Last night there was a gathering at my place - a time to celebrate the lab's new Ph.D. Each time that a student finishes up in my lab, I throw a party in their honor: there are few tried and true traditions involved, except that the student gets to choose their beverage of choice. Usually this is a beer of some kind - and Ben chose a Sonoma County micro-brew - Racer 5. Here's what they say about it on the Bear Republic Brewing Co. website:
This is a hoppy IPA. Did I say hops? Your brewer is a hop head! This is a full bodied beer using American grains. The goal was to create a base for showing off the unique floral qualities of two Pacific Northwest hops, Columbus and Cascade. Columbus is a new hybrid High Alpha Acid hop used mostly for bittering, but used heavily as an aromatic in this bold brew. Cascade is the balance that ties the malt and bittering hops together. It is a true specialty ale and is our brewer's statement on this style. 2004 L.A. Commercial Brewing Competition, Silver Medal Winner; 2004 World Beer Cup, Silver Medal Winner; 2001 Real Ale Festival, San Diego, Gold Medal Winner; 2001 Real Ale Festival, Chicago, Gold Medal Winner; 1999 Great Amercian Beer Festival, Gold Medal Winner - og 1.070, ABV 7.0%, IBU 69. California State Fair Bronze Medal, 1997 Beerfest Invitational. - og 1.070, ABV 7.0%, IBU 69.
It's a good beer, if you're in to beer.
Now this was the first 'Airstream' party - and so the plan was for it to be outdoors (in the front garden), with a small fire. Unfortunately it rained - poured - the hour or so before guests were due to arrive, so I was still scrambling a bit to set up tables for food, etc once the rain stopped. So it was damp, humid - and still air, and a fire was built anyway (because it is October, dammit, and there should be a fire!) and better yet, guests tended the fire with intense dedication - as we all ate chili and jalapeno cornbread and corn chowder and sourdough bread and homemade pumpkin cheesecake and a lemon meringue pie (made from meyer lemons from a friend's front yard) and chocolate angel food cake and a kahlua cake and homemade brownies and freshly boiled cayenne peanuts...and good conversation.
And then late into the night, at half past midnight, just the lab remained (and a few close lab friends) and the new Ph.D. received a few gifts and it was all quite sweet. At a bit after 1 am everyone had left, the dogs had been freed - and I cleaned up a bit as they ran around. The Pointer Sisters and Stanley then celebrated in their own special way, sniffing out boiled peanut shells - their late night reward for being so patient.
Now, more to the point...the flowers! I was obsessed with having vases of flowers, and since my job situation (rather, lack of paycheck situation - since I most definitely have a 'job') has me trying hard to be frugal, I thought 'what could be better than late summer wildflowers?' - so early yesterday morning I traveled a few miles north of my place and collected wild sunflower and ageratum and aster and others, and filled several glass jars and a fired pot with the flowers (shown above, before they were moved around). But it rained, the flowers got set out late - and then it was dark (except for the fire, a few tiki torches and a few candles). Silly me - obsessing over those flowers. But I thought they were beautiful...and doesn't an Airstream party need flowers?
~the Airstream, with flowers~
This afternoon I finished cleaning up - and moved the flowers to the front of the Airstream. With the awning up, a few chairs added - my small table of 'propagatees' put back on their table - well, it almost looks like home.
(Wait, it is home, isn't it?)
A home with a few yummy leftovers and wildflowers and propagatees and brownies!
I am still determined to be cheerful and happy, in whatever situation I may be; for I have also learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances.