This afternoon an old friend of mine and his wife came by for a visit. We hung out on the back deck and swam in the pool. Kind of our go-to in this house on hot days. I always enjoy their company because we have a chance to share stories or our lives. Some adventures, some hardships, and lots of humor.
What really stood out for me today was what my friend brought with him.
He brought a case of non-alcoholic beer to share.
He knows I am not drinking and haven’t been since November. He brought these to show support of my choice to be alcohol free. I really appreciate that he did this for me as I didn’t even mention anything like this prior to his visit. Most times people ask for more details as to why I’m not drinking. Or they keep offering a drink forgetting that I’m not partaking in the booze while they are having some.
I’m not upset that people forget or ask questions. But today I am feeling the kindness of my buddy doing that one small gesture on my behalf. It goes to show that true friends really do care and pay attention to the things that matter in your life. And Matt has been in my life since before I met my wife, so he knows my life pretty intimately. He has been very supportive to me all of these years.
This year was another relatively good year for me. It had ups and downs, but mostly positive vibes. I don’t think I will change anything for 2023.
I am ending my year with a quiet evening with my wife, my kids, my sister and my niece. Even though we were invited out to a couple events, I honestly feel that spending tonight with the family who is here matters the most. I do appreciate and love my friends for always thinking of us and inviting us out. Sometimes I just need to know how loved we are with those invites.
Real plans for 2023? I am continuing my journey to be alcohol free. Which has not been easy. But since the end of November, I have done darned good at it. It feels as though it is never a good time to quit drinking. There is always celebrations, frustrations, or casual moments that a drink would feel fitting. Seeing friends share pictures, memes, or videos has made it difficult at times for me. A bit of FOMO happens. But I needed to do this for myself again.
My last length of time without drinking was only 300 days. I couldn’t even make a whole year. It started as just an occasional drink, but then I felt like I was becoming dependent on booze. Yes, I have shared numerous experiences drinking, having fun, and supporting small breweries. But I also have a tough time calling it quits each time. It was never just one drink. There were moments that I’d drink whatever I found in the house as well once I was out of beer. Like a scavenger hunting for scraps.
As well, my body was not enjoying the years of abuse. Nearly three decades worth of drinking. I now feel more pains in my body than I remember. But my breathing and guts feel better after the last 30 days of sobriety. So I’m focusing on each day and doing my best to distract myself from the urge to drink.
That is my hardship. My Achilles heel. My crutch. Normally I just share positive stories in my blog. But today was about being truthful with myself and those who follow me.
2023 will be filled with courage to overcome more obstacles and set out on new adventures. Reconnecting with friends. Controlling my destiny. That’s my 2023.
Today I just did stuff for me. Sort of. I started my day early by cleaning the bathroom and mopping the floors. I took a break to watch my son skate via a live feed from Calgary.
At lunch, I went to meet a couple of buddies for beer at a new brewery in Langley. It opened only a month ago, so it was still fairly new and not too busy. During our beers, we took a break and watched another of Theory’s races on YouTube.
By three o’clock I was back home and caught Theory’s final race of the day. This was followed by some “me time” floating in the pool. I didn’t turn on the heat, so it was a float on the cool water as I enjoyed the sun and a couple more beers.
After such a busy few days off, I needed the afternoon to myself. I’m glad I met with my buddies for a break. Too bad they had other plans for the afternoon- otherwise we’d have gotten into more than a couple drinks. So much for the idea of Sober October. There’s always next year.
Last night some coworkers and I went out to Oktoberfest at my favorite brewery- Trading Post. We went four years ago at the Fort Langley location (read about it here: Oktoberfest 2018) and had a blast. Last night was at their brewery location- which was really fun.
I reserved a large table last week because I knew there would be at least six of us. At the last minute, I had my boss’s boss join us as well. I was honestly surprised at how little we talked about work and just had a riot.
With the table came three large platters of food. We also ordered one more because with eight of us- we were drinking a lot and eating a lot.
Throughout the night, we enjoyed some Bavarian Oompah music from a trio of musicians. As well, we entered a couple contests- like chugging a 2 liter boot of beer in the fastest time- our group came in second. But at the end of the night, I won a draw and got to bring home a smaller boot of my very own.
