbor Vineyards. We all picked 5 wines to sample from the extensive list and a souvenir glass came with the tasting. I sampled a most glorious Cherry Wine that made dark chocolate sing in my mouth (the gentleman gave us dark chocolate kisses with the instructions, “sip the wine, take a bite of chocolate, then sip.”). Twas so good a bottle may have followed me out of the place ;). Next, on to Gills Pier Winery. Handsome and I had visited this winery on our previous excursion on M22, I had gone back again on my own, and I simply had to bring my friends with me. I truly like this sweet little place.

Overlooking the vineyard

Overlooking the vineyard

The whole gang

The whole gang

From Gills, we went on to our best find of the day. BearGirl had recently been on a plane trip and she mentioned that she had sat next to a most interesting person. The woman spoke of an organic winery in Northport Michigan…which turned out to be right where we were headed. Thus, we found ourselves at Good Neighbor Organic. Not only does this place have wine, but they also make incredible ciders that absolutely blew the socks and shoes straight off my feet. Stan, the owner, also bid us go play in the vineyard/orchard and pick some lavender.  We happily complied 🙂

Wine fun 8 Wine fun 9 Wine fun 17 Wine fun 14 Wine fun 19

Twas a very good day indeed :).

 

From MA to NY, an Adventure: Day 2

My next day, Friday, found me pretty slothful during the day. Although it was pleasant outside, I found myself more in the mood to not leave the comfort of my pajamas. The evening was a very different story. The three of us got ourselves all pretty and we went out to North Hampton, specifically, the Tunnel Bar. I fear that the space was too dark for pictures, but I hope my description will suffice. The bar is, quite literally, an old tunnel. Walking in, you find yourself looking down the length of a windowless, creamy tiled, arching interior that just seems to keep flying backward. We found ourselves some oversized leather chairs in the very back and set to the business of drinking while sharing excellent conversation. The lighting was dim, but the martini that I had (Gone with the Wind) was a delicious mix of whiskey and peach that quite satisfied my sweet tooth without being overtly sugary. Persephone had a strange blue concoction called the Tarantula, while SexyHistorian settled for something that I think had Hibiscus in the name. I happily sipped my drink, truly more elated to be in the company of two of my favorite people, such as I had not been for far too long. As is wont to happen after a good drink, we were all viciously hungry. SexyHistorian pointed us to Local which specializes in supremely delicious junk/drunk food cuisine. I myself consumed a most unbelievably good burger known as the Juicy Lucy. Rather than the burger having the cheese on top, the cheese is cooked into the burger. Thus, the consumer is faced with gooey, dripping puddles of fat-filled cheesy glory throughout the entire experience. Persephone attacked a basket of fries with understandable abandon, and SexyHistorian had some chicken fingers. Overall, we were satiated in that way that you can only be after greasy deliciousness on the heels of a strong drink. We made our way back to the apartment, and promptly fell into our respective sleeping receptacles because we all had an early morning for Saturday.

Outakes (birthday goodness)

So what does one do with a rainy day birthday? Well….

First, one should enjoy at least one fun purchase in honor of the day.

This piece is called Cossette, painted by the amazing Amy Brown

This piece is called Cossette, painted by the amazing Amy Brown

Amy Brown is probably one of my favorite faerie artists ever, so I make it a point to purchase her work whenever I can. I got this from her Etsy shop, and I must have at least a couple dozen others in my favorites. Truly, her work brings me an insane amount of joy.

Secondly, eat an absolutely fantastic cake.

Yes, it's real

Yes, it’s real

My daddy made me a most scrumptious double-layer chocolate cake that most certainly tastes a thousand percent better than it looks (which is a feat because it looks utterly perfect)!

Finally, finish a piece that actually makes you proud to say it’s yours.

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I painted this from a picture that I took in the Smokies (you can actually view the photo in an earlier post on this blog). I am extremely pleased with how well it finished, and most happy that I could claim its completion on this weekend. Mayhaps a not terribly eventful birthday, but turned out to be a very productive day none the less :).

Kentucky Journey Part 2: Good Food, Good Company

My journey did allow for some time to enjoy myself. What better thing to do on such a trip than to have excellent food in even more excellent company? So, starting from the beginning….

If you go back a couple posts, you will encounter a whopping helping of chicken and waffles. Handsome found this tiny little hole-in-the-wall called Hammerheads that served this monstrosity, and holy mercy was that dish one of the best things I have ever tasted. I could not do it more than once a year, but once I dug into the thing with my bare hands as my only utensil….let’s just say I was lost. In terms of the next wonderful meal, it starts with the fact that a portion of my former professors were at the conference. While I certainly enjoyed seeing all of them, one professor (who will henceforth be known as the Alchemist) was someone whom I shared a strong relationship as a colleague, professor, and friend. When I discovered he was at the conference, I immediately contacted him. After a series of texts, we agreed to go to dinner on Friday night. I told him I would be accompanied by Handsome, and with that said I eagerly awaited that evening.

We had decided to do Ethiopian food, because rumor had it there was a particularly good restaurant near the hotel. I will be completely transparent with you and say that my palette is extremely limited, particularly when it comes to ethnically based foods ( in my mind that means things like Indian, Thai, Afghan etc.) It breaks my heart, because when I taste such food, I can tell it is really delicious. The problem is that the taste is just not jiving with my personal buds. The usual culprit? Hot spices. Yup, I have the same tolerance to spiciness that a seagull has to Alka-Seltzer (supposedly seagulls explode from the inside out when you give them this fizzy product). Despite my misgivings, I knew Handsome and the Alchemist would enjoy it, and I usually always try all types of food regardless if I think I will like it or not. Thus, I found myself in a tiny Ethiopian restaurant called Addi’s Grill in excellent company. The man who ran the place also took our order, and after many apologies for the wait (apparently he was not used to the amount of customers that an influx of theatre-people can provide), he recommended that I get the vegetarian dish as it would be the least likely to burn my mouth off. I gratefully agreed, and this was what was given me

20130315-184549.jpgYah dude, I was a little speechless. That bread type substance is called injera, and it was kind of a cross between a flatbread and a pancake for me. You break off pieces of the injera and use it to scoop/grab various things on top of the even bigger piece of injera underneath. What I will say of the meal is that I really enjoyed how you have to eat it with your hands. Again, I could tell the food was good, and while I did eat a generous portion of my meal, I do not think I will be seeking Ethiopian food again outside of rare occasions. As for the company, I could not have picked two better gentleman to hang out with for the evening. Not only did I have the distinct pleasure of sharing a meal with two people I know, but I also introduced two kindred souls. We were having such a good time that (naturally since we are all beer lovers) we went out to a local brewery that the Alchemist had visited the previous evening. My heart was warmed not only by the excellent drink (suggested by the Alchemist, I got a beer that also had mead mixed in, which is probably one of the best things ever!), and the fact the Handsome and the Alchemist were clearly getting on as if they had been friends since college. The evening ended on an excellent note, with a suggestion from the Alchemist on where we should go for brunch the next morning.

We decided to take the Alchemist’s suggestion, and mercy alive we were not disappointed! What do you get when you combine a kitchy atmosphere,

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scrumptious brunch food…..20130315-192307.jpg

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and the most sensuous tea I have ever encountered?

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why, that would be this place 🙂

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Hillbilly Tea, is a most lovely place, and I truly wished I could have gone more than once. I did purchase two of their excellent teas to enjoy from my own loose lease infuser, and both have proved most fitting choices for my tea tastes.

That’s that then. Truly a most glorious collection of experiences indeed.