My Beer Journey

As everyone knows, I love beer. I am a beer nerd and will go out of my way to find new and interesting beers to try. However, looking back, I didn’t always like beer. My first experience with beer still makes me gag to this day.

I have no idea how old I was, but this was in our home back in Wisconsin. We were downstairs in the basement while the grown ups were upstairs, playing cards and drinking beer. Now you probably remember that the basement stairs sat right below the living room so if you spilled something in the living room it would spill down onto the basement stairs.

At this point, our readers can probably guess what happened.

miller can

I remember so many of these cans in our fridge when we were little. I honestly couldn’t remember what the beer was until I found this picture of the old Miller cans. 

I don’t know who was drinking the beer or who put their beer on the floor above the stairs, but someone spilled a can of Miller Genuine Draft. It got all over the carpet right at the door to the basement and it smelled so bad.

So yeah, that was my first experience with beer, and it was gross as hell. I remember thinking I would never drink beer.

Well guess what, childhood Emily. You were wrong.

Well, I guess I wasn’t entirely wrong. I have yet to drink a Miller Genuine Draft and I doubt I ever will because it’s gross.

Anyway…

My next experience with beer wasn’t until I was in my early twenties because, as you know Daniel, I was a huge fucking nerd in high school and never did anything against the rules. I never drank alcohol, I never did drugs, I never snuck out. I think I got grounded once for missing curfew because I was too busy watching weird anime at my friend’s place. That was as bad as I got. Huge nerd alert.

deschutes-black-butte-porter

Black Butte Porter is amazing and always will be amazing.

When we moved to Washington, dad started drinking more microbrewed beers and one of his favorites back then was Black Butte Porter from Deschutes Brewing. He talked about how delicious it was and how it tasted like chocolate and how it was so much better than any of the mass-produced beers. At the time, all I drank was Smirnoff Ices and Mike’s Hard Lemonade and even then I thought they were too sweet.

I looked at the Black Butte Porter in the fridge, shrugged, and decided to give beer another try.

It was so delicious. It did taste like chocolate and it was crisp and refreshing without tasting like liquified candy. That was where I started to fall in love with beer.

I started trying other beers when I had the chance, usually sticking with beer that had a low alcohol content and lighter flavors since the darker stuff was still a little intimidating. Well, nowadays I absolutely adore dark, dry, bitter stouts that dry your mouth out like a nice red wine and it was the Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout from North Coast Brewing that got me hooked.

Our Aunt Jaime was in town visiting and she went out of her way to pick up a four pack of Old Rasputin. Everyone who tried it said it was too dark and bitter, but she kept saying it tastes like black licorice. Well, I wanted to look cool in front of everyone and I like black licorice so I took a sip off of her beer.

rasputin

It’s like a warm hug in a beer bottle. 

Oh my god, it was amazing. It was rich and spicy and amazing. It was like wrapping a warm blanket around you on a cold, rainy day. It was like the smell of campfire smoke. It was like floating in a tub of warm water. It was amazing.

After that, I was always drawn to the darkest beers I could find. I would go out of my way to drink every imperial stout or porter I could find. They made me feel cozy and warm and comfortable.

I have plenty of stories about other beers that have had an impact on my life. The Tsunami Stout from Pelican Brewing, the Oktoberfest from Sam Adams, the Milk Stout from Left Hand Brewing, the Ten Fiddy Imperial Stout from Oskar Blues. I can distinctly remember the first time I tried all of these beers and how they made me feel, but I’ll save those stories for another time.

-EMS

 

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My Queer Eye Makeover

This week, I have been miserable and Mother Nature is to blame.

My eyes have been red, my throat has been raw, and my nose and ears have been unbearably itchy. The culprit, the canola fields surrounding my town are in full bloom and are spewing their devil pollen all over my life. I am miserable and I have been stuck indoors all week, trying not to die.

To while away the hours, I have been rewatching the show Queer Eye, which is a beautiful, sweet show that makes me cry every single episode.

So, I am assuming you know what Queer Eye is, Daniel, but for all the people out there who do live under a rock, let me explain. Queer Eye is a show about five gay men who change people’s lives for the better. The original version of this show, called Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, focused solely on sloppy, straight men, helping them update their wardrobes and learn proper hygiene. The Netflix reboot, which I have been rewatching all week, has made over straight men, gay men, trans men, and even women. Like the show’s tagline says, it’s more than just a make-over now.

