A Semi-dry September

I just realized that my sister’s wedding is in two weeks and I’m still fat. (Okay, a little chubby.) I had meant to be thinner by now. Apparently I like food a little too much…and beer. It’s probably the beer.

Earlier this calendar year I talked about the weight gain that has accompanied me starting dental school. I spoke of the need to scratch out time during the (extremely) busy week to run regularly as a means of, hopefully, losing a few pounds but also to keep myself healthy. Fight the man impending hypertension!

I’ve been fairly successful at implementing a plan to run at least three times a week. There’s been a crazy week here and there that I haven’t, but overall I’m back to regular running. I’ve even been managing to drag myself out of bed a little earlier on weekdays

to get in three miles instead of the two I had been. On top of all that I’ve been eating a salad for lunch pretty much every day that I’m at school.

But still that freaking scale has refused to budge.

Over the August break (18 whole days od freedom between the summer and fall terms) I saw a slight downward flux but then school started and it was like those four pounds were never gone. So much for positive momentum.

Obviously I need to do something different. What’s that they say about insanity and doing the same thing over and over? Yup, I’m feeling that. Which is why I’ve come up with the idea of having a semi-dry September. It’s like the “dry month” many people take (or talk about at least) in January when they’re all full of hope and enthusiasm for healthy living except kinder and more gentle.

Plus I know myself and, let’s face it, an entire dry month is out of reach for me right now. My day to day is too mentally demanding to impose the level of self control required… and before you start lecturing me about unhealthy attachments to alcohol and all that check how many pops…err, sodas you’re drinking a week. I don’t drink all that much but I do enjoy a good quality beer in the evening. And unfortunately the beers I enjoy tend to be quite high in calories.

That’s right, KBS, I’m looking at you!

So, this September I’ve been going semi-dry and (mostly) limiting my intake of super yummy but sadistically high calorie beers to the weekend. Hopefully the reduction in calories this brings will tip the scales in my favor.

Thus far I’ve had mixed results but it’s a start, maybe a start that will lead to better habits. And, at the end of the day, we are our habits.

Beer and Coffee…my happy places

Okay, okay, not really but lately there has been some really great beer and coffee out there. Along with the coming of winter comes all the good winter flavored beer. I really love a good beer. Blue Moon has a great variety pack out with a Chai flavor, pumpkin flavor, cinnamon horchata, and their traditional very tasty beer. As much as I love coffee I also love chai – put a shot of espresso in there and  I’m in heaven but I digress…back to the beer portion. Living in Michigan means that I have access to all kinds of great breweries. It’s like a thing here. One brewery in the area decided to do a 12-days-of-Christmas pack and tap-room takeover. It’s all different flavors of their milkshake stout beer. The original milkshake stout is pretty amazing so there was excitement.

I brought 2 12-packs home because we’re not good at sharing. My boyfriend and I agreed that we would NOT touch the other’s box. Those are some serious promises. It’s been a fun taste test. I’ve been savoring them and spreading them out. Also the labels are super fun.

On the flip side of things….coffee. I’ve had a Keurig for a few years now. I’ve really enjoyed it and it works well as I’m the only one in the house who drinks coffee so a single cup maker is perfect. But I also have a Starbucks problem and it’s an expensive problem. I was getting coffee out way too much, especially the fancy stuff, and the cost was adding up. Years ago, (too many when I think about it) I worked at a coffee/bagel shop through college. I actually know the basics of an espresso drink. I started looking into getting an espresso machine so I could make my own drinks at home. I ended up with one of those new coffee Ninjas. Does a variety of strengths of coffee and has a foamer plus it does single serve coffee without the pods (bad for the environment anyway). It’s been fun messing with coffee drinks again and trying different things. I figure if I stay away from Starbucks it will have paid for itself in a month & a half. I’ve been pretty good at following my own rule so far!

On that note, may you be well caffeinated & have good beer this holiday season!


I Went to Beer City and All I Got was a Michelob Ultra

Twice actually. In one week.
Grand Rapids Michigan is (self proclaimed?) Beer City in a state that excels in the craft beer/microbrewery market. It’s close to Michigan’s beautiful west coast and happens to be an easy two hour drive from my hometown. One of my sisters goes to college in Grand Rapids, I have a brother who lives not too far from there, and a friend in the area as well. Lots of non-beer related reasons to visit the area….but I do love my craft beers.
It started shortly after my divorce was finalized. During the messy ordeal there were some wildly ridiculous accusations flying around. One was that I’m a reckless alcoholic (if you knew me you’d be laughing about that); to avoid giving credence to this suggestion my house became a dry establishment. It wasn’t a big change for me but having to modify my behaviour because of blatant lies was beyond annoying. I felt like I always had to be looking over my shoulder and toeing the line. The thought that something totally normal I might say or do had the potential to jeopardize my parenting time was terrible. It was paranoai inducing, rightfully so. Once the papers were signed and the dust settled it felt good to go out and buy a freakin beer. I’ve always liked beer and now that fancy beer was such a popular cultural phenomenon educating myself about said fancy beer seemed a fun way to stay current. Not only would I enjoy drinking new and different types of beer, I would also have something interesting to talk to people about. Social drinking at its finest.

