The Hangover

Well, since we’ve probably all been in a drunken stupor for the past two weeks after trying out ALL of the delicious drink recipes from this post . . . what do you mean it’s just me?  And why is it so bright in here?  And why are you talking SO LOUDLY.  Oh, my aching head!

Anyway, before I go lie down for a couple of hours with a cold washrag on my head, I guess I should tell everyone who won the giveaway from that post.  Remember these?

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Yet again, I enlisted the assistance of my lovely spawn to help pick the winner of these highly coveted prizes . . .

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And the winner of the Sock Monkey Wine Koozie and the Wine Tags is:

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PINOTNINJA

Congrats, my dear!  Just send your deets my way, and I will get this out to you.  But not right now.  Just the thought of wine right now is making my poor head pound.  I need to go take some aspirin and lie down.  But soon . . . soon.

Facing the Fear

I only agreed to go on the roller coaster with her, so that she wouldn’t have to ride it by herself.

But, it wasn’t until I was in the middle of the long serpentine line, awaiting the thrill that was to come, that I began to recall the last time I was on another such ride . . .

It must have been over 10 years ago.  The hubs and I were dating and visiting another similar theme park.  Many years before our children were born, we were there to enjoy the park as young adults do . . . by going on as many fast and exhilarating rides as possible.  One of those rides would be my last roller coaster for many years.

The ride itself was not overly frightening in any way.  Just your standard roller coaster.  It started in an enclosed space, quickly turned a corner and shot up a long dark tunnel, only emerging into the sunlight as it reached the crest of that climb, on the verge of dropping down into open air.  That was what was supposed to happen, anyway.  But on this fateful day, something went wrong.  As the ride took off and quickly turned the corner, shooting upwards towards the light at the end of the tunnel, that was when the fun ended.  And so did the forward momentum.  Because just as we were about to reach the top of that hill, the ride reversed and shot back down into the tunnel.  Backwards.

It was one of the most horrifying moments of my life.  I was positive that at any second we would be crashing into the car behind us as we fell backwards and they began their ascent forward.  That didn’t happen, thankfully.  Instead, we stopped at the bottom of the incline and sat there.  In the dark.  While they worked on the ride to try to fix it.

This might have been the most terrifying moment of my life, now that I think about it.  Even though the car plummeting backwards was very scary, this was worse.  Because I had time to worry.  And to contemplate what would happen if they started the ride again and it wasn’t fixed.  The mind is a cruel and creative creature.  I wanted off of that ride.  But we were strapped in and hanging from the track, so they wouldn’t allow it.  So I sat, and waited, and worried.

I didn’t die that day.  Luckily, the bright light I went towards at the end of that tunnel didn’t signify my end.

But here I was, many years later.  Remembering that fateful day that scarred me for so many years.  And standing in line to temp fate once again.  And then I saw this:

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Good Mental Condition?  Well, since I was willingly standing in line to go on this ride, after the last attempt at roller coaster riding almost killed me, “Good Mental Condition” might be up for debate.  However, we had twisted and turned around this line for over forty-five minutes now, so there was no going back.  I was going on this ride, G Forces be damned.

When the fateful time was at hand, I sat in my seat and the bars came down and made a very satisfying click, holding my body firmly down in the seat.  As I sat there, anticipating the first movement of the ride, with my heart palpitating at a surely unhealthy level, wondering why I ever allowed myself to get in this place again, I had one very distinct thought.

I am too old for this shit.

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Click on picture to see video POV of coaster

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Hooking up with Yeah Write again this week!

Conversations with My EIGHT Year Old

Tomorrow is 7’s birthday, which will make him 8 (for those of you who have problems with basic math).  And seeing as I recently wrote a post for my youngest son on his birthday, sharing with the world (the world = 12 followers) his crazy and highly informative thoughts, I figured it was only fair to do the same for my first born.  So, Happy Birthday 8!!

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Talking about The Voice, and the brother duo on the show:

The one guy is a really good singer, but the other one isn’t as good.  He’s just there to attract the ladies.

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Talking to his brother, 5, about his hat:

No, not like that!  You have to turn it to the side. 

5 turns his hat to the side.

That’s good.  Now you’re a man.

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I’m going to do something for earth day, to make the earth a better place.  I’m going to stop farting, so the air is less stinky.

While that is a lovely (albeit smelly) sentiment, I’m not holding my breath for that to happen.  Although, maybe holding my breath is the best option.