If you are wanting to let loose in Langley on a Friday night- there are two more weeks of this going on. Check out the Trading Post Website for more details and to book a table. You won’t be disappointed. Just make sure you have a safe ride home like we arranged.
Friday night I met up with some friends at a brewery. I screwed up the date and ended up at the location a day early- sitting by myself. As embarrassing as that was, I enjoyed the location and the sunset while sipping on some beers.
The brewery is located just up the road from our old house. It opened last year about a month after we moved. Thursday was the first time I had been there. We don’t tend to go back to our old neighborhood much, so this was a nice treat.
This brewery is still in its infancy so to speak. They haven’t put much money into fancying up the place and the seating outside is eclectic to say the least. But the beers are by far some of the best I have had over the past few years. What makes this place stand out is the pond and the serenity as you sit in the farm land and sip on your beers. Even with other people around, it is far quieter than any other brewery I have been to.
I’m sure if we had stayed living in our old home, I’d be attending this brewery weekly. Lucky for me- my friends were there the second day I showed up (albeit the date I was supposed to meet them.) I also picked myself up a pizza from the pop up Raving Gamer pizza truck that was on the premise. It was not too bad, although about five bucks more than it should have been. But when there isn’t much in the way of food out there- you have to enjoy what is offered.
So check out Locality Brewing if you live in Langley or Abbotsford; or if you want to check out a farm feel brewery just outside of Vancouver. You will not be disappointed. I know I wasn’t- with the fact that I was there two days in a row….
This morning was a hustle and bustle kind of day. Kids to school, get gas, hit Costco, grocery store and Home Depot… rush home to unload and then off to a different Home Depot to buy what I wanted. Kind of frustrating trying to get a patio set these days it seems. But I was successful in acquiring it!
What was great was the sales associate at Home Depot was happy to help me load up my car- it meant they didn’t need to find a place to store the set as it was on a palette and in the shipping area. Once at my vehicle- two more employees came to help load it up. Which was awesome! I strapped everything down and drove home.
I got home and my wife came to meet me in the driveway. I was taking the straps off and we took the table off the roof rack. The remaining benches and chairs were in my vehicle and very heavy! my wife made a comment that I should wait until I could get friends over to help move the set. At this point, some random jogger stopped and offer help to move it from my vehicle to the garage. Awesome! Totally appreciated it. Then he ran off.
Because of all my running around, I didn’t have time to make a nice lunch for myself. So I went old school living on my own style. Mac n’ Cheese with a can of tuna and a cheap beer on the side. Perfect for just myself. Honestly, who am I trying to impress these days?
I’m looking forward to the spring and summer when I can really enjoy the weather. Even the small glimpse of it was a nice addition to my day. But I want to give out a big cheers to the three Home Depot employees and the random jogger who helped me today! You guys are the mvps of my day! Thank you!
I have attended every anniversary of the Trading Post as well as opening day. To say I like their business is an understatement. I have been first or second in line every year waiting to go inside.
I always meet up with different friends for the anniversary. We always sit upstairs and enjoy a few beers. Even during these Covid times, the brewery still manages to draw a crowd. It’s not shoulder to shoulder like it has been in the past, but it’s still just as popular.
My wife and I had a good time talking with our friends. We spent a couple of hours shooting the shit and polished off a few beers along the way. Even just that brief interaction made me appreciate having a place to go and people to be with. Supporting small business and watching it grow and succeed also bring me joy.
Thank you Trading Post for six years of good drinks and fun with friends. I’ll be there again next year!
When I was a kid, National Lampoon’s European Vacation came out on video. I found the film to be absolutely hilarious. It also made me put Germany and other parts of Europe on my bucket list of places to visit. Specifically during Oktoberfest. (Much like our visit to Tokyo during the Cherry Blossoms). Since I have a wife with German roots, this idea excites me more.
Experiencing the world and other cultures like that is high on my list of why life is awesome. So as my wife and I plan our next big trip (which is on pause because of Covid), she is wanting to introduce me to some things that I never tried. The other day was sauerkraut on a bratwurst. All I can say is that it was surprisingly delicious. I’m not a fan of anything pickled, but as an addition to the food, it worked perfectly.
