Monthly Archives: January 2016

Food, glorious food, hot sausage and….

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Well, maybe not mustard. But as Oliver, Dodger and the boys sang in Oliver!, food can be the stuff of dreams…

Last night I made my second round of homemade pizza crust this month, matching it up against Trader Joe’s pre-made dough. The result? Pretty excellent. Three weeks ago, the first batch was good. The Sicilian was a little chewy on the bottom, but was just about perfect reheated the day after. The Napolitano crust was better, but not the best that I had made.

This time, I added a bit more yeast and only made the Napolitano crust. It was most excellent. I’ve got two racks of pizza stones placed close together and heated the oven to 550 degrees for about 45 minutes before hand. Cooking time is about 7-8 minutes, but I still need to play around with getting the bottom crust a little better done. I think maybe cooking directly on the stone rather than on a screen might do the trick. But the means I need a pizza peel, the giant spatula to top the pizza on and then put it in the oven. I’m thinking that if I get one, I’ll try making the pies a little smaller, which will give me more opportunity to test.

So, I forgot to take pictures in progress last night, and the really awesome ones I took of the first time around went into the ether when my phone stopped working… So, in a couple of weeks, I’ll try it again and take pictures in progress…

Buon appetito!

A New Leaf – Day 31

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409 Days Dry.

So I have successfully passed the first month dry with only a sip of beer to taste. Only one hard day in the bunch. As I reflect back, stopping drinking this time is more pre-emptive than last time. Though I probably had a drink most everyday over winter break, I did not drink to excess, but once. And considering the figurative kick in the gut the universe gave my family, that was not a surprise. But considering the sadness and darkness of my thoughts, I decided not drinking was a better way through. And I know, The only way out is through…

The other primary reason to firmly establish my own control over alcohol is perhaps unrelated. My writing, creativity and desire to be more productive. Since the previous long-dry stretch had culminated in a very productive writing period–80,000 words in 60 days–I wondered if not drinking had been a factor.

I’m already sleeping better. Two separate medical folks who saw me a month ago commented on how healthy I looked. I’m not feeling any more productive in terms of writing new words, but I am getting a lot of things done to sort of clear the deck. I’ve lost 3-5 pounds and feel like clothes are fitting me better.

Unfortunately, though I would like to get back into exercising, my bruised heel has been slowing me down. I’ve had a few good days of brisk walking, but the day after is painful. So, I am icing to see if I can get over this injury.

My house is cleaner than it’s been, I’ve been cooking from scratch more, and I have finished a few projects. More on these subjects in a later blogpost. Oh, and also some non-alcohol, non/low-caffeine drinks invented, named and/or reviewed.

A New Leaf – Day 1

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409 Days Dry

Several years ago I had developed a pretty serious drink problem. I was drinking every day and significant amounts. I think I could probably drink a whole bottle of wine by myself and when I came up on a friends big birthday, I went and bought four bottles 750 hard liquor because I was going to buy one and if you bought four you got $12 off. No brainer, right? Well, a week later when I was heading to see him with his bottle? The other three were gone. I have a Bacardi beanie hat to remind me of that. So whenever I look in the closet for gloves or a cold-weather hat for my bald head, I think of that series of choices.

So I spent 400 days dry from Thanksgiving 2011 until New Year’s Eve 2012, I think. I started out intending to write a book about it as I went along and share the cool alt-tails I created. I think I wrote something about as long as this post, added a few drink recipes and then quit. It wasn’t as important as quitting the alcohol. But the idea did not come to fruition. So for 400 hundred days I had only two or three sips of wine.

During that 400 days, I finished my third novel, the first and second times! Then I started again. A bit at a time 1-2 glasses, 1-2 times a week. I stopped buying boxes of wine. Red wine is my drink of choice, so there are some health benefits to limited use. That was fairly easy, though it quickly slipped to 2-3 times a week. Over the last two years, there have been times when my consumption became a topic of conversation with my counselor.

I also learned that there is a seriously larger incidence of alcoholism in people who drank early and binged. I had my first full beer at my cousin’s wedding in Scotland the same weekend Prince Charles and Lady Diana got married. I was 14 and probably weighed about 90 pounds. They tell me I woke up with a smile and that I turned down a second pint the night before. Which leads me to believe I had had enough and was probably still intoxicated the following morning.

My freshman year in high school I started developing my good little bad boy persona. I had been a good kid all my life. I drank beer, played party games to force myself and my friends to drink the stuff that pretty much tasted like crap. My senior year I had moved onto 151 as my drink of choice! I only needed a shot. The bottle would last quite a few parties.

My drinking slowed down once I was out of the house and raising kids. Too expensive. So I got into brewing. Slow process, but made some really good beer and mead. My first marriage ended and I finished college. I continued to brew and when I had an income I started buying alcohol again, this time legally. I hung out with actors. Drinking, or other forms of intoxication, unfortunately were common. I was almost the only actor who didn’t smoke, one substance or another. Somewhere in here my first marriage ended.

My second marriage included a fair amount of alcohol, an increase for me and a decrease for her. I took to drinking like a fish to water. Finding the most drinkable inexpensive red wines and supplementing them with homebrew and the new microbrews.

Last night, January 2nd, I noticed as I was drinking the last glass of wine I will drink for more than a year, that I wasn’t paying attention to how it tasted. Then why the heck am I drinking it? One guess. Not one I wanted to face. But I need to. I am…