In the middle of taking the empty beer bottles out at work tonight, I happened to look up and noticed that the sky was just the brightest, prettiest shade of blue. Not a cloud in the sky – no rain, no snow, no sleet or hail. Just clear blue sky and an easy drive to and from work tonight. I was a happy kid. :)

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Whiskey and Pottery and Bears! Oh My!

This was really just a weird day… but in a good way.

It started with getting a needle jammed into my arm and accidentally peeing on my hand – gross (despite all my practice, I’m terrible at urine samples); in the middle there was a mustache parade (not a euphemism) and a coworker wearing a bear suit; and towards the end there was whiskey, pottery, and me crammed four-wide into a pickup truck with some awesome Venezuelans.

While work was a little fun today, the most fun was had after work at Wigle Whiskey. As I’ve written on here many times, I’m a big fan of Wigle. I like their story, I like their events, their venues, their employees, and (most important) I love their products. I was invited to attend the Rye Whiskey and Pottery Char Comparision Release Party tonight at Wigle, and since the BF was busy, I brought along a friend. We started off with one of the signature cocktails for the evening, which included rye whiskey, wheat whiskey, tea, lavender bitters, and some other things I can’t remember. (Bad blogger, bad memory, or strong drinks? You decide.) The drink was delicious, as they always are, and although they didn’t taste strong, they packed a little bit of a punch.

We mingled a little and then headed over to the distillery portion of the building, where The Union Project was set up to help us throw our own whiskey cups! I’ve always been curious about throwing pottery, but the only frame of reference I had was that scene in Ghost. While I did not have a Ghost experience, I did have a fun time throwing my first cup ever. I was terrified I was going to screw it up, but I think it’ll turn out just fine. It still needs to be fired and glazed (The Union Project is doing that for us), so hopefully we’ll be able to pick up our specimens in the coming week or so.

After we got down and dirty with the clay, we stopped by the food table (Thin Man Sandwich Shop, I luuuuurve you!) and then headed over to the whiskey tasting station. The bartender was serving up three different variations of the same batch of organic rye whiskey while explaining in-depth the differences between each variation – how both the char of the barrels and the amount of time the barrels rested (“seasoning”) affected the taste, smell, and feel of the whiskey.

It was very interesting to be able to taste the difference that the char and seasoning made on each of the whiskeys. The first one we tried, “Batch 22,” had a char of 4 and was seasoned for 36 months. This seemed to be the most potent of the three whiskeys – it tasted spicy and smoky to me; it would make the kind of mixed drink that would kick you in the pants. This is not a whiskey for wimps, but it’s fantastic if you’ve just come in from the below-freezing wind – it’ll warm you right up! The second one we tried was “Batch 23,” which was seasoned for 24 months and had a char of 4. There was a noticeable difference between 22 and 23; 23 was less spicy and easier to drink. I preferred 23 over 22, but that’s only because I hadn’t yet tried Batch 24. 24 ended up being my favorite, I think. It was seasoned for 24 months and had a char of 3, which meant that this whiskey tasted sweeter than the other two. Batch 24 was the easiest to drink, and though it was sweeter, it still had a nice smokiness to it. I imagine it would make a great Old Fashioned, or even a smoky whiskey + ginger beer.

After the tasting, we nibbled on a few more apps and then my friend’s husband and his brother came to pick us up (hence being smushed together in a pickup truck). They were able to get me to a non-sketchy bus stop without me freezing to death, and for that I am super grateful. I’m sure the whiskey would’ve kept me warm enough internally, but I’m not so sure about externally. ;)

All told, it was a decent day and a really fun night; it was definitely a nice change of pace.

Edited to add: How could I forget? I gave beets another shot, in sandwich form tonight. Not nearly as good on a sandwich as they are in a salad, covered in dressing. It was like eating a dirt sandwich. I’ll stick to bacon next time; lesson learned. :)

** Note: I was invited to attend the release party for free, but I was not asked to write anything about Wigle Whiskey. I just had a nice time drinking good whiskey and I love them and want them to be successful. **

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As I was leaving volleyball tonight, our ref let me know about a different summer sand league happening this year. Instead of the regular PSL volleyball on Wednesday, apparently the Citiparks people have reserved all the courts. I was scared for a hot minute (I really like playing sand in the Wednesday league and I don’t want to not be able to play), but then I saw the price per team and I became one happy little summer camper. $100/team? YES, PLEASE. Take that, PSL and your inflated prices that keep getting jacked up.

So even though it’s still February, I now have a reason to look forward to the warmer days ahead. :)

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Morning Treat

Knowing in advance the insanity that awaited me at work today, I decided to treat myself to something fun for breakfast. I stopped at the Starbucks in our lobby and got myself one of the fancy new tiramisu lattes. It wasn’t quite what I expected, but I can’t put my finger on how it fell short. I really just feel ‘meh’ about it, and I’ll probably refrain from getting another one in the future. When it comes time for my birthday drink, though, I might give the tiramisu frappuccino a try… maybe it’s just better as a cold drink?

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Solar Power

The first part of my day was pretty much the best part, as I had a box waiting for me when I arrived at work. On Thursday, I’d ordered a new keyboard, and somehow it showed up in the office on Friday (super-fast, eh?)… but I worked from home Friday and Monday, so it was a nice Tuesday morning surprise.

So far, I LOVE it. It’s solar powered, which is cool because I sit right by a gigantic window wall and it’s constantly charged (it also charges with overhead lights, so no worries about living in overcast Pittsburgh). I love the way it feels and the way it types; it’s so quiet. Plus (the real reason I bought it), it’s wireless, so I’m able to get rid of some clutter on my desk. If only I could get some sort of wireless monitor to hook up to my laptop; I’d have the cleanest desk around!

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Loafin’ Around

I tried out a new routine today, which was [temporarily] really fun. Since I have a late call on Monday evenings, I have the “choice” between working 12.5 hours, or taking some hours for myself in the middle of the day. Normally I take an hour or two to watch Netflix while I’m still logged in, just so I have some time to unwind a little, but today I did something different. I took a couple hours completely off this afternoon in order to run a couple errands and go to the gym. Traffic was way better than it normally is after work, and the gym… well, it was interesting. As I expected, there’s an entirely different crowd at the gym in the middle of the day. Lots of old folks, but I think that’s pretty cool. If I ever make it to my 70s or my 80s, I’d like to think I’ll be one of those grannies on the elliptical. Get it, granny.

Anyway, this plan was fantastic and stress-relieving and all of those good things you dream of in the middle of the day… until I got home and checked all my work emails. The fan. Stuff hit it. Poo storms all over the place.

I’m still glad I went, and I put it on my calendar as a recurring 2-hour meeting, but I just hope that the next week less stuff goes wrong while I’m out.

In other news, I was a little frazzled after I saw all the problems in my inbox, so I ended up messing up my dinner. I’d planned on making ham loaf and lemony potatoes, but I didn’t read the ham loaf directions and basically forgot ALL of the ingredients. Like, instead of ham, milk, eggs, breadcrumbs, salt, and pepper, I just made ham. In loaf form. The lemony potatoes turned out fine, but the ham was… dense. Not bad, necessarily – it still tastes good – but it’s quite heavy.

So if I move a little slowly at volleyball tomorrow, I only have myself to blame. Myself, and ham.

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