on running in the snow melt…

I ran this weekend, outside, after three weeks of being chained to the treadmill.  Hallelujah!

I knew it was going to be the day when my phone told me Saturday was going to be in the 50s.  That snow from last Saturday would have been only a memory come afternoon and I would hit the roads.

I laced up, headed out, and things were great.  Everything was melting, the roads were wet, but not slippery and the sun was shining.

I hit my favorite trail around the local park (one of two parks in town, big timin’ in this little town:)) and only found a bit of ice on the south side which is pretty shady.  I was just a bit chilly but really starting to warm up.

Water was running down the streets and into the little run off ditch that runs through town.  I was dodging puddles and jamming out and just so happy to be outside again.

My positive thoughts took a turn for the worst at about mile 4….

The left over snow piles could not have been more in my way.  I was having to dodge slush and walk over thick, stubborn ice that refused to melt away.  I was wimping out in a major way and all I could do was tell myself to suck it up, two more miles, a little fartlek at the end, and I was home free.

Towards the end of mile 4, it happened.  If you are going to run in the snow melt, you may as well just count on.  You can try all you want you but eventually, it happens.

You hit a sinker.  What is a sinker you may ask?  That is my, very made up term, for a bank of snow that seems fairly harmless, seems very passable, but underneath lurks a river of cold, icy water just waiting to suck your feet in.  If you are lucky, it will only get one foot and, if you are even luckier, it will happen at the end of your run (if you’re the luckiest, it won’t happen at all).

My sinker, I hit it at the end of mile 4 and I hit it hard.  One foot went in all the way up to my shin.  I fell at the same time because I have the coordination of a newly toddling child.  My hand when into a pile of stickers and my foot into a pool of ice.

I got myself out of there as coolly as I could which, in real life, was considerably awkward.  I shook my sopping wet foot out, for what reason I’m not sure, and scanned my surroundings hoping no one witnessed the past few events.

I pulled the darn stickers out of my hand and did what any runner would do–kept running.  My foot was cold, wet, and squishy, my mental stability was fading quickly, but I just needed to get the heck out of there before anyone saw me.

In the end, I cut my run short a bit to hopefully avoid blisters from the wet sinker foot.  I hit up another mile and then headed home.

Running is like that sometimes, you think you’ve lucked out and then, all of the sudden and out of no where, you find yourself in a sink hole!

Dry shoe on the left, soaker shoe on the right. Sad face.

Dry shoe on the left, soaker shoe on the right. Sad face.

I could turn this into a lesson about life but honestly folks, if there is a parallel in life to unexpectedly drowning your foot in an icy cold river of water, I don’t want to know about it!

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Resolute

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I have to say, I am one of those people that love New Year’s.  I love the feeling of hope; the feeling of starting over; the idea of turning over a new leaf.  Every year, I come up with some ideas on what I want to change in the coming year and turn those into my resolutions.  I know, this is nothing different then all of those others out there making resolutions but sometimes I feel like putting your resolutions down on paper (or in a blog posts) really adds to accountability so here it goes….

Oh, first, I tried to look back through the broken pieces of 2014 that are documented on blogs to determine what my 2014 resolutions were and offer up an idea of how well I did but, what do you know?  I didn’t even write them down.  Guess it is hard to say how I did but definitely is a nod towards writing them down!

1.) Work on healthy habits.  I have decided this is the time that I need to get some of my things together and focus on being a healthier person.  Sure, I exercise regularly and try to eat healthy but sometimes I feel like I need to do more.

I work in an office and spend a lot of time sitting on my duff and I know evening workouts alone can undo all of that sitting.  I need to be more aware and accountable for being active throughout the day, not just a few hours an evening.

I also want to work on having a happier head space.  I want to be present this year and not just survive the days.  I think part of that means, taking a little bit of time each day to focus on myself….what went well in my day, what did not go well and who knows, maybe even write those things down.

In terms of diet, I want to work on a lifestyle makeover where I’m not constantly concerned with what I am eating verses what I should be eating.  I don’t want to worry about foods being “bad” and “good”.  I want to work on seeing food for just what it is….fuel for my body.  I am going to start with a little Intuitive Eating research and will go from there.

2.) Run a marathon.  I have done several half marathons but feel like I should give the full Monty a shot.  What is another 13.1 miles anyway?  I have already started some training and my long runs have been great…well considering I have been chained to the treadmill for them.  I am using a Hal Higdon plan and will probably make mention of this about 5,324 more times between now and the actual race…which has yet to be determined.