Of course you can’t have Oktoberfest without beer. A couple of years back, my wife and I attended Oktoberfest in September at The Trading Post. This was during one of my “Sober Septembers” so I was the designated driver. I still had a great time watching people cheer and sing while they drank and ate.
Lately, I’ve been enjoying some OOMPA Music played through the Spotify account. There’s something about German Polka that is kind of fun. My family is not as keen as I am it seems. But that’s okay.
Do you enjoy Oktoberfest? Besides German beers of course!
Last night I attended a stag party for a friend of mine named Jay. It was pretty tame but a whole lot of fun.
We started off at a place called The Barley Merchant. Here we were able to sample a variety of beers since there were fifty different ones on tap. Many from local breweries. We also had some appetizers and joked around quite a bit.
After a couple of hours tasting beers, we headed out for one of Jay’s favorite pastimes- karaoke. I will admit, this group of friends love singing and are quite talented. I enjoy cheering them on, since I don’t tend to get behind the microphone myself.
In a couple of weeks time Jay and Leona will be getting married. I’m really happy for them and look forward to seeing them tie the knot. They are a good match for each other.
I’m celebrating another St. Patrick’s Day by being sober. I have been dry since the end of August which is a huge deal for me and my health. At almost seven month without alcohol, I have had a few weak moments that came close to knocking me backwards into my old routines.
Besides mentioning my sobriety in today’s post, St. Patrick’s Day is just another day. Only I’m going to wear green and have Green Tea or perhaps matcha. That’s the extent of my St. Patrick’s Day celebrating.
When I was a child, I remember green being my favorite colour. I also remember the word GREEN was one of the first words my kids ever spelled. That was because of a preschool song from when they were 3/4 years old. It was very cute. Anyone who had kids at Wind and Tide would remember the same thing.
What are you doing today? Did you remember to wear green?
Today my wife and I had a lunch date at The Trading Post in Fort Langley. It was a double date with some coworkers of mine. We went to celebrate the 5th anniversary of the brewery. There was live music and good food. Pics or it didn’t happen.
I took one photo. It was as I waited outside the eatery before anyone met up with me. My wife was waiting in the car to keep warm prior to the opening. Our friends were only a couple minutes behind us. I was first in line. Just like my other years of attending their anniversaries.
We had a great time talking and eating. So much so that I didn’t take any photos. We just all lived in the moment. No sharing of life on social media. Lots of good laughs and intimate personal conversations. It was good to share in person.
So no photos. But it did happen. I’m glad it did- my wife and I needed a break from this week. A mental health break of sorts. It felt good.
I’ve never been one to push weight loss on anyone. The human race comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes. I myself am a tall, lanky fella. up until almost six months ago I also drank heavily. Deep fried foods are still a favorite of mine, but I’m also trying to eat somewhat better.
For years I enjoyed taking in a craft beer or six on my days off. I wasn’t exercising or eating very healthy either. My body was not very happy with me. It started to give up and went with it. This tall skinny guy had begun to create himself quite the Beer Gut. I would shrug it off and just say, “It’s my Dad Bod.” But I also began having some heart palpitations more regularly and that finally scared me.
So I took on Sober September 3. Only instead of giving into drinking on October 1st, I stayed sober and have been since then. I didn’t lose the “Dad Bod” right away. In fact, over the Christmas period I was eating loads of rich foods and my gut was just hanging out, wondering where the beer was. Somehow in 2021, my body decided to adapt to this new predicament.
My wife got me back into using a Fitbit just after Christmas. So I began tracking my steps and watching my sleeping. She also picked up a Fitbit scale and every so often I stepped on it. Yes folks, I have lost weight. And it’s the good kind of loss. My gut has diminished finally.
There were no extreme diets. No crazy exercise regime. Just walking and being alcohol free. It has taken me almost six months to look and feel better. Both physically and mentally.
Tomorrow I am going for a lunch date to the Trading Post. What was once my favorite beer place is still my favorite restaurant. I can enjoy the atmosphere without the drinking. Besides, I am finally starting to look and feel healthy. I’m not about to shake that up.
