One Month Sober

I successfully went the entire month of September not being abducted by aliens not drinking. I’m not gonna lie, I feel goram good about it. (That’s my Firefly reference for the year btw). it was a personal goal that I successfully met. Like when I quit smoking cold turkey 13 years ago.

Being that the limitations I set out a month ago were personal ones, there was nothing stopping me from giving up and having just one drink last month. No one else would’ve cared. But it mattered to me. A couple times I really wanted a beer to just “feel normal” after a tough day. I contemplated whether drinking makes me normal or if my indulgences make me more like Rick Sanchez. Thus making drinking a part of who I am.

Will I have a drink on “Day One” after my month of sobriety?

Not likely.

Will I refrain from ever drinking again? Doubtful. I’m just not planning on partaking in alcohol any time soon.

Previously I would look forward to my days off or vacation time by planning my drinking schedule. WOW that sounds bad. But when I’ve been drinking for 25 years, that’s kinda how I plan my life- it just became normal. What’s strange about that observation is that many people live like this. Planning to the end of the work week or the next social drink. This is totally acceptable.

I never let alcohol interfere with work or the obligations to my family. But when you train your kids how to serve a drink or fetch a beer- is that the role model I really want to be? Haha, maybe… it’s cute in a bizarre way to have a two year old hand you a beer, right?

I’ve always become more socially fun after a few drinks. It doesn’t mean I don’t have fun when not drinking. It’s just a different “let loose” fun.

When I examine my lifestyle- Staying alcohol free may be the best plan for at least a little while longer. My bank account is feeling relief. My body is doing great- I’m napping less and my allergies are calmer. But I don’t think it’s ever going to happen that I never touch a drop again. I am in no rush to grab a beer over the next while that’s for sure.

But I am starting vacation soon… and there’s this margarita stand that I like…

Oktoberfest in September

Yesterday, our favorite Craft Brewery- Trading Post– was having a limited ticket engagement of Oktoberfest. My wife bought us some tickets back in August for the afternoon portion of the event. When we arrived, I saw some of my other friends there. Hugs and handshakes and well wishing for a fun day were passed out.

Upon arrival, we were each given a couple of drink tickets and a large 1 Liter glass to fill with beer. Since I was the Designated Driver I gave my drink tickets to my wife and picked up a sugar cane cola for myself.

There was a good selection of German Food and beers from a few craft breweries: the Trading Post, Field House and Steel & Oak. My wife sampled a variety of beers over the course of a few hours. We also picked up some food to help absorb the beers.

We shared a Bratwurst with Sauerkraut and deli mustard. As well as the Lagenbretzel, which was a large dough pretzel served with beer sausage cheese dip. The Trading Post also gave out snack Pretzel necklaces on a string which I thought was a genius idea and may just do that in the future for other events.

Since this was a busy event, we shared a table with some fantastic people. Next to us sat a wonderful couple that was a few years older than us who we related to quite well. We shared stories of other breweries and distilleries that we have visited, or now need to visit. Across from us sat a quartet of university students ready to get their Oktoberfest drink on!

By the end of the afternoon we had made some great friends and I had some fun memories. My wife enjoyed 72 ounces of beers- essentially she drank a six pack to herself in under four hours. This is not her usual Modus Operandi which made it that much more entertaining for me. I was glad to see her let loose!

In the end it was a great experience and made me yearn for a chance to visit Germany for a true Oktoberfest venue. I’m glad The Trading Post put on such a successful event. There was laughter and smiles all around.

Pears

I am not a big fan of pears. When I was younger, I used to find them sandy tasting. My preference is apples and I love baking apple pies. However, last year our apple tree fell over and subsequently is no more.

Sad Joe.

Near where the apple tree once was is a pear tree. It’s been there for a couple of decades, never really producing any fruit. That is until this year. I think a big part of of the bountiful crop was that our neighbors set up some bee hives last summer. Now our pear tree is producing juicy pears.

Woah, that almost sounded appetizing.

Sarcastic “Yay”.

Anyhow, today I was in our backyard collecting some lovely leaves and I noticed the pear tree. So I walked up to it. When I touched one of the pears, it came off easily in my palm. I headed back to our home and grabbed a bucket and picked the tree clean.

Now we have too many pears than I know what to do with. Off to Google I went looking for recipes. You know what I found?