3.) Save, save, save (as in, money, money, money).  Who doesn’t want some extra cash-ola saved away in their piggy bank?  DH (Darling Husband, how original but honestly, he has always been listed in my phone as Darling…then Darling Fiance….and now Darling Husband so why not here too) and I are always talking about the things we should do with the house.  I figure if I am packing money to the savings account each month, it will be that much easier to pull the trigger and go for it.  I have already started having them just put the money right in savings as I get paid…golly I feel responsible.

4.) Start on another degree.  I am about 98% sure on this right now.  I always regretted not getting my accounting degree.  I thought about adding it to the list while I was at school but I was about 3 years deep and ready to claw my way out so I opted not to go there.  Still, I love numbers and, oddly, love financial reports and even kind of like taxes.  Sure I have a job…well…a career already but I don’t feel like a person could ever go wrong by knowing more about accounting.

So there you have it….a steep stack of resolutions for 2015.

How about you…what are you resolutions?  Did you succeed at your 2014 resolutions?

Here I go Again….

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Oh blog world, here I am for my epic return. Not going to lie, this is probably my third “epic” return to blogging. How do I even get here?

Why am I back? As 2014 drew to a close, blogger after blogger after blogger was recalling his/her year and I realized, what a great way to have you own little constant history of life. Sure, my life isn’t always glamorous or exciting but I do think that blogging is a great way to look back and just see how far you have come. For 2015, I want that so badly. I want to have a little space where I can look back and laugh, smile, maybe even frown over the previous year. Hopefully this little post will hold me to it.

Why did I leave? For some crazy reason, at some point in time, I think I actually cared if people read my blog. I wanted to put thoughts out there that someone else found provoking, that maybe caused someone else to stop and think. Some ideas I put out there for feedback to hear someone else’s thoughts, to have some interaction. It made blogging much more difficult as I didn’t want to write boring things or things people didn’t want to hear. It became me competing with myself to gain people’s interest.

Earlier this week, I was frantically making my old blogs (yes folks, I have tried my hand at this a couple of times) private before sending an email to someone who I thought might somehow uncover my blogger identity (anyone else afraid for the real world to find your blog?) and I started reading my 125 some odd posts and I realize I do like this…I do enjoy this. I need to have a place to put my thoughts regardless of having a readership or not.

So here we go, my re-entry into the blogging world. Here’s hoping you’ll follow along.

So many things….but a race recap instead

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Today is a day that I have so many things to say since I haven’t been here saying anything recently…

Instead of jumping from place to place randomly, I thought I would give you a race recap instead.

May 17th, I ran the 2nd Annual Carbon Valley Half Marathon.  I had ran the 1st Carbon Valley last year, loved it, and knew I wanted to come back.  The route was excellent last year as well as the weather so it felt like a no brainer really.

This was my first half back since winter break and I was nervous to say the least.  I had a killed my long runs (even impressing myself, believe it or not) so I knew that I had the mileage part down but something had me nervous from the day before all the way through the morning of and maybe even into mile 6.  To say I am in my head too much is a HUGE understatement.

The race started early Saturday morning and is about 4 hours away so we headed up Friday evening to carb load and sleep!  I had forgotten that the race and graduation for the 3 universities in that area all happen at the same time so hotel finding was not only a pain in the butt but also the wallet.  Be warned, book ahead (note to future self).

Regardless, we made it up to Firestone, found us some carb love at Old Chicago’s, and I wondered about the rained.  It rained practically our entire trip up there and was continuing to do so.  I remembered that most of the course was on unfinished trails/dirt roads which amplified my anxiety…like I needed help with that.

I woke up the morning of still nervous but looking forward to the run.  It was perfectly overcast and slightly chilly which I was glad about.  I threw some sleeves in just in case but made the last minute decision to go with a short sleeve.

I picked up my packet and shirt and mentally prepared.  Hubs and I parted ways (he was absolutely set on Waffle House for breakfast) and I was off.  The run started off very pretty over a dirt road lined with an old turkey farm.  The clouds were still hovering and it was still a little brisk.  We eventually made our way to part of the unfinished trail that started out in a bottom.  It was so stinkin’ muggy with thick grass climbing up either sides of the inclines and a bit mushy from the rains the night before.  Either way, it was still navigable but I was anxious to get out of the humidity it held.

Mile 3 through 5 took us over a cement trail behind a subdivision and then actually through a subdivision.  I loved this part.  Maybe I’m a creep, I don’t know, but I really like to check out people’s back yards to steal ideas and ooohhh and awwww at all of their flowers and plants.  We even passed by a lawn with a real working train set which I adored because I am 5 years old.