Normally on November 25th I go out and see my father’s final resting place, followed by a beer or two. Not today. Today I will not be drinking a beer for my father. Nor will I share any stories about him. Instead, I’d like to tell you that I hit a personal milestone that I’m genuinely proud of.
I’ve been sober for three months today. I may not have seemed like an alcoholic to most people. Looking at my posts on Instagram and the fact that I have a category called “Alcohol” in my blog- I thought I was just having normal fun- with booze.
I was a social drinker. Hanging out until last call, stopping for “a beer” with friends. Joking that “It only takes me one beer to get me drunk, I’m just not sure if it’s the fifth one or the sixth one.” It’s also one thing to have my friends looking to me as the person who is always ready for a drink.
I would often come home from work and drink a few beers. On my days off I’d drink at least twice as much each day and then finishing whatever alcohol I could find once the beers ran out. Its in my genetics to go way overboard when I do drink. However when my heart is racing after a few beers and my kids are calling me out and telling me I drink too much- I needed to reassess my life.
What started as Sober September this year has escalated into a three month win. A huge victory that I am proud of. The pilgrimage I set upon was only spoken of with those who were close to me. Talking about the burden of alcoholism isn’t easy.
If I could pat myself on the back, I am going to do it here publicly. The next month will probably be the most difficult for me to get through. I always took pride in setting up my “First Christmas Tree” of the season- the booze dispenser. My coffee would be spiked, and the eggnog as well. Not this year. This year is the new me attempting to emerge and conquer the world.
I needed to share this three month milestone. As embarrassing as it seems to be at times. Alcoholism is something I’ve lived with all my life. I have been drinking pretty regularly since I was 17. Making a fool of myself on many occasions and not knowing when or where the limit was. Alcoholism was destroying my health and my bank account. I also had a few negative memories that I left for my children. From stupidity to anger to embarrassment- I was easily losing “Father of the Year” chances more and more frequently.
Thank you for reading. I am trying to live the rest of my life the best way I can. If I falter, I hope to get back up and work towards being a better me.
This is my third year going for “Sober September”. In fact I am already starting it early because last year I slipped and had a beer part way through the month. I won’t let that happen again this year.
If all goes well, I’m going to push for an Alcohol-Free Autumn. I’m not sure if my wife will try and join me this year. She doesn’t possess the same internal struggle as I when it comes to having a vice. In general I have more of those evil addiction traits than her.
Most of my year has had me in pictures with various beers at a variety of places. I appear to be touting the joy of drinking like an old magazine advertisement. As if drinking and fun go hand-in-hand. But seeing the last image of myself in front of my favorite watering hole, I realized I don’t look as healthy as once was. I have put on some unhealthy weight and a fake smile that I really do not like.
So wish me luck in my journey of Sober September 3. Each year gets harder than the last to let the drinking go. That is a sobering statement in and of itself.
Today was spent relaxing at home, aka: Castle Havelka. I made some pretzel bites and a couple of the kids helped clean the homestead. It felt good.
In the afternoon a friend of mine stopped by. He brought over a case of beer and we were shooting the breeze while our sons played some video games. My buddy and I had a great evening just hanging out.
It was nice to be a couple of guys hanging out. No talk of work. A bit about family. But mostly just being us. A few good cracks at one another, and a lot of memories over a case of Dragon’s Lair Beer.
We took on the Dragon and killed it. And it was tasty. I will definitely Storm the dragon’s lair again.
My wife and I have enjoyed traveling around British Columbia and collecting beer growlers along the way. I like the majority of the artwork that accompanies the Craft Breweries- along with the beers. We have gathered quite the collection of growlers over the years.
Today I finally made a growler carrier. I wanted to get one ages ago, but most only carry two growlers at a time. I wanted a larger one that can carry three of these 1.89ml (64oz) bottles. That makes it easier to transport them around.
There was a couple of old cupboard doors in our storage made of tongue and groove cedar wood. Easy to cut and put back together in a new shape. I also had an old closet dowel rod for the handle.
It took me a couple of hours to pull apart the doors and put everything back together. Here’s a secret- I only cut the two sides a bit shorter as the rest fit nicely together. The two doors had boards holding them together that I cut in half and made spacers for the growlers. A bit of sanding, some wood glue and a nail gun finished off my project. Because the dowel was so long, I decided to trim it down on one end to hold 4 small beer glasses. I figure that if I don’t like that part, I can always cut it off.
Now I’m ready to take this out for BBQs and camping! Plus it’ll be easier to get the growlers filled each time, as they won’t roll around my car anymore.
I love making stuff and repurposing items that would normally be disposed of. My holder may not be perfect, but it does the job it needs to do- carry my beers.
Today is Canada Day! I am proud to be Canadian. So much so that I work for Canadian National Railway. Just kidding, I work for the railroad because I love trains. Man, I cannot say that with a straight face. I work for CN because I enjoy making money to live.
Growing up, I remember my father always drinking Molson Canadian Beer. When I turned legal drinking age, Molson was my go-to beer for many years. Mostly because I’d buy a $20 t-shirt and get a free case of beer. (At least that’s what I told myself, but clearly it was the opposite).
There was a commercial years ago put out by Molson that I enjoyed. I Am Canadian aka Joe Rant. It felt like the commercial was made for me specifically. I rewatch it every year. I also share it every year. I am a proud Canadian and love this country with all of its amazing landscapes and diverse culture.
Today I really wanted to make full sized soft pretzels. I decided to make them a part of our dinner. Besides mustard, what could I make with dinner? I remembered back to Oktoberfest 2018 at Trading Post. I didn’t make a cheese dip, I went with something else.
I took some Italian Sausage and squeezed the meat out of the casings. I fried the meat in a cast iron pan before adding two cans of tomato soup. I then added some sour cream and Dijon mustard. I served the soup as a side for the pretzels. We also had some sweet potato fries as our vegetable. Although deep frying them probably negates any health benefit.
I chose to have a Czech Pilsner with dinner. Having finally figured out how to play Spotify throughout the house the other day, I put on some Polka music. Because, why not? The family devoured dinner and we had a great time enjoying the music. I’m not sure we will ever get to Oktoberfest in Germany. But who knows. Maybe one day.
Today was another day spent at home. I will say though, I’m really enjoying the fact that our house is feeling like a home once more. The family has pulled together and been a great help over the past few weeks.
We’ve done tons of cleaning inside already. The weather was beautiful today, so it was spent gardening. The kids helped tremendously today. I’m really satisfied with the results.
As we were working, my favorite brewery delivered some beers to our home. Within an hour of my order, they were at my door with a much desired beer for the weekend. Big thanks to Trading Post for the backyard beers!
For a break afterwards, the kids had some free time to do what they wanted. What they wanted to do was surprising to me. Our son played trumpet outside on the tree deck. Our oldest daughter did some painting on her canvases and our youngest read a book. Afterwards the four of us worked together and baked an apple pie. So amazing!
I’m not one for going out on St. Patrick’s Day as it is, which is fine. It’s a fun type of celebration for many though. From plastic leprechaun hats to green beers- people love to have a raucous of a time today.
With today being St. Patrick’s Day, it would normally be filled with people going out and having a good time. But due to the recent pandemic, it is recommended that people stay away from large gatherings. Sadly this may mean no green beers in the pub. The world needs a touch of good luck, but we seem to have a No Leaf Clover kind of day. Hopefully things get better before they get worse.
If you are still going to celebrate with some beer- do it safely from the comfort of your own home. Maybe Skype or FaceTime some friends instead. Practice that new buzz term- Social Distancing. As I’ve gotten older, I enjoy Social Distancing already. So, here’s my virtual clinking of a glass to you-
Last year I went to Trading Post in Langley to celebrate Three Years of Beers. The year before I enjoyed Two Years of Beers. I was also there for the Grand Opening when they first started up. I have been a loyal customer and beer connoisseur of what the Trading Post has to offer. I have visited their three locations and will continue to do so.
The other day I received a message from a person whom I met up with last year at the anniversary. He was hoping to meet up again this year. Our friendship was formed over a mutual friend… and beers. I also met with a couple former coworkers from various past employments of mine.
As the afternoon went on, we had some good talks and loads of laughs. It was great to meet with everyone who makes life a bit more enjoyable. It’s all about networking, right? Or just enjoying life.