Pear Crisp.

Lots of recipes for Pear Crisps.

Seems like there isn’t much else to do with pears. So I made a Pear Crisp. But I am also going to try deep fried pears later tonight. I’m making a variation on Asian Pear Fritters. These sounded delicious.

Anyways, hopefully my dislike of pears changes over the course of the next few days. We have more than enough of the fruit to make a half dozen more Pear Crisps.

Start of An Autumn Home

Usually I only decorate for Halloween and Christmas. This year I decided to add some warmth to our home and bring in more of an Autumn feel.

Our house is starting to become a country home. Pine cones, candles, a fire in the background- it makes for a cozy feel. With the interior decorations well under way, it was time to make a country dinner.

Skillet with sautéed beef and egg noodles made our home aromatic. Time to sit down and enjoy the comforts of our home as a family.

Spice Purge 2018

Today we decided to extensively clean the kitchen and bathrooms. That meant bleaching everything and gathering up items for give away. I am astonished at how much stuff we collected over the years that we just don’t use. But we tend to hold onto because of memories or the chance we “may” need it in the future. Both of which are not good reasons to keep stuff. The big question of the day:

Do spices expire?

I found spices and food additives from my childhood back in the early 80’s that have been packed from house to house for no better reason than the fact we always did. Wow! 33¢ for a shaker of tarragon!? What do you use tarragon for??? We also found some unlabeled jars and tried to guess at when it was from or what it was. We have gone through each item and started to dump them.

No idea if spices last forever or not. But our spice cupboard is finally more manageable than ever before. I think we will pick up some more uniform shakers to make the kitchen feel less cluttered. We also found some old gelatin and flavor packets from the 1980’s. Off they went… sorry for the desserts that never were.

We did something similar to our Spice Purge 2018 when we went though our tea cupboard last year. Does tea expire? 🤔

Do you have any idea if spices expire? What spices have you bought to use once and now it sits in your cupboard?

Dinner Train

A coworker of mine found out about an upper class dinner train in Squamish. It was for one night only. They offered an 8 course meal and a short ride. I agreed to the idea, because hey- I’m a railroader. So she booked a table for the four of us in the open air car.

As you can see, it was a fancy dinner. So my wife and I dressed a bit more than just casual for this dinner date with our friends. I was nominated to be the designated driver which was a good thing in the end.

We left early in the afternoon to make our way up to Squamish. It was about an hour and a half drive and you never know how the Sea To Sky Highway will be. We arrived early enough that we found a local brew house called A Frame and the ladies each had a flight of beers. Then it was off to the Heritage Park Railway Museum.

We walked in and checked out the old steam engines and enjoyed some hors d’ouvres. Side note: I was one of the last conductors to take the 2860 Steam Train from Squamish to North Vancouver a few years back. Still a great memory.

We met up with some of our other friends and shared a few glasses of sparkling wine and appetizers. The weather had gotten a better, but was still a bit cooler than expected.

Once we boarded, we proceeded to have lots of fun at our table. We were in an open air car, so a nice breeze was coming through. It also gave us a bit more freedom to wander around. We were probably the loudest table because of all the laughs we were having.

Once we stopped for the main courses, a chilly breeze swept over us. You could see the darkness in the sky of a possible storm on the way. Some blankets were supplied to give us some warmth. We enjoyed the views and continued through our eight course meal.

Because we worked at the railway, we knew the conductors and a few other people on the train. Our table ended up being pretty popular- with many people stopping by. A couple of young ladies in their early twenties seated next to us joined us for some more laughs. They kept telling us that we were “cute couples” and could tell that we loved each other very much.

The train arrived back a bit later than planned, but we were still laughing and talking with our new friends. Once we disembarked, the rowdiness of our group began to subside. Since most of the energy was burned off during our dinner train ride- the drive home was fairly peaceful. For probably the last hour or so of the drive, my passengers slept.

It was a great evening and we will probably do it again next year.

Cabin Adventures: Day 2

Let’s talk about food shall we? A very important aspect of any trip. Especially at a cabin or when camping.

Tuesday- waking up at the crack of dawn, the kids were calmly playing together. I was half awake/half asleep laying in bed until 8:30am. Mostly because the kids were getting hungry and started bugging me to make breakfast. They knew what I was making and their hunger was growing.

Before coming to the cabin, I had laid out a meal plan. This helps keep the guesswork out of the day. This morning was French toast and bacon. The smell of breakfast filled our little cabin and constant questions from the kids of “when is breakfast?” loomed in the air. I think the anticipation helps to make the food taste better.

The kids have been extremely helpful so far. They work together to set the table, clearing the table and doing dishes. The 12 year old boys wanted to make Mac ‘n Cheese for lunch in hopes of getting out of dish duty for that meal. But when it came time to make lunch, they chose to continue playing in the lake. So they wanted to help with dinner.

Dinner was made by myself with the help of the kids. The boys made the salad and my daughter made the fries. She used the bacon grease from breakfast and it made the fries that much more delicious. It was a good effort by all.

Planning the meals in advance also helps to make sure the perishables get used first. Vegetables, breads, thawed meat, etc are prepared in the first couple of days. By the end of a trip we end up eating the canned and boxed goods.

I’m happy that everyone is pitching in. I’m equally impressed with all the help and the fact that the kids want to learn how to prepare the meals.

So far on this trip, Day 2 has been successful.

Is Pizza a Breakfast Food?

After a shift at work, it’s nice to come home and relax. Grab a bite to eat and settle down. Today, when I came home, I decided to grab a cold beer and heat up some leftover pizza.

Thing is, it’s 7am and I came home from a night shift.

So am I eating breakfast or dinner?

Beer and pizza for dinner sounds not unusual. But enjoy it for breakfast, and that’s far from a healthy lifestyle.

I’m torn at which I am enjoying right now.

Is pizza a breakfast food?

Is drinking a beer with breakfast frowned upon?

When does one day end and the next begin?

Is there a heaven and hell? Do we reincarnate? Is mankind evolving? Or is it too late?

Obviously I’m tired. Gotta stop quoting Monty Python and go to bed.

Last Minute Date Night

I was about to leave work when my wife sent me a text:

My suggestions of fast food didn’t seem to sway her decision from still meeting me.

So instead of me driving home, after a long day at work, to vegetate before bed; I met up with my wife for a couple beers and a pub style dinner at a place called Mission Springs Brewery.

We were seated out on the patio at a deck couch. A flight of beers and some crazy delicious burgers were enjoyed. We felt youthful again as we giggled and flirted like we did when we had just begun dating. No one else was sitting on the patio, so we felt like we were being treated like celebrities- Off in a comfortable corner, but with people still able to see us from inside.

The evening had cooled off nicely. Our meal was enjoyed as we watched the sunset in peace. This was the evening my wife had wanted. –NOT KFC

I’m glad I was able to accommodate. I enjoyed our spontaneous date.

Slacker Sunday

My Sunday was a bit hazy for me. So I’m glad I took some photos. I don’t usually have days like that. I had finished a set of four night shifts with a few rough days of sleep in between because of the warm weather. On Sunday morning, I came home and grabbed a quick four hours of sleep before hanging with the family.

We headed out for a late lunch in Fort Langley at “The Trading Post“. I grabbed a flight of four beers and sampled a raspberry, blueberry, citrus, and an ipa. My wife enjoyed a glass of raspberry beer. Lunch consisted of sharing some yam fries, farmer’s poutine and falafel bites. Very tasty tidbits that’s for sure.

Afterwards we walked around Fort Langley and did a part of the “Fort to Fort Trail“. We watched a couple of trains go by and I waved to my coworkers. On our way back to the car, we walked up a pedestrian overpass as another train went by underneath. Ya, I know what you’re thinking- Joe’s a foamer- but the railroad runs right along Fort Langley. I think those that live there must like trains as well since they live alongside the tracks.

When we got home, each of us took a siesta. I hit the hammock outside and woke up with the worst attack of allergies I’ve had all season. At least we were all sufficiently rested for dinner. Our daughter had brought home from her work some salmon filets. This is pronounced Fill Lit, not Fill Lay according to our fish monger daughter (I learned something new). It was deliciously cooked over the bbq by her as well. She is becoming quite the chef as she grows up.

By the time dinner was done, I was still in a haze and was barely functioning. Even my couple of naps throughout the day weren’t helping. I just needed to catch up on real sleep and hope for my allergies to scram. Being exhausted isn’t fun.

I’m glad we got some photos throughout the day to help me remember it.