Watching the episode about the woman, I started imagining what would happen if I was nominated. How would the Fab Five help me? What would my episode look like?

My episode would start like every episode, with the Fab Five driving to ambush me. In this scenario, I’m not sure who would have nominated me, but I feel like they would have nominated me because of how externally focused I am. I focus so much on keeping the people around me happy and content that I usually skip taking care of myself.

So the Fab Five would swoop in, see how cluttered and unstructured my life is, and they would make it so much better.

Bobby is the interior designer. He would take one look at my mismatched, college student apartment with piles of junk in all the corners and probably lose it. He would redecorate, finally giving me an adult apartment, and he would set up organization systems for all my books and craft supplies and clothes. He would also help me purge all the stuff I don’t need.

Jonathan is the grooming specialist and I think he would be somewhat proud of me for having a regular skin and hair routine. However, he would probably take one look at my medicine cabinet and throw everything out. I always buy the cheapest options when it comes to beauty products, and I’m pretty sure Jonathan would not stand for that. He would teach me everything I need to know about beauty products and would show me the best places to get things and would teach me how to make amazing beauty products at home. I would be so cool after meeting Jonathan.

Antoni teaches the clients about food and I think he would have the biggest challenge when it comes to my eating habits. He would probably sit me down and explain to me all the things that do not count as full meals that I have been using for full meals. Cereal is not dinner, saltine crackers are not dinner, a spoonful of peanut butter is not dinner. You need to start actually eating food. And of course I would listen and nod and as soon as he leaves, I would eat a jar of peanut butter for dinner. Not all of their lessons will stick. Sorry Antoni.

When it comes to fashion, Tan is the expert of the Fab Five. I’m pretty sure he would appreciate how varied and colorful my closet is, but would be a little confused by how I use that color. I have a tendency to find an outfit that works and then wear it over and over and over again. I need more pieces that I can mix and match for work and for play instead of statement pieces that only look good one way. He would also teach me where to find clothing that actually fits my bizarre body and throw out all the jeans I own that are way too short for my long legs.

Last, but not least, Karamo would just help me get my shit together. He’s supposed to be the culture guru, but more often than not ends up being a therapist for the client. I’m sure he would hear me speak and think to himself, this girl needs to get back into her therapy routine. He would start by helping me find a good therapist and getting my self care routines back so I could properly recharge my energy for once. I think he would also help me layout my career plans, which have been amorphous and undefined since I left college. Karamo would not stand for that. He would sit my butt down, tell me I need to take risks, and lay out a fifty year plan for me. Boom, done, set for the rest of my life.

I so desperately want to meet my five gay fairy godfathers.

-EMS

Getting Older is Bullshit

I’m just going to go ahead and skip the apology for my post going up four days late. This has happened before and I can guarantee it will happen again because I am bad at creating structure for myself outside of work. Anyway, you were also late on your post on our other blog. Only like two days late, but still late so I feel slightly vindicated.

To jump right in, I am very, very tired. I woke up feeling exhausted, spent the day yawning at my desk, and then came home and took an hour nap. I’m pretty sure I’m tired from the long weekend I spent down Vancouver with the family. Any long period away from home leaves me feeling sluggish and drained.

As I was dozing off this afternoon, I was thinking about why I was so tired and racked my brain trying to think of all the exhausting things I did while on the west side. I came up with nothing. I sat on the couch all weekend, sipping beer, watching Netflix, and chatting with the family. The most strenuous thing I did was drive five hours home yesterday, which involved pressing a foot pedal and listening to podcasts.

So why in the world am I so tired? The only thing I could come up with is that I’m old.

I know, I know, I’m not that old. Whenever I say things like that, someone person pops up and says, “You’re not old! Wait until you’re my age! By my age, you’ll wish you were dead!” I get it, I’m not even in my thirties so shut up. That doesn’t change the fact that, in the last five years, there is a list of things I can no longer do simply because I’m older and my body is different.

Being away from home is one of them. When I was in college, I would go back to the west side every weekend to see all my friends, hang out with family, go to job interviews, and shop. I was always on the go and I would still be able to get up at 6 a.m. Monday morning to go to classes and work.