Now, I have a nice collection of specialty glasses each celebrating the various anniversaries from Trading Post. I also have a great collection of friendships that I have accumulated over the years. Taking the time to enjoy people’s company over a beer or two makes me happy.
Anniversaries are a great way to keep in contact with others. An anniversary of a brewery is even better.
As I have mentioned numerous times before- I love to shop local and support small businesses. If you live in Langley, BC I recommend you follow Tourism Langley on Instagram. They are always out there sharing great moments in our little neck of the Fraser Valley.
Yesterday they shared this picture. Langley grew over the past year adding four more breweries to their name. Previously it was only Dead Frog and Trading Post that graced us with craft beers.
I was excited to hear about the other breweries that opened This Year, that I went out and filled some growlers to share tonight. We have a few friends and coworkers stopping by for the Winter Solstice. And what goes great with food and friends? Sharing beers. I picked up samples from Dead Frog, Trading Post, 5 Roads, and Farm Country. I’m excited to try them and share with everyone.
Hopefully the beers I grabbed taste as good as their names sounded. We shall find out tonight.
We travelled for nine hours to get to Prince George, BC. I did the majority of the drive. The only time my wife did the driving, she was stopped by the police for enjoying the speed of the car. Which unfortunately was within the first couple hours.
We made a pit stop in Quesnel just prior to arriving at our destination. There’s a small brewery that we liked back in the summer, so we made sure to stop once more for some lunch and beers. With a little over an hour remaining to get to the destination, it was a nice way to enjoy the afternoon.
We checked into our hotel- The Pomeroy- and they had upgraded us to a full kitchen suite at no extra cost. That meant we could go to the local grocery store and make a quick dinner instead of spending money unnecessarily at a restaurant! Bonus since we have a small fine to pay from earlier…
I took our son downstairs to do a workout before dinner. He hit up the elliptical, bike and treadmill for about ten minutes each. It was a great way to get his leg muscles active after such a long journey in the car. I even got my heart rate going on the bike and treadmill.
Our daughter has been enjoying writing during the road trip. She has a journal titled “Plans For World Domination“. I’m pretty sure she is secretly trying to take over the world by being obvious. Only time will tell.
I spent some time after dinner enjoying the newly updated pool and hot tub that the hotel had to offer. I’d like to say I was alone, but since there are a couple of waterslides- there were a few kids around. I still got a couple of laps in though and felt relaxed afterwards.
Now it’s time to encourage Theory in his Speed Skating. I mean, he is the reason we came up here!
My wife and I had a fairly successful Sober September. I faltered once and had a beer at the airport in Winnipeg. As September ended and October began, I wasn’t eagerly waiting for the month to end in order to “Hit the sauce” so to speak.
On Thursday we went out with some friends for a dinner. Originally we were going to go to Trading Post in Abbotsford- a place with great food and atmosphere. I would’ve likely had my favorite beer there- the 1828 Helles Lager. But they were closed for a private event. So we ended up at The Canadian Brewhouse instead.
Their beer special was Budweiser. A beer I don’t overly enjoy. So I had a ginger ale instead and I felt good about it. I know we’re only five days into October, but I’ve been enjoying a variety of teas and sodas in lieu of alcohol. The only thing I’m noticing is that I am craving sweets more often. Hence the sodas.
As Autumn progresses, I’ll probably enjoy a drink or two at some point. I’m just not actively going out to buy beers or planning nights with friends at breweries as I have in the past.
Maybe I can find an elegant tea house nearby and invite you out for a social date.
I’m going for year two of Sober September. The end of summer had me enjoying my vacation with quite a few beers this year. As much as I want to sport the beer gut and “Dad Bod” I also want to be healthy. Taking a break from the hops and barley will help.
We also have quite the collection of Growlers from the breweries we’ve visited. It’s time to let them gather dust for a bit. Generally if I liked a beer, I bought a growler. But the artwork on the bottles is also important. I guess it’s kind of like spoon collecting?
Anyways, it’s September 1st. Time to get on the path of Sober September. I’m glad I did it last year and was eager to do it again this year. My wife has said she is going to join me this month as well. That’s the kind of awesome support that I appreciate.