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An interesting tidbit of learning, provided by our local educational establishment, i.e. 2nd grade:

Did you know that when Christopher Columbus sailed over towards the Bahamas, he said, “these are some ugly looking mermaids” about the manatees?  He wrote that in his diary.

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I was opening a bottle of wine, and the cork popped out:

Whoa!  Is there a note in there?

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Hubs:  The sunset is really pretty.

8:  Yeah, it’s 50 shades of grey out there!

I feel like I should be concerned that he is even aware of that title’s existence.  Is my son really a middle-aged sexually frustrated woman?

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8:  Tru dat, tru dat.  Giggle tru giggle dat.

Me:  What?  Where did you hear that?

8:  Mom.  In real life, that means “true that.”

Me:  Thank you for educating me, my son.

Keeping in real up here in da hood, yo. 

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8:  Mommy, today at the park, I heard a boy say a very bad word.

Me:  What kind of very bad word?

8:  The kind that starts with a Shhhh.

Me:  Oh, that IS a very bad word.

8:  Yeah, and it ends with I.T.

Me:  You know if you ever say that, you will be in big trouble, right?

8:  Oh yeah, I know.

But apparently spelling of bad words is just fine.  I guess it’s better than him flinging the F word around the house.

The Journey to Gilda

Fireworks over Rome

Fireworks over Castel Sant’Angelo in Rome by Jacob Philipp Hackert

“Dove e Gilda?”

We must have said it a hundred times.  The four of us, unlikely companions and fast friends, asking locals this question in our attempts to ascertain the location of a certain club.  Walking the streets of Rome after midnight in the very first hours of that new year, searching for our very own Gadot.

I’m not sure if anyone remembers how we gained the information that Gilda was the place to be that night, the four of us young and daring in a foreign land, looking for adventure and revelry.  But, despite the haziness as to the origin of the information, we were on a quest, and would not be denied the promise of dancing, drinks and debauchery.

It began after a delicious and lengthy dinner at a restaurant tucked beneath the Spanish Steps, shared with our newfound friends from Texas that we happened to meet on the bus from the hotel, two young and carefree couples venturing out into the great vast city of Rome.

The New Year arrived at the stroke of midnight, as it is known to do, and we rejoiced with champagne and fireworks above that immense square, surrounded by what seemed like every single Italian citizen.  Once the celebrated moment had passed, the crowds dispersed, allowing us the chance to wander the city streets, beginning our quest for Gilda.

“Dove e Gilda?” we began to ask as we wandered aimlessly.  We were met with uncomprehending looks, some shrugs, and some attempts to direct us towards our destination.  With each attempt at helpfulness, a different direction would be suggested.  And so, we walked.  And walked.  And walked.

We walked past the Trevi fountain, stopping for just a moment to gaze upon the wonder of those huge statues, the flowing water misting the air around us.  But we did not linger, for we were on a quest.

We walked past the Pantheon, almost not even realizing what the spherical domed building was, until it was pointed out to us by someone.  We dared not go inside to look up at the sky through the round hole in the ceiling, though.  There was no time for star-gazing when our eyes had to focus on earthly goals.

The Roman Forum almost went unnoticed as well, as the collapsing pillars and ruins of that open space were almost too difficult to see in the dark.  But there was no time to stop and view them, anyway.  We were determined to search onward.

The more we walked, the more determined we became to eventually reach our destination.  Spending hours walking the streets of Rome, only to make the occasional stop in a local bar, for shots of Grappa to refuel ourselves for the journey.  Craving the feeling of accomplishment and joy that the eventual discovery of our objective would bring.  Much like Columbus discovered our very own country . . . already occupied, but still claimed as his very own.  Such would we return the favor in his home country, staking our flag in Gilda, feeling as if we owned this sainted land after our efforts to suss it out from its secreted location.

But it was never to be.  The closest we came to Gilda was the question that repeatedly traipsed across our lips during our search.  “Dove e Gilda?”  We will never know.  We spent our night searching and not finding, yet we found ourselves experiencing the city and that New Years Day in a way we never would have expected.  And never will forget.

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This is my first foray into the Yeah Write challenge universe.  Click on that badge above to read some amazing stories! 
 
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Somehow, despite the multiple brilliant posts submitted to this week’s Yeah Write challenge, this little ole post right here . . . won.  Woohoo!!  I never would have expected it, but I am so pleased. 

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Drink It Up!

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it before, but I have a swimming pool in my backyard.  I most likely have not brought up the subject previously because the pool is of no consequence to me.  I don’t swim.  And no, I don’t mean that I don’t know how to swim.  I was a lifeguard as a teenager, for pete’s sake!  No, I just do not go into the pool.

