Life With a Good Head On It – beer blog #1

I’ve had some fun blogging about wine and travelling to wineries.  The reality is that while I truly enjoy wine, I’ve been drinking beer longer.  My first were stolen swigs of my father’s Iron City (still a sentimental favorite).The there was cheap beer in college (PBR!) Along the way I’ve continued to enjoy beer.  But I’ve never really tried to learn its finer points the way I did with wine.  Since moving to Richmond I suddenly have many more local breweries to choose among (no offense to Souther Tier Brewing in Lakewood, NY.  I enjoy several of their brews.  They and Ellictoville Brewing, an hour away in Ellicottville, NY, were my only close breweries.  Buffalo is only just getting rolling), so I thought maybe this would be a good time to  get a little more serious about  my beer selections.

Beer SteinsThere’s all kind of terminology for me to learn, so I’ll take that in phases.  First, I learn that there are only two  primary categories of beer, Ales and Lagers.  Within those two categories there are all the “styles” we known (IPAs, Pilseners, Witbiers, etc).  The difference between the two is the kind of yeast used, top fermenting (ales) and bottom fermenting (lagers).  Those yeast do affect the taste.  Lagers are often described as having a “clean” taste that puts the flavors of the hops and barley in the spotlight.  Both ales and lagers can be strongly or mildly flavored, high alcohol or low alcohol.  I’ve enjoyed many drafts of both varieties.

As with any dedicated fan base, there is virtually no unanimity on terminology.  The ale/lager differentiation I’ve made here is not agreed to by all.  I use it strictly within the terms I’ve outlined, differentiating between fermentation styles.  By this standard a stout is an ale, which really sets some stout fans (fans of the stout style, not making any comments about the girth of beer drinkers) off on  a tirade.  Agree or disagree, it’s where I am choosing to begin.

Interesting, at least to me, historical note.  The lager style is a much more recent development since it requires cooler temperatures for the fermentation process.  Our ability to maintin the kind of cold for the process has only been around for a very short time in the timespan of beer brewing.

So what re my “go-to” brews at this point in my life? Here’s the list:

  • Labatt’s – live in WNY for 30 years  it’s going to become a favorite.
  • Yuengling – from North America’s oldest brewery
  • Tecate – Mexican beer traditionally drunk with a slice of lime.  Was introduced to it in San Antonio.
  • Dos Equis – a darker body beer without a lot of hops.
  • Heineken

I’ve also had times when I routinely bought Foster’s and Red Stripe.

I also know that the hoppier beers don’t do much for me.  As popular as IPAs are these days I do not like them at all.  Hops up to a point is fine but only up to that point.  So this should be an interesting journey.

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A New Beginning – September 11

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It’s that date again.

That date that will never be the same for any of us.  When we take a moment and remember where we were and what we did.  For some of us it’s a date when we remember who we lost.

This date will never be the same for us.  But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t both remember and move on with our lives.  If we let ourselves be trapped by it then the bad guys win.  They chain us to their event and their desires.

I remember.  Then in the memory of the innocents who died I go back to living my life.  Because that’s the best memorial.

You have probably noticed that I really like the movies.  So I was very excited when I discovered Movieland at Boulevard Square.  Modern theater complex in the building that used to house an old railroad engine assembly factory.  Wonderful reuse of an old industrial building.  17 stadium seating theaters, hot food concessions, beer and wine bar, all digital sound and projection.  Saturday and Sunday mornings they show classic films (coming up – “There’s No Business Like Show Business”, “Laura” and “The Hustler”).  They also do an “Insomnia Theater” for cult classics Friday and Saturday nights.  (“The Fly”, “The Day the Earth Stood Still” and “The Fantastic Mr. Fox”).  They also have a smaller cinema (4 stadium seating theaters) just across the parking lot, called the “Criterion Cinemas” that specializes in Indie, Art and Documentary films.  I saw “A Most Wanted Man” there last week.

Just inside the front door…

So this is pretty much movie lover heaven.  There’s actually a lot of cool stuff in that neighborhood so I may to do a little more exploring.

  • Grumpy Virginian Census – Nice people.  As far as the eye can see.
  • It’s kind of funny.  There are people who are very concerned about where in the building my office is.  I’m not one of them, as I keep telling everyone.  But I may be moving sometime soon.  I’m OK with that too.  It’s just funny that it seems to bother people.  I am going to stop hanging pictures for the time being, :)
  • Hmmm, no new places on the eating routine.  A return visit to Burger Bach in Carytown (very nice, high end burger joint) and Urban Farmhouse, which is just down the road from us.  Lots of organic, locally grown stuff on the menu there.

It’s a new beginning.

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Time to Get Real – Week of September 8

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Boy, it’s nice to have good news for a change!

The whole family has re-dedicated itself to getting our diet under control.  So we were much more aware of what we were eating.  I went back to food journaling.  I have used two websites with great success over the last year.  The Fitbit website offers a very nice and easy to use food journal function.  Unfortunately I lost my Fitbit One on my trip to Philadelphia early in the summer and can’t afford to replace it yet.  In the meantime I am using MyFitnessPal, both on the computer and as an app on the phone.  Also very simple to use and helps to keep track of where I am during the day.  Once I get a replacement Fitbit, I can connect the two which will be REALLY useful.

