Christmas in Colorado
We had a really nice visit to Colorado. I wish it had been longer, but we made the most of our time there. We had the usual Christmas morning brunch with my mom, stepdad, stepdad's ex-wife, stepbrother, dad, stepmom, and sister (I like my crazy family!). I'm glad Patrick finally got to come to brunch and try my mom's coffee cake. I like sharing traditions with him.
We opened presents after brunch, and we got all sorts of fun cooking stuff and then sat around all afternoon, just like you're supposed to on Christmas. Dinner was tasty; Lianna (my 15-year-old sister) made some impressive pumpkin pies. After dinner, we played a really old version of Trivial Pursuit (from around the time I was born, I think). There were questions about West Berlin and the USSR, as well as lots of references to actors and actresses none of us had ever heard of. We were pretty evenly matched in our lack of knowledge about old things, but I won eventually. It could've been anybody's game though. I should get my family a new version of Trivial Pursuit for next Christmas.
The next day, we saw The Life Aquatic. Patrick and I had been looking forward to it. I don't think it quite lived up to our expectations (it wasn't as good as The Royal Tenenbaums, in our estimation), but it was still fun. You should see it! We ended up watching my stepbrother's copy of The Royal Tenenbaums that night. I guess it was just a Wes Anderson kind of day.
We also got my stepdad to show us how he makes tortillas and biscuits (at two different meals, of course). We'll have to try out what we learned, especially since we own 24 different biscuit cutters, both straight and fluted-edge. I'm excited about my biscuit cutters!
On our last day in Colorado, we got to eat at one of my favorite restaurants, and we also got to tour one of Patrick's favorite breweries--New Belgium, which just happens to be in my hometown. Click the picture of Patrick for more from our tour.
I enjoyed the brewery tour way more than I thought I would. New Belgium seems like it would be a fun place to work--it has a chemistry lab, and they taste test the beer every day (too bad I don't like the taste of beer). And they care about the environment (they use wind power and recycle, among other things). We got to tour the brewery by ourselves (the guided tours were all filled up), and the best part was the plexiglass room overlooking the bottling factory. There were all sorts of machines whirring and clicking, just like on Mister Rogers! I could've stayed there for hours, watching the machines work. I doubt it's as exciting to work in the factory, but it also seems much better than other factory jobs. They get a free case of beer every week, and they get a free Electra bike (especially designed for New Belgium) after their first year of work. And there's a big vacuum arm for moving kegs around the factory floor. It was cool, I assure you.
After the tour, Patrick taste-tested some beer (for free! I can't get over the fact that they give out free beer). He tried samples of (1) Sunshine Wheat, (2) Biere de Mars, (3) Season (Cezanne?), (4) 1554, and (5) Trippel. I tried sips of them, even though beer is wasted on me. Sunshine Wheat was decent tasting, and the rest made me wince. Especially 1554--yuckola! Patrick liked them all though, so I guess he's the one you should believe. The Biere de Mars was his favorite. It's a seasonal beer, and it probably won't be available in California. In fact, only Fat Tire and Sunshine Wheat are available in California. And all those eastern states don't get *any* beer from New Belgium! Can you believe it? Season was a super top-secret beer that isn't sold anywhere. It tasted like ginger to me, but the beermeister said it didn't have ginger in it, but it did have lavender. I felt privileged to have been able to taste it.
The best beer for non-beer-drinkers there was Transatlantique Kriek, which is also not available in California. My mom and Alan had a sample of it, and it actually was drinkable! It didn't make me gag or anything. They bought a 4-pack of it, even though they're not beer-drinkers. We should've bought some and taken it home on the plane. Oh well...
Patrick and I felt compelled to spend money there too, since they seemed like such a nice group of people, so we got a ringy bell for my bike and a New Belgium frisbee, a magnet, and two free bike patch kits. It was a good time.
We've been home for a few days now, and it's almost time to drive down to LA to spend New Year's at Erin's place! I'm excited to see everybody, although I don't know if I'm ready for it to be 2005.