However, this does not stop our entire extended family from using our backyard, and the pool within, as their own personal summer vacation destination.  Any number of them stop by during the week while we are at work and enjoy a nice dip in the pool.  And every weekend, there are at least a few out there swimming and enjoying the sun.  This is all completely acceptable to us, as our family is rad (the hubs’ side, anyway), and we extend our hospitality to them at any time, even if we are not present.

On the weekends, when multiple family members descend upon our property, we will often go outside to spend time with them.  And by “we” I mean that my husband and kids will go swim in the pool, while I whip up some kind of alcoholic concoction to share with the group.  Sitting by the pool with my feet up and a cocktail in my hand is a perfectly acceptable way to enjoy watching the family splash around in the pool.

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A few weeks ago, on Memorial Day weekend, the family all showed up for the first time this year, in an unofficial “start of summer” pool party.  Each summer, I try to come up with a new drink that I can prepare and share with the family when they come over.  I am sort of the unofficial bartender of the family, if you will.  They’ve come to expect some interesting and delicious concoction to be whipped up by yours truly and served to them each year, and I try not to disappoint.  This year, I decided to go with a simple, yet quite tasty, little drink.  A strawberry lemonade.  But an adult strawberry lemonade.

STRAWBERRY LEMONADE
 
1 part Strawberry flavored Vodka
2 parts lemonade
splash of grenadine for color
 
Garnish with fresh strawberries if desired. 
 

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See?  Super simple, but very delicious.  If you make it, you can obviously play with the ratios of alcohol to lemonade based on how strong you like your drinks.  If you want to go half and half, go for it!

Ok, now it’s your turn!  Seeing as I am always looking for new and creative drink recipes to subject treat my family to, I want you to comment below with a fun summer drink recipe.  But don’t worry, I will give you something in exchange for the generous sharing of your most delicious and prized recipes . . . because this is a giveaway post!

One lucky commenter will recieve this prize:

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A Wine Monkey wine bottle sock monkey, and Winelines, I.D. tags for your stemware (both by Fred & Friends, of course!).  Fun, right?

One of my sons will pick a name from a hat, and whoever wins will recieve this rad prize.  So, give me your best drink recipes in the comments, and you could win these items that will make your drinking experience that much more memorable and enjoyable!

(Note:  if you do not drink alcohol, please feel free to leave a non-alcoholic drink recipe.  If you win, you can always give these items to someone in your life that does imbibe spirits).

So, hit me with your best shots, people.  Oh wait, nevermind . . . I don’t do shots.  Not since the infamous Lemon Drop Incident of ’98.  The memory of that night still makes me cringe.  But regardless, give me your best drink concoctions below.

Cheers!!

A Whole Grained Problem

I tend to avoid posting anything that involves divisive topics such as politics or religion.  But it has recently come to my attention that Cheerios has a new ad on TV, and this ad is apparently causing some people to vocally take issue with the message being conveyed within.  Being of a curious nature, I decided that I needed to see what all the hubbub was about.  If you have not seen it, please take a moment to do so at this time, so you can be as well informed as I now am:

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It seems that there are many people out there that are appalled that Cheerios would show a family consisting of a white mother, a black father, and a mixed race child.  The ad has been called out by religious organizations and conservatives for sending the wrong message.  And you know what . . . I have to agree.

This ad is not just advertising its heart healthy cereal, which you can find in the recesses of every minivan seat in the nation, but it is promoting a mingling of different races, as evidenced by this beautiful cafe au lait child.  And really, I find that appalling.  How could anyone believe that a white woman and a black man could possibly find each other attractive enough to not only marry, but produce offspring!!  I feel that this is a slippery slope, my friends, and that action must be taken immediately!

We’ve already seen the sullying of perfectly good white milk when poured atop chocolatey cereals, turning the previously pure liquid into a mocha nightmare!  Surely, if something drastic is not done, cereal companies all over will follow Cheerios’ example of promoting the mingling of people of different skin tones, and then what will happen?  Anarchy, that’s what.  We must protect our Wheaties and Frosted Flakes at all costs, people!!  I mean, what’s next . . . a Hispanic Snap, Jewish Crackle & Hindu Pop?  Preposterous!!