The great thing is that this wasn’t a week of total sacrifice.  The Kid got her first full time “grown up” job and we went out to celebrate.  The numbers for that day were pretty ugly, but I didn’t care.  The rest of the week I knew I had done quite well.

Exercise was relatively low, only hit the gym three times.  So that needs to improve.

With all that said, it was still an outstanding week.

My resolution remains :

I want to am going to be The Guy again.

The next milestone is getting back below 190.  I will get there and go on.

Official Weigh In Weight

197.6 pounds

Weight Change this week –  -2.2 pounds

Total Weight Loss To Date – 8.0pounds

Goal Weight and Total to Lose – 175/30

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A New Beginning – September 4

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Things have been busy but I’m trying to get back into my routine.

We are now three.  The Little Lady in My Life (LLiML?) has joined us.  On her visits down here she has really enjoyed the area and the hospitality.  So she decided to just make the move.  There wasn’t a lot in the way of prospects in central New York.  She’s had several interviews so far and we’re hoping for some good news soon.  The apartment is a little tight but so far, so good.

Not sure how I managed to avoid mentioning this (could it be you’ve been very lax in your posting, hmmmm?  Oh, shut up) but we’ve found an interesting web site for folks looking to expand their social circle.  It’s called “Meet Up”.  Groups looking for new members post their meetings and events and invite folks to join.  We are looking to expand our circle so we explored.  Found a couple of interesting wine groups, a writing group for me and then we hit pay dirt.  The “Midlothian Married Boomers Dinner Club”.  Um, hello?  So we signed up for an event and met up with three other couples at a local restaurant we had wanted to try anyway (Wild Ginger, the food was incredible!) and met some new folks.  Had a great time too. I’m hoping to join the writing group next week (with LLiML in tow) and we really want to do one of the wine group events too.  So far we’ve been pretty happy with the possibilities of Meet Up (meetup.com).  You go to the website and tell them where you live and find out what groups are meeting.  Simple.

  • Grumpy Virginian Census – Still at zero.  Closest are drivers who are slightly testy.  Nothing to compare to a really hacked off NY driver but I have to work with what I have down here.
  • The car is now completely Virginia legal.  Couldn’t resist the Parrothead plates. 10570493_10152792171245934_961942571731570161_n
  • Still experimenting with brunch places.  Checked out Kitchen 64 in Richmond.  Love living in a place where all kinds of things are only about 30 minutes away.  Good food, good prices, very good service.  And the joint was PACKED!  Families, old folks, young folks, great mix.  Over near Movieland (ooh, more on that next week!), the ballpark and one of the legendary barbecue places that we haven’t hit yet.

It’s a new beginning.

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Time to Get Real – Week of September 1

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Last week wasn’t as bad as it could be.

This one was.

I don’t even want to talk about it.

The whole family is joining in on a new discipline, starting this week.

Back to food journaling, which I hate but which I know works.

Minimum of 5 workouts a week.

Lots of salad for lunch and paying real attention to dinner.

I’m angry and feel like crap.

My resolution remains :

I want to am going to be The Guy again.

The next milestone is getting back below 190.  I will get there and go on.

Official Weigh In Weight

199.8 pounds

Weight Change this week –  +3.0 pounds

Total Weight Loss To Date – 5.8 pounds

Goal Weight and Total to Lose – 175/30

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Time to Get Real – Week of August 25

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It’s time to declare that vacation is over.

When we moved to Richmond it felt like we had gone on an extended vacation.  Not that I wasn’t going to work every day and doing my job.

But the weather has been beautiful, we’re living in a great apartment with a pool just a short way outside our door, there are hundreds of great restaurants and sites to see within 30 minutes of where we live.

It just feels like vacation.

How do YOU eat on vacation?  I give myself a little extra room to enjoy.  Now, imagine what happens when that extends to almost three months.  Honestly, given the way I’ve eaten, it’s amazing that I’ve done as WELL as I have.

In the end, vacation has to stop.  I’ll never make any progress otherwise.

Our daughter is moving to the Richmond area soon and will be living with us for a while.  She is also on a weight loss journey (and blogging about it), so we’ve decided that we need to reinforce the discipline for each other.  Maybe that’s what we both need.

Without a doubt what we need is for vacation to be over.

Again, astonishingly, the week wasn’t as bad as it might have been.  It’s just not as good as it could be.

My resolution remains :

I want to am going to be The Guy again.

The next milestone is getting back below 190.  I will get there and go on.

Official Weigh In Weight

196.8 pounds

Weight Change this week –  +0.2pounds

Total Weight Loss To Date – 8.0 pounds

Goal Weight and Total to Lose – 175/30

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Time to Get Real – Week of August 18

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I am still struggling.  Work is ramping up as we head back into the program year.  We have a “surprise” deadline that is making life a little difficult.  Plus both of the ladies in my life continue to struggle finding employment.

It’s put me in a less than ideal space for focussing on things like eating (I’m an emotional eater) and discipline (fighting the “who really cares” stuff).

But the only way out of that morass is to not give up.

So I’m late this week, but I haven’t given up.  The number could have been much worse.

But I’ve proven it doesn’t have to be that way.  I’ve been “The Guy”.

My resolution remains :

I want to am going to be The Guy again.

The next milestone is getting back below 190.  I will get there and go on.

Official Weigh In Weight

196.6 pounds

Weight Change this week –  -0.2pounds

Total Weight Loss To Date – 8.2 pounds

Goal Weight and Total to Lose – 175/30

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