Miller Time

It’s been a long week. I couldn’t race out the office door fast enough today. Not that I don’t like my coworkers or the job. It’s just time to take a mental recharge.

I don’t even have the time to finish writing today’s blog and my first beer is poured.

The crisp fizz hit my tongue and a rush of sensations came over me. Ah… simply refreshing. Memories of underage drinking of cheap beers to last year’s plane rides and cold ales after take off. There’s an idea that enjoying a cold beer just feels normal. Not drinking to get wasted. Just a sample of cold, liquified fermentation has become a part of my dietary desires.

Chilled, crisp and exactly what was needed to start my weekend. A small break from responsibilities. A mental vacation away from the hustle and bustle of moving trains.

Happy Friday to my Readership! This glass is raised to you!

Driving Day

Today we embarked on a 12 hour road trip from our home to Grande Prairie, Alberta. It started off with us being an hour behind schedule. No big deal- I was able to... ahem... make up the time while driving.

We whipped through Kamloops with a quick stop for gas. Then off to Jasper for a late lunch and of course- trains. Plus amazing beer and food! We had nachos and Wild Boar Steam Buns all at the Jasper Brewing. I highly recommend the Boar and “Jasper the Bear Ale”.

It was a beautiful day to drive through the mountains from British Columbia to Alberta. We watched the sun set and the sky change colours. Absolutely stunning.

Now it’s time to unwind in the hotel room and mentally prepare for the next couple of days. A quick dip in the pool and finish my blog is a great way to end a 12 hour drive.

Three Years of Beers

As much as I thought I was going to do a whole lot of nothing yesterday, I was wrong. I ended up going out to my favorite watering hole to celebrate their third anniversary.

They were offering up a limited edition etched glass to the first 100 customers. Much like last year, I scored two glasses. Because it was so cold outside, they opened up early to let everyone in. I was the fifth person in line of about 40 people. I was only inside for about forty five minutes before having to leave for another appointment.

I also ended up seeing some people I had met over the years. So my interaction level had to go up. Good thing the beer was 8.7% and tasty. Seriously though, I had such a great time at the opening that I returned a few hours later to get a couple of growlers filled.

Something about the Trading Post Brewing that makes it feel warm and welcoming. No matter which location I attend. I love supporting local businesses as well. Thanks again to the brewmaster and servers for a great beer and celebration.

Cheers.

Joey At Play

This evening I’m going out with a couple of friends. No kids or wives will be joining us. I rarely have a Saturday night like this. I have to plan these “play dates” well in advance. Mostly to prepare my family for the fact that I won’t be home.

I’m looking forward to tonight. But it won’t be like the days of yore. I won’t be getting crazy drunk or having a late night. Just a couple of hours spent in North Vancouver. Some tacos and a couple of beers are the extravagant plans. It’s the company that I will be with that shall make the evening enjoyable and memorable.

I may share a photo or two on social media, but I am hoping to not to pull out my phone at all. That is until I leave to come home. At which point, I’ll call my wife to let her know I’m on my way. Which is a courtesy that my wife and I have for one another when not together.

A call to say, “Hey! I’m on my way. Love ya.” Even a few hours away from her means I’ll still miss her company. She has become an extension of my personality. So have my kids. And as I make memories and experiences, I love them to be with me as often as possible.

But tonight is a “Guy’s Night” where we will talk about our families and work. This gents are similar to me in many ways- where they put their family’s needs first. These are the kind of guys I prefer to associate with.

Trading Post #3

I have been going to the Trading Post Brewing for a couple of years now. I was there on opening day at their first location. I also attended their Two Year Anniversary last February as well as Oktoberfest in their Fort Langley location this past September. I continue to head out every couple weeks to one of these locations for refreshments.

I have grown accustomed to their service and atmosphere. It makes for a good time hanging out with my wife, family and friends.

On Saturday, my wife and I were in Abbotsford and decided to check out their third location that opened less than one month ago. We were not disappointed. The food and beer menu is the same as their Fort Langley location. This made it convenient for us as we only had about an hour to kill.

All three locations are unique in their own way. Their Brewery location is exactly that- a brewery. Large vats of beer and seating to enjoy said beers. Their Fort Langley location plays on the history of Fort Langley and the idea of a real Trading Post. Cozy atmosphere and good food. This newest location is completely different. Very modern looking and spacious. A great eatery in the heart of a growing section of Abbotsford.

I love supporting this local business. It helps them to thrive and expand. The owners of The Trading Post have a great product and service that makes for wonderful memories to be shared. If you are looking for a place to share good times- any one of their three locations would be ideal.

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.

Breaking a Bad Routine or Two

I never realized that I had a routine. One that many of us fall victim to. An addiction.

Ugh. The word “Addiction” is so horrible sounding. I personally picture heroin junkies whenever the word is spoken. But that’s not the only thing I imagine-

I see myself. And that sucks.

The Oatmeal nails it.

Last month I took a Break From Social Media. It felt good. However, on September 1st, just after midnight, I spent the good portion of an hour catching up on Facebook and Instagram. The Fear Of Missing Out won me over after 31 days.

I’m still refusing to use the social media platforms unless I’m on WiFi. I’ve also tucked them away in a folder on my phone to keep them more out of sight. Gotta stop opening the apps when quiet takes over…

Perhaps I can one day push myself into the Joy Of Missing Out. Not all of it is important. Most of it isn’t. But what if it is…? Dammit- gotta stop second guessing myself.

No mo’ FOMO.

Joe needs JOMO.

Like a MOFO.

Read More

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.