Cheerios has gone too far this time.  And really, we should have seen this coming, as their prior actions have shown a progression to this point all along, and we just never realized it before.  It started with a mix of Honey and Nuts.  Sure, this seems logical and harmless, but it was the first stop on a runaway train of intermingling of ingredients that has now led us to this crisis.  They followed this seemingly innocuous pairing with further indications of their hippy liberal ways . . . Multi-Grain Cheerios.  Multi-Grain.  All of those multiple grains, just living in peace and harmony together, instead of just the one true grain, as nature intended?  Red flag, people.  Right there.  Why did nobody stop this then?

Following along this path, the next creation they presented to the masses was Frosted Cheerios, which is a white sugary coating blanketing the original Cheerios.  Hmm, you know what?  That one is fine.  Let’s move on.

Next on the list of abominations was the Fruity Cheerios.  You see what’s happening here, don’t you?  Fruity.  Fruity.  Yeah, when they came out with this one, the world should have taken note of how far Cheerios was off the beaten path of mainstream, wholesome cereals, and how they were clearly dabbling in witchcraft and sorcery.

So really, it was no surprise when they next released their most horrid abomination of breakfast foods . . . Chocolate Cheerios.  That’s right, a dark cocoa cereal that was to co-mingle with wholesome white milk, all in one bowl, to create a horrifying mix of flavors and colors.  And instead of getting out the pitchforks and torches at that point and charging the castle of the Cheerios corporation, what happened?  Well, I’ll tell you . . . parents and children rejoiced in a healthy and nutritious cereal that also tasted of chocolatey goodness.  How could they not see?  It was right there in front of their faces!  It was obvious that these things were of the devil, because only demonic forces could create a scrumptious mocha delight that was both good for you and low in fat and calories.  But no, they were blinded by this seemingly innocent and ridiculously delicious new creation.  And so the world continued to allow Cheerios to go on promoting their heart healthy campaign through their multi-hued and various flavors of cereals . . . as if our entire society wasn’t being irrevocably and disastrously altered!

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Unholy abomination!

And now, it has gone too far.  Not content to subtly permeate the world with their misguided notions of acceptance and harmony through cereal foods, they have blatantly presented this controversial commercial to the unsuspecting and trusting public.  There is nothing to do now but wait for the collapse of civilization as we know it.  If blacks and whites can live harmoniously together, soon we will have pigs and cows shacking up together and creating cowpigs.  Horses mating with sheep, and giving birth to fluffy long-nosed creatures.  This is the path we are travelling down, people!  If we don’t stop them, the madness will never end.

Somebody must take a stand.  And that standing somebody is none other than yours truly.  I stand up for plain and regular Cheerios!  I stand up for whole grains that are not mixed with other grains!  I stand up for white milk being poured over tan cereal and creating a slightly creme colored liquid!  I stand for truth, justice and non-flavored cereals!  I stand up . . . for the children!!

Who will stand with me?

Good Beer, No Sh*t

When we last left our intrepid heroes . . . my good friend Valerie had descended upon the great state of Maryland, to share her awesomeness with this part of the mid-Atlantic.  I spoke of our initial trip to the mannequin store, and of our evening out with her friends at the brew pub.  Much shenanigans were detailed.  (If you haven’t read the first part of this tale, go back now and start your journey at the beginning).

What I have yet to explain, and the purpose of this post, is the intervening time bookended by those two activities above.  Directly following our mannequin store visit, we drove straight out to Frederick, MD, home of the Flying Dog Brewery.  In planning the weekend for Val, I looked around at different events and activities around the area, and saw that the brewery held tours of their facility.  Seeing that the tours also included beer tastings, and being a good friend and a good host (because that’s what friends do . . . get their friends nice and inebriated on their vacations!), I figured this would be a fun event.  I was lucky enough to get a reservation for the two of us (this was before I knew that she was bringing friends), so off to Frederick we went for an afternoon of education and beer drinking.  Huzzah!!

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Before we even entered the building, we were excited about the experience.  I mean, how much do you want a sign at your job that reserves your Alpha Bitch parking space?  Yeah, me too.

We arrived early enough that we were able to take a look around.  The first thing we saw was a huge chalkboard that listed all of the beers they had to offer.  Val was suitably impressed . . .

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Although, they did tell us that no beer drinking was allowed before the tour, so we were just going to have to wait.  But that’s ok, because our tour was about to start, and that is when we got to meet our tour guide extraordinaire . . . Emily!

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Emily was so incredibly rad.  Seriously, she was informative, had a great sense of humor, and really knew her beer.  Plus . . . she gave us beer.  So, you know, that might have something to do with how hard Val and I fell in love with this lovely lady.  We miss you, Emily!!