Nowadays, being anywhere that isn’t my house is downright exhausting. To quote something I saw on Tumblr, I’ve literally turned into like a shitty video game character who does two tasks and then needs to sleep for nine hours to regain stamina.

I’ve also noticed that where I sleep and how much I sleep matters now. When I was in high school and college, all I needed was five hours of sleep and some coffee and I was good to go. If I needed a nap, I would nap on the bus, in the library, in my car, wherever I could find a quiet place. That is so not the case now that I’m pushing thirty. Unless I am in my own bed with my own pillows for at least eight hours, I am useless the next day without three cups of coffee and a fire under my ass.

When I got home from work today, I also had to take some painkillers before I took my nap because I had developed a headache on the bus. Want to know why? Because, in the last two years, I have suddenly developed motion sickness. For years I was able to read, crochet, write, do whatever I wanted in a car, on a bus, in a plane. Well, not anymore! Now I must stare straight out the window or risk giving myself a head and stomach ache. This is some serious bullshit. Thank god for audiobooks and podcasts.

In the last two years, I have also developed seasonal allergies. Everyone else in the family gets them and I always felt lucky that I didn’t. I love the outdoors and the summer and being able to breath through my nose. Well, not that I’m more than a quarter century old, guess what? My system has decided the pollen is the devil. Also, it doesn’t plug up my nose. Surprise! It plugs up my ears and head.

Fantastic.

It’s also way easier to hurt myself without even trying. When I was little, I jumped out of trees, out of swings, and off the porch and could get up and keep running. Last year, I slept on my neck wrong and couldn’t move my upper body for two weeks. I SLEPT on it wrong. I didn’t hurt myself exercising, I didn’t crash my car, I just rolled over into the wrong position and apparently fucked myself up completely.

The list goes on and I’m sure as I move into my thirties and eventually my forties, it will continue to grow. Soon, I won’t be able to do anything besides sit quietly on the couch and wait for the sweet embrace of death. I hope it comes soon.

-EMS

Aggretsuko and White Feminism

I try very, very hard to be aware of the privileges I have in my life and of the challenges others face. I am a white, cisgendered woman from an upper middle class family. Yes, I have struggled and I have worked very hard to get where I am today, but I also understand that part of the reason I have come this far is because I started out with certain privileges.

Well, sometimes I fail. Sometimes, I can’t see past my own nose.

Recently, everyone has been talking about the Netflix original anime, Aggretsuko. It’s a wonderful anime about a red panda named Retsuko who is experiencing the stereotypical millennial struggles. She doesn’t like her job, she doesn’t have much money, and she doesn’t have many friends. So to blow off steam she goes to a karaoke bar every evening and sings death metal. I loved this show. It was a good blend of cutesy animation and millennial angst. Watching it soothed my withered, adult soul and re-kindled a love for anime I haven’t experienced since I was fourteen.

tenorMy favorite character by far was a gorilla named Gori, the director of marketing for the company Restuko works for. Gori is fierce, rocking a pink dress and taking crap from nobody. During the show you also get some glimpses of her being vulnerable, like when she’s worried Retsuko doesn’t like her or when she gets dumped.

I loved Gori so much. As a woman, I was thrilled to see a female character in a position of power, a female character who is allowed to have more than one emotion and still be considered strong.

Well, unfortunately, I realized afterwards that I was a bit blinded by white feminism when it came to Gori.

Before I go on, let me explain what I mean by white feminism. White feminism is a form of feminism that solely focuses on the struggles of caucasian women, ignoring the struggles of women of color, queer women, or disabled women experience in favor of solving white women problems. Examples of white feminism would be the first suffragettes excluding black women from their marches and organizations, modern day feminists protesting against hijabs and other religious clothing as being oppressive without even asking Muslim women how they feel, and Emma Stone at the Oscars complaining that only one female director was up for Best Director while completely ignoring the two people of color who were also nominated.  

Needless to say, I try very, very hard to not be a “white feminist.” I try to be intersectional when it comes to my feminism.

That’s why I was incredibly upset when I Googled Gori from Aggretsuko and found multiple articles about how Gori’s character was a gross stereotype of black women. Historically, black people have been compared to apes and gorillas as a way to dehumanize them. Well, Gori the gorilla is not only written as a “sassy black woman,” she’s also voiced by the only black woman on the show.