I still felt really good at this point, nervous that the bottom was going to fall out but still good.  Mile 6 lead us along one of the many lakes/ponds in the area.  The birds were out and happy which kept me trucking along.  At this point, since I had decided to wear my broke in pair of shoes (read: old), my feet were starting to get sore and achy but I knew I still had a ways to go.  My mental game was still holding strong which I usually where I struggle the most.

As we started into mile 7, we had to run underground through one of those underpass things (so technical, I know) that give me the willies.  It was dark and muddy which meant it was dark and slippery and I was certain I was going to fall and break something.  After that, we ran through part of Historic Firestone and through some neighborhoods.  Hitting the 10 mile mark, we found ourselves on quiet trails again.  This part was somewhat more difficult for me.  I like to have things to check out to keep my interest peaked to help me forget about my feet that are still yelling at me.  Regardless, I made it through it and eventually hit mile 12.

I had given the Hubs a time I had in mind and told him to be at the finish line then.  2 hours and 35 minutes is what I was hoping to find when I hit the finish line.  Unfortunately, part way through mile 12, my time ticked by but I was still determined to make it across the finish line as close to that time as possible.

A slight hill then a downhill and I knew I would crossing the finishing line.  I gave it all that I could for the last .7 miles and crossed the finish line just of 2 hours and 40 minutes–short of my goal but I was still so happy.

Of course, I rode cloud 9, running high for about 2 weeks.  I can’t describe what it is when you finish one of those races.  You are in awe of yourself.  You are amazed at what your body will allow you to accomplish.  And, most importantly, you are certain you can take on the world.

In the end, I loved this twisted up version of the 1st year’s course!  I am so excited to go back next year and take it on again.  If you find yourself in Northern Colorado, mid-May, and looking for a half marathon, I would have to say, this is one you should attempt!

 

 

Out of the Game

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Obviously, I have been out of the game for a bit.  Life has been hectic and chaotic, just as I assume everyone’s life once spring comes around.  So what has been happening in the Real Life?  How about the quick and dirty of the last few weeks…

  • The Hubs and I (still need a perfect nickname for him…thoughts?) spent about upteen hours in a tractor cab.  Our hours included bird watching (creepy), jelly bean eating, movie plot fabricating, and John Grisham reading.  Yes, for reals, I read out loud to my husband while we are on the tractor.  John Grisham no less…johngrishamtractor
  • We have been busy little bees in our yards and flower/garden beds.  Fertilizing needed to be done, raking, trimming, mowing, cleaning, clearing, and water all needed to be done as well.  Now we have a happy yard again.
  • Grilling and smoking.  Once the calendar reads “Spring” we find our way outside to cook dinner rather than slaving away in the kitchen.  Our favorites so far have included sirloin steaks, smoked seasoned potatoes, and smoked jalapeno poppers.  I mean, my goodness…yummy!
  • Cocktailing on the porch.  We love us a good porch sitting session and nothing can make it any better than a cocktail in hand.  We recently left the well known territory of Red’s Apply Ale and Bud Light and concocted Mint Juleps (for the Kentucky Derby that we didn’t get to watch) and, what I called, Fruit Salad and Vodka (muddled strawberries and blackberries with vodka and club soda).

    dogonporch

    Axle LOVES porch time!

  • Planning the next house project.  We have about 5 ideas rolling around in our heads right now but have not yet decided which we will actually tackle next.  We have done plenty of our own “drawings” and are constantly discussing what should be done next.
  • Working.  In just about all facets of agriculture, spring is a crazy busy time.  We have both been fully focused and run, run, running around to keep up with everything at work during the spring season.  Can’t wait until the corn is all in the ground so that we can catch our breath!

Even though I have been out of the game for a little while, nothing too note worthy has been happening, just the usual ol’ busy!  Regardless, I find myself so incredibly happy and in love with the spring time year after year.

What is your favorite season?

The time my husband swore he was married to Martha Stewart…

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Ok…he might not have “swore” he was married to Martha but I may have got a flip comment about being Martha…or something…

Another fun thing about spring is all of the brunching people want to do!  I don’t know if it is the sleeping in a little later, the hangover elixir component, or the boozing in the late morning that people enjoy the most but I do know that the three together are quite the combination.

We don’t necessarily “brunch” because we are usually up pretty early regardless but on weekend mornings that the husband needs to catch an early spraying session before the wind arrives or if he has to run out and feed cattle before I have a chance to drink my first cup of coffee, we get the chance to have brunch.  And when we have brunch, I like to get a little creative.