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A beer Goddess!!

Emily told us the story of the founder of the brewery, George Stranahan, who named it Flying Dog after viewing a painting in a tiny bar in Pakistan.  Having just finished a long trek up the second highest mountain in the world, he gazed upon a picture of a dog with wings and felt that it was a kindred spirit, representing how he felt about the monumental journey he and his companions had just taken.  I’m sure it also had nothing to do with the fact that he was imbibing some local spirits in that bar at the time.

Once we knew some of the history of the brewery, it was time for the tour.  We were ushered around to the different areas within the building, viewing all of the various steps that a beer must travel through before it becomes frothy goodness ready to get in my belly.  As you might imagine, Val and I got up to some jackassery whilst the tour was going on.

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We were like the bad kids in the back of the class that just fool around and pass notes, so that the teacher has to eventually separate them.  Sorry Ms. Emily!!  We’ll be good.

We did pay attention for the most part, since despite all of the fun distractions, it was a very interesting and informative tour.  Not to mention seeming like one of the coolest places to work ever.  And I am not just saying that in an “I want to work there so I can drink BEER all day” frat boy Neanderthal way, either.  It just has a great vibe about it and would appear to not take itself too seriously.  For example . . .

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This was the door to Quality Control . . . yeah.

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The sign next to the huge-ass bottling machine.

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A zombie mannequin torso in the warehouse, where they display all the metals they have won for their beer.

I could fall in love with a place like that!  A far cry from my own personal hell, aka my current job.  We don’t have any zombie mannequin torsos around here to hold all of our medals.  Hell, we don’t have any medals, for that matter!

Once the official tour was finished, that is when the real fun started . . . the tasting.  We were each given a wristband with 5 little tabs on it (indicating 5 tastings, duh), and that was in addition to the beer poured by Emily on the tour.  (I mentioned we love her, right?  Just wanna make sure we covered that . . .).

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Decisions, decisions . . .

Ok, so I guess you are wondering how the beer tasted, hmmm?  Well, it was FAN-FUCKING-TASTIC, of course!!  I mean, yeah it was pretty good, I guess.  Actually, we really did enjoy our beer tasting, but what we enjoyed more at this point, was a little bit more Emily . . . (you didn’t think we were done with her yet, did you?).  We even got a picture of the three of us together . . .

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Not only that, but there was this amazingly gorgeous metal throne in the lobby area that was all red velvet roped and off-limits.  We asked her about it, telling her that we thought is was super cool, and she not only whipped out her laptop to show us the video they just made featuring that there chair (seriously, watch that video . . . it is awesomesauce!), but she even allowed us to sit in it!!  Did I tell you she was the raddest, or what?

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Queen Bitch Val!!

After we watched the video for Raging Bitch (kindred spirits, that), Emily went on to show us the other most recent video for Snake Dog Ale, which was similarly awesome.  So, you see, she wasn’t just a tour guide, beer server and employee of Flying Dog . . . she was like our own personal Julie McCoy!  So, we decided to profess our love in the only way we could . . . creepy love notes.  This was mine, of the more subtle approach:

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This was the Flying Dog provided survey form that I filled out after the tour.  I handed it to Emily, and told her that I would like this to be considered as my application for employment.  Val was a bit less subtle in her profession of love for our dear Emily.  First, she whipped out her handy dandy notebook that some kind blogger sent to her, along with some other shit, in a past giveaway (said blogger also likes to gift people with tiny bottles of booze . . . said blogger is awesome).

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And then this happened . . .

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We put this on top of Emily’s laptop as we left.  We had wanted to give her a great big hug and to say thanks for the great time before we left.  However, when it was time for us to depart, we were told that she had gone “upstairs” to the “offices.”  We’re pretty sure this was code for going to the local constabulary to file a restraining order against us.  So now, we are probably limited to viewing our Emily from afar . . . like from about 50 feet away.  Either that, or she was so creeped out by us that she was filing for a name change and running away to Utah, to start a new and secret life, hidden from the crazy girl bloggers who she assumed wanted to wear her head as a hat.  (We love your hair, Emily, but we would never do something quite so creepy.  Stalkerish notes are where we draw the line!).

So class, what have we learned from this (incredibly long) tale?  Well, three simple lessons:

1.  Emily is awesome.
2.  Flying Dog beer is delicious.
3.  Val and I should not be allowed out in civilized society.

Class dismissed!  Let’s go get some beer . . . the first round is on me.

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