If you want to understand more about Gori and how problematic her character is, please read “The Problem of Gori in Netflix’s Aggrestsuko” by Nicole Adlam. Her article was the one that opened my eyes to the problem with Gori and, as a woman of color, she has more of a right to talk about how cruel this stereotype than I do. I don’t want to talk over her, so go read her words.

After reading more, I was incredibly upset with myself. I was so into this character who was so powerful and sassy and wonderful. I thought, “wow, look how far we’ve come! Look at this three dimensional female character! I love her.” It never even crossed my mind that she could be offensive because, well, she’s in a position of power! That’s so positive!

I didn’t fall into the trap of white feminism. I ran into it, fingers in my ears going “la la la la la!” I wanted to see her as a positive role model and never stopped to think about how she was representing women of color.  I don’t like the idea that I could be so blind to this racism built right into my TV shows. I am ashamed of myself and will try to learn from this so I can be more critical of the future media I consume.

Everyday, I just need to remind myself to listen, to be respectful, and try to pull my head out of my own ass every once in a while. I try so hard not to be a white feminist, but sometimes I fail. And you know what, that’s okay, as long as I keep trying to learn and grow. It’s when I stop listening that I’ve truly failed.

-EMS

 

True Life: I’m Addicted to Event Planning

So, you’ve probably noticed that my post on this blog did not go up last Friday. Now this isn’t the first time I’ve missed a blog post and I can guarantee it will not be the last because I can be very forgetful. Sometimes, if I’ve had a long day or I have something planned for Friday I’ll just forget to write and I am completely at fault for that.

However, last week I had a very legitimate excuse as to why I missed my post. I was busy planning the decorations for a wedding.

My dear friend Meredith got married this past weekend and as my wedding gift to her, I agreed to coordinate all of the wedding decorations. In the past, I’ve put together office parties, baby showers, and birthday shindigs, all of which has over-the-top decorations so Meredith knew I could do it.

Well, when I agreed to decorate for her wedding, I was incredibly excited! I love planning events! After she asked me, I immediately jumped on Pinterest and started tracking down the best DIY projects to help her pull of a rustic, class, affordable wedding.

Well, when last Friday rolled around and I was covered in purple paint and burlap fiber and realized I only had a day to pull everything together, you know what I was thinking?

Wow, I am so glad Meredith let me do this because I am having the best time.

I absolutely love planning events and that never changes, even when the stress levels rise. Even on Sunday, a few hours before the wedding when I was covered in tree sap and lavender petals and running around like a mad man, I was still having fun. I love the feeling of getting stuff done and of seeing my creative vision come to life.

Of course, there are easier ways to be creative and express myself than decorating for events. Activities like painting or drawing are just as creative, even more so, and usually don’t involve me slicing up my legs while picking wildflowers or bruising my arms lugging firewood. However, painting and drawing do lack one thing: instant gratification.

You can paint a beautiful picture and wait months for anyone to even acknowledge it, but when it comes to planning events, you get immediate feedback from your audience. On Sunday, I spent five hours busting my butt on the decorations and flowers and was praised immediately for my work. I was immediately praised for my art and it felt really, really good. I am still beaming.

Anyway, I’m still in the process of recovering from this weekend so I’ll keep this post short. I promise my Write Makes Right post will be up on time. I have no excuses to miss it this week, other than who I am as a person.

-EMS a

 

A Recipe for Self Care

This week has been pretty exhausting and I’m not sure why.

Other than an overnight trip for a conference and some tedious editing, work hasn’t been exceptionally difficult. My home life and relationship have been basically the same, no ups or downs. Nothing awful has happened this week and yet I’m sitting here, feeling miserable and tired.

Yes, the only two shows I watch on a regular basis were cancelled within a few hours of each other, but I’m an adult and will survive. Besides, that type of news wouldn’t leave me feeling this way. When it comes down to it, I think I just haven’t taken a lot of time to recharge this week so now that I have time, I just feel run down and sick and not creative at all.

So, instead of sitting here for hours waiting for inspiration to hit so I can write a long, beautiful blog post about something deep and meaningful, I’m just going to write my quick and easy recipe for a happy, more energetic Emily.

