Hello from the Other Side: A Dry January Complete

Reflecting on a sober January

It started as a joke between Ktams and me–

“How long you think we could go without any alcohol?”
“None at home either?”
“Yeah, think we could make it the whole month?”
(Not a chance!)
“Only if you’re ok being hermits this month”

Oh, how right he was.

Time slowed within days of cutting ourselves off from a hobby that had taken up a larger portion of our waking hours (and money!) than I had expected. Coming home from work, I was in the habit of pouring myself a glass of our house wine (read: Trader Joe’s Box Shiraz, which is actually a completely palatable and affordable easy drinking wine), and I would sip as I got dinner rolling or broke into some house chores. Then I might have a second glass of wine with dinner an hour or so later, and shoot, you’re making yourself an Old Fashioned?

Nightcap Me.

My drinking had certainly gone unchecked for at least a year. While this wasn’t every evening, it was safely two, and as many as six, nights a week, and when I investigated my new hobby of drinking more IPAs (‘sup hazy!) with Ktams my jaw hit the floor. We’re talking anywhere from 200-300 calories per beer!? I’m no calorie counter, but it’s easy to add up how I could consume half my daily caloric intake on a few afternoon drinks. I wasn’t about to add an hour of gym time to my daily regimen because you know I’m still telling myself that riding myself to work on my bike five days a week best be enough for winter. I spent the entire month of January contemplating how days can grow so long and how I didn’t know how people kept clean when I felt like every turn I made I was met with opportunity to drink–now I’m somewhat removed from the restaurant industry being in catering/sales, but still the opportunities found me more often than I was expecting. What’s more, my denial of alcohol consumption also caused me to close myself off from social opportunities and talking myself out of seeing friends because I had convinced myself that I wouldn’t be as interesting; conversation would be that much harder to keep up without the almost sexy, giddy, fun conversations that the alcohol lent itself to,¬†right?

I also had a pretty cataclysmic event with my blog that brought me to question its (and ergo my) purpose and brought to light the shift I’ve seen in the industry over the last year or so. I had to address how lost I feel in the current of it all. For those who don’t know, I attribute my food blog with my break into the food Eden that is Portland, and that was its original purpose. Here I am nearly seven years later, and I am realizing that I am checking most of my opinions and insights at the door with my blog, and is that fair?
I have learned that this city is really just a medium-large town, and my industry is so small! Everyone knows someone who knows you, and in that world, if you have nothing nice to say you keep your lip zipped. Well, perhaps in 2019 I’ll stop thinking that I don’t belong in this realm and share some of my insights–

or maybe I’ll have an anxiety attack.

It took nearly the entire month to address these worries, but once I did, I was already on the 25th of the month, home stretch! And it wasn’t all self reflection, it was also a month of committing to some other positive changes.

Konmari, Say Hey

Like the rest of the world, we let the spirit of Marie Kondo back into our home after I cast her out sometime in 2017 in utter defeat and frustration. We had a pressing reason for welcoming her presence back into our lives, and no, it wasn’t the Netflix series. Though, that helped. We had finally found a wonderful contractor that could fit with all of our needs for replacing the flooring in half our home, and custom building a kitchen nook I’ve dreamt about since we bought the house back in 2014. And for a project of this size, we have to move one half of our house into the other half so that he can do all his work. We live in less than 1,000sq ft, so it’s taken some serious reorganizing to make everything work. First the bedroom, then the kitchen, and so on.

I let Marie back in. For what it was worth, watching those on her show struggle with the steps made me feel less helpless and overwhelmed. I kondo’d three garbage bags of adorable clothes that didn’t fit or weren’t my style anymore, and created more logical space for the dresses and tops I loved. Then I eliminated so many superfluous kitchen gadgets and tore my bathroom apart and put it back together again without the 20 travel toothpastes. Sidebar: We finally got electric toothbrushes–hello 21st CENTURY! This project came at a great time because I didn’t feel cloudy or like I was far too busy to finish a step. Just determined.

Yes, I’m still on step two and a half of five total steps, but some people take months! And you will pull these cookbooks from my cold. Dead. HANDS!

So if you’ve been wondering what in God’s name I’ve been up to lately–maybe we should grab a coffee and catch up.

Oh yeah, Ktams is roasting his own coffee now. This turned into a Christmas letter fast. More to come.

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