Anyhow, Grand Rapids Michigan, aka Beer City USA, is home to some of the best breweries in Michigan. Founder’s! Bell’s (technically not in Grand Rapids but not too far from it). And many more. There’s a beer walk and a variety of brewery tours. (I SO want to do one of these!) I went there twice last week. Twice! And all I got was one sad Michelob Ultra. Not just a light beer an ultra light beer. The atrocity of it!

So how does a beer enthusiast get so close to the source of that many sources of tasty, quality craft beers and not indulge? Kids.
I took my kids to the Grand Rapids Public Museum on the Saturday. We met up with my friend who lives in the area (and his girlfriend and kids) and made a day of it.


That is the official gap-toothed grin of approval.

Because I travel with a pack it was almost cheaper to buy the year long family pass to the museum. It also gets us into museums across the country for free for the year. Hopefully that means I’ll be telling you about more museum trips in the near future. Maybe even a trip to Chicago Gotta get my money’s worth, right?

Getting out the door with my five, even though they’re older now, is always such a task and my oldest ended up staying home to sleep eat all the snack food in the house “work on homework”. Even if we were missing one it was good to go out in public together and have some family time.
We ended our day out at IHOP. The 11 year old thought they had an all you can eat pancakes special going on. They did not but he insisted he needed a full stack of pancakes, scrambled eggs, and a side order of sausage. Yah, there were some leftovers.

My daughter is apparently of those people now. You know the ones, they take pictures of their food to share with their friends. To be fair, she’s basically in love with Nutella so banana Nutella crepes were kind of a big deal.

In the weeks leading up to our first outing to Beer City Grand Rapids my quiet, extremely introverted fifteen year old mentioned a concert. Fallout Boy and Awolnation were coming to Grand Rapids on a Tuesday night and it was a Tuesday night that the kids would be with me. At first mention I acknowledged that that was pretty cool but didn’t think anything of it. When he casually brought it up again a few days later it dawned on me that he wanted to go.

So we went.


I had worked Sunday night and only slept a few hours on Monday in order to get a run in and study for a test in my Tuesday morning class. Because I procrastinated and wasted a possible study day the week before I was feeling woefully under prepared for this test. I stayed up late Monday to study and got up early Tuesday to try and cram more information into my brain. Tuesday afternoon was hectic. I went from class (fit in another rushed run) to get the kids, had a quick shower, and hurried out the door to get to the show in a timely manner. I didn’t want to miss Awolnation! The plan was to eat something light before we left and get dinner on the way home because of time constraints. Except I didn’t have a chance to get food. I thought the granola bar stash in my car would hold me over but it did not. Once we got to Grand Rapids, found parking, and got to our seats I realized I was starving and starting to develop a bad headache because of it. Something resembling real food was necessary.  I broke down and bought an over priced, slightly dry cheeseburger between bands…and a cold Michelob Ultra to go with it.

Honestly, I was so hungry and parched by then that in the moment I felt like that was the best burger and beer I had ever had. I ate like I hadn’t seen food in a week, fast and enthusiastically.

While I am not a Fallout Boy fan my children are. In their defense they also like good music like Queen, Nirvana, and Billy Joel so I must be doing something right. It makes occasionally listening to bands like Fallout Boy tolerable. And really a concert is a concert.


This is the third time I’ve seen Awolnation. They’re one of my favorite bands and pretty great live. Apparently many Fallout Boy fans do not appreciate them like I do. The very large crowd was lame and quiet while Awol was performing.

When these guys came on they livened up though.



At one point one of the Fallout boys began talking about believing in your dreams, anything is possible and all that…which is fine and dandy if a bit trite. His delivery  left something to be desired though. It reminded me of conversations my oldest son and his friends have where they’re all agreeing enthusiastically and Yeah-ing but none what they’re saying actually make much sense. There was something about cars being totally normal but before they existed everyone said it wasn’t possible until they were invented and then something about being told he’d never be able to dunk a basketball but he practiced every day and he still can’t dunk because he’s short but he’s “dunking the fucking basketball right fucking now!” And it dissolved into a cloud of fucks and loose metaphors delivered to the sound of screaming fans of all ages (but mostly female). Umm, yeah.imageSo there you have it…me in Beer City twice in one week and only a Michelob Ultra to show for it.