Things You’ll Need:

A laptop

A media streaming service (Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime)

A fully charged cell phone equipped with social media

Face mask, soothing or moisturizing properties preferred

Bubble bath and/or bath oils

Scented candles (any combination with vanilla, tobacco, or leather will work)

Dark beer, preferably with an ABV above 9%

A space without of people

Instructions:

  1. First, fill up the bathtub with scalding water. Think boiling lobster levels of heat.
  2. Add bubble bath or fancy bath oils until the water actually changes color. We don’t care how much the bottle says to add, you triple that amount.
  3. Light all the candles. All of them. Line the top of the toilet, the sink, the edge of the bathtub, the floor. It needs to be a fire hazard for this to work.
  4. Pour the dark beer into a pint glass, making sure the top is foamy like a latte.
  5. Put the face mask on,making sure to cover the forehead and neck. You’ll need to look like a rich lady at the spa in a 90s movie. Think extra, super bougie.
  6. Get in the bathtub and log into social media on your phone. Look at something soothing, like horror movie blogs or Harry Potter fanart.
  7. Set up the laptop and turn on something you’ve seen multiple times. Things like Gilmore Girls, Parks and Rec, Brooklyn 99, Scrubs, or Queer Eye will work.
  8. Kick everyone out of the room and close the door so the bathroom gets extra, super steamy.
  9. Sit in silence and do nothing until you feel recharged.

Estimated time: 1.5 hours

Alright, I’m logging off now so I can go do this. I am definitely in need of a hard reset right now and sadly I can’t just take my brain out and blow into it like a Nintendo cartridge. I actually have to listen to what my body needs, which I’ll admit is bullshit, but what can ya do?

Getting old sucks, doesn’t it?

-EMS

Why I’m the Worst

So, as you know, I missed my post this week. That is the second post I’ve missed on our blogs this month and, by definition, that makes me the worst. Despite being a professional writer and an adult with some semblance of time management skills, I missed both of these posts simply because I was busy doing other stuff.

Earlier this month, I missed a post because I was out to dinner with a friend and ended up hanging out with him well into the evening. This week, I decided to come down to Vancouver on a whim and we didn’t end up getting on the road until 3 so we pulled into town around 9. I dropped in on a friend, had dinner, and then promptly fell asleep without doing any writing.

The absolute worst.

jlw79Also, because this trip was so last minute, I didn’t tell ANYONE I was coming. So many people want to see me when I come into town and by not telling anyone I have disappointed everyone.

The absolute, positive worse.

So, as I sit here at the parents house, waiting for you to arrive while I eat lunch with mom, I am going to list out the many, many things about me that make me the absolute worst. Because that seems like a healthy thing to do. Also, self-deprecation is my first language.

Reasons why Emily is the worst:

Sometimes, I forget that other people like me and want to see me. More often than not, when I make plans to visit, I forget to tell people I’m coming because I assume they don’t miss me. I spent so many years of my life being the odd person, the one that was always kind of an afterthought, that now I am amazed that people will actually take time out of their day to see me. And when they tell me they miss me, I’m like, “What? Fake news. I don’t believe you.”

I take forever to respond to messages of any kind. People will send me a text message or leave me a voicemail and it will be at least 5-7 business days before I respond. Why? Because I get busy and forget. Or I assume people don’t ACTUALLY want to talk to me. Again, I have the self esteem of a bridge troll.

I am completely desensitized to horrific things. I watch so many horror movies, true crime shows, and violent animes that I am completely used to things like gore and blood. Don’t ever look over my shoulder when I’m looking at Tumblr or you will see some gross-ass shit.

I speak in TV and movie quotes. And guess what! Sometimes those quotes come from things NO ONE ELSE WATCHES OR UNDERSTANDS. My recent go to quote is “I’m smort” while pointing at my head. Know what show that comes from? No? Neither does anyone else.

I am incredibly spacey sometimes. This has been an issue of mine since I was a child. Sometimes I get to far into my own head I forget what I was doing. Once, I accidentally let Emmett jump into a pool while I was supposed to be watching him. Thank goodness little kids are buoyant.

I am forgetful. I will tell the same story to the same people multiple times. I’m like an action figure with a pull string. I only have like eight cool sayings and then I start repeating.

I have more I could go into, Daniel, but I think I’ve had enough self deprecation for one post. Sorry for forgetting to post again.

The absolute worst.

-EMS