Baby Bean is Growing

 BabyFruit Ticker

Friday, March 20, 2009


I got a heckuva birthday present yesterday: the listing agent on the house we wrote an offer on was good to his word and got approval from the bank on a counter-offer—which we accepted and signed last night! I think we are under contract to buy this house as of about 9am today!

I am pretty flippin' excited about this, although it still feels really surreal.

Here is a link to see photos of the house, if you're interested!

If all goes as planned, we should close at the end of May and move in sometime in June!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A Touch of the Irish

Every time I mentioned to someone that I was going to attend a whiskey-tasting dinner last week, I got one of two reactions; either people wrinkled their noses and said, "REALLY???" in an incredulous tone or they said, "You mean Scotch?"

No, actually. I mean whiskey. Irish whiskey, to be exact, and it is entirely different from Scotch.

Once a year, for St. Patrick's Day, Bushmills distillery sends their master distiller, Colm Eagan, on a tour of the states. "You do St. Patrick's Day a lot bigger over here," he told us with a playful smile. Colm was everything an Irish host ought to be: generous with his time, generous with his stories and generous with his drinks.

Our tasting dinner was held at Beatrice & Woodsley, an unusual—but beautiful—venue tucked into a nondescript space on South Broadway in Denver. We were greeted at the bar with a Blackbush and ginger ale, and I took my first taste of Bushmills whiskey: smooth, a little sweet, and more complex than I had anticipated. I had been afraid that I'd be fighting down a grimace all night if the liquor was too strong, but I needn't have worried. Turned out, I could get to like whiskey.

People have been making whiskey in the tiny village of Bushmill, Ireland since the 1100s, and the first license to distill was granted in 1608, so a lot of history goes into this drink. Colm himself told us that he was destined to be at Bushmills, especially because he met and fell in love with a beautiful girl who'd grown up there. He described his first visit to the distillery, when he paid his two pounds to take a tour, painting a picture for us of whitewashed walls and black slate roofs nestled amid the green Irish hills, shining copper stills warm with their work, and a little crystal stream running through it all. "As my nose was being drawn to the smell of the whiskey," he told us, "I was being drawn to the distillery."

Enchanted by this vision, we entered the tasting. Colm explained how they malt the barley, allowing it to just sprout before air drying it to halt the growth (and here is the biggest difference from Scotch, which is smoked to halt the growth, giving it its distinctive flavor). From there, the barley is fermented in much the same way beer is, only without the hops. After it is distilled three times (no more, no less), the alcohol is decanted into oak barrels where it ages for at least five years.

The barrels are what give the different whiskeys their different flavors. A fresh oak barrel is too strong for the fine alcohol Colm spends so long distilling, so he chooses to use barrels that have already been used by another liquor that has stripped away much of the strong oakiness. Most of the Bushmills whiskeys start in bourbon barrels, giving them their lovely color and some of their complex aromas. From there, some are finished in sherry barrels, some in the casks used to age Madeira wine.

When asked the best way to enjoy whiskey, Colm smiles. "Any way you like it," is his answer, whether you enjoy it with a mixer or without. He does, however, suggest adding a little water, which opens the whiskey up, allowing the aromas to better flow. "More aromas, more taste," he told us, tipping his glass to one side in the light so we could see the subtle mixing of the alcohol and water.

The food was delicious, the company a delight and the drinks more fascinating and enjoyable than I could have imagined. The highlight of the evening, however, came with the dessert course, when we were treated to a taste of Bushmill's 1608 whiskey. Colm created this one specifically to celebrate last year's 400th anniversary, and only a very limited quantity was produced. The whiskey, made with crystal malt, won Colm and Bushmills whiskey of the year and innovator of the year in 2008. It was a delight, with distinctive vanilla and milk chocolate notes that lingered pleasantly on the back of the tongue for a long finish. If you happen to see the 1608 on a menu any time soon, indulge yourself, because when it's gone, it's gone.

I couldn't have expected to have such a marvelous time tasting and learning about Irish whiskey, but now I plan to buy a bottle and keep it around for those occasions when I want to ensure the conversation flows freely. Because, as Colm told us in his final toast:

There are good ships,
and there are wood ships,
The ships that sail the sea.
But the best ships, are friendships,
And may they always be.

Back and Blogging

This blog has sat somewhat dormant for a while, not for a lack of things to talk about, but for a lack of words to express them.

When I got laid off, I really didn't want to talk about it. I was fighting off depression and working hard to stay positive; I didn't want to indulge in writing about being depressed, and writing about staying positive was just too much.

Then, I got caught up in a whirlwind of a new job. There are issues with blogging about work at the best of times, but I certainly didn't want to jeopardize a new job. Happily, things seemed to have evened out, and I'm now fully employed.

So hopefully, HOPEFULLY, I'll be more able and inclined to blog again. :)

I'm going to post a blog I wrote this week about a whiskey-tasting dinner I got to attend last week in honor of St. Patrick's day. What a great experience!

See you soon!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

A Letter to Senator Cynthia Nava, NM Senate Education Committee Chair

Dear Senator Nava,

Please don't let my college die.

I am an alumnus of the College of Santa Fe, class of 2003. I received a degree in Moving Image Arts from the college and graduated magna cum laude.

I chose the College of Santa Fe for a variety of reasons. First, I wanted the best film school education I could afford, and at the time, CSF was ranked fourth in the nation—behind only the behemoths of NYU, USC, and UCLA. Quite an impressive achievement for a school barely a fraction of their size.

Second, I wanted a smaller school where I wouldn't feel like just a number. My graduating class from the college was smaller than my graduating class from high school, and that made for an amazing experience, forging a close bond between my classmates and my teachers.

Finally, I fell in love with Santa Fe, plain and simple. Santa Fe is for artists, and at your disposal you have one of the finest campuses for the arts ever conceived, with state-of-the-art facilities for the visual arts, the theater arts, and the moving image arts all in one place. There is no other facility in the New Mexico state system to rival it. You have a place rich with history, interwoven into the tapestry of the history of Santa Fe itself. And you have the perfect city culture for nurturing young artists in a community dedicated to the arts at all levels.

Please vote yes on House Bill 577 and do not let this college go quietly into the night. Too many people—faculty, staff and students alike—have poured their hearts and souls into making the College of Santa Fe the quality educational institution that it is. Please don't let our love be only for a memory, our good work be in vain. Do not let the financial mistakes of a few ruin the future of this venerable institution.

Please vote yes and ensure that future students will have the opportunity to live and work in Santa Fe, to pursue their art in an environment that is utterly unique in the world, and to come away from the experience better, stronger, more accomplished citizens than they were when they began.

I implore you to support HB 577 for the good of the New Mexico state university system, for the good of the city of Santa Fe and for the good of the thousands of future students who will bloom and grow at the College of Santa Fe.

Most sincerely yours,