One of our favorite breakfast foods, period, is breakfast burritos but you can only do so much to change them up so here is my whole new take on the breakfast burrito.  Behold, the breakfast burrito cup….

breakfastburritocups

It’s glorious, right?  Ok, ok, I’ll quit tooting my horn and tell you how I did it!  I apologize for not taking pictures along the way but I was pretty sure it was going to end up disastrous so no pictures were taken to capture the process.

Necessary ingredients:

  • Tortillas
  • Hashbrowns of some sort (we like shredded yukon golds)
  • Eggs
  • Bacon or sausage, your choice
  • Cheese of your choice (we prefer a sharp cheddar or pepperjack)
  • Muffin tin

The Process:

  1. Get your hashbrowns going in normal fashion.  I like to just fry my shredded potatoes and season them along the way with salt, black pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder.  If you had some left over roasted potatoes, those would be great, too.
  2. As your hashbrowns cook, do whatever you need to do to your protein.  I used about 6 slices of bacon (for 6 breakfast burrito cups) that I cook on a sheet pan in the oven.
  3. In the mean time, line your muffin tins with your tortillas.  You have to do a little folding and a little magic but if you have ever made a cone with a piece of paper, it is the same idea.  Make a cone then fold the bottom to get the tortilla to magically become a cup.
  4. Make sure your cheese is shredded and set your oven to 350.
  5. Now you should have everything cooked and you just need to assemble.  In your cup, add a layer of potatoes, meat, and cheese leaving some space at the top.
  6. Once everything is assembled, carefully crack an egg into each cup.  Top with chives if you so desire.
  7. Bake for 12-15 minutes until eggs have reached desired doneness (is that a word?  um, no)  We like our’s over easy so I cooked them until the whites were cooked.
  8. Carefully remove warm cups from muffin tins and serve!

Now sit back and let your company, or just your husband, marvel at what a culinary genius you are!  Kidding….only kidding but how simple and how fancy, right?  I am certain these would be perfect paired with a mimosa and can be cleverly changed up in so many ways!

What is your favorite brunch dish?

The Constant Question

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It happened this weekend…it happens quite often really. We were at the bar (my husband and I), having a couple of beers and watching the Kentucky/Wisconsin game. We live in a small town but we keep our social circle pretty small. A lady that we don’t know all that well was visiting us. She asked the question, the same one we get over and over again.

At least once a month, if not every couple of weeks, someone asks it. Everyone is so entranced by our situation.

You see, we live in a small town. People have expectations. Getting married, have kids, repeat (the kid part, not the marriage part).

“So, you guys have been married almost 5 years and don’t have kids yet? Why not,” she asked. I keep telling my husband I am going to come up with a doozey of an answer but am too fearful of karma to ever let the words actual leave the shelter of my lips.

It’s strange here for a couple of our age (like we are SO old or something) to not have dipped into the world of parenthood. But, alas, here we are, on the verge of celebrating 5 years of marriage and we are kidless.

So, let me guess, now you want to know why too?!

I am not exactly certain that I can pinpoint a specific answer but rather just a random list.

  • Sure, we’ve been married nearly 5 years (you want me to say that a few more times?) but Husband (I haven’t come up with a good nickname for him yet, any thoughts?) just turned 30 and I’m only 26…we’ve still got some life left in us, trust me.
  • We are super random and like to do super random things.  Can this be done with kids?  I’m sure it can but it’s gotta be tougher to load up and head out without a second thought.
  • We have lived in this house 7 years.  At this point, some updates need to be done…painting…flooring…a stairway banister that is a little (or lot) less dangerous.
  • We are both pretty career driven and have a lot going on there which seems to be our priority right now.
  • We have this dog who thinks he is a human.  Sharing the attention of the actual humans may not been on his list of “Things to do to have a super great time.”
Our Fur Baby

Our Fur Baby

  • Our friends haven’t had kids yet.
  • We only have one shower and it’s in the master bathroom.
  • Our brothers seem to be doing a good job of keep the family names going.
  • There is still kitty cat wallpaper in the room that we would use as a nursery.
  • I really hoped that my grandparents would get to meet our kiddos.  They have both passed so now there seems like less of a rush.
  • Some days we struggle to decide what to have for dinner so we subsist on peanut butter and jelly.  Not exactly sure that is approved by Michelle Obama’s “MyPlate” initiative.
  • Two words: diaper blowouts
  • We might actually have to put food in the second refrigerator instead of just beer.
  • And…most importantly…because PEOPLE KEEP ASKING!

Ok, in all honesty, we have talked about having kids and neither one of us have had the calling to have them right now.  We talk about it somewhat candidly here and there.  I am sure one day, we will take the plunge…I’m just not sure when that day will be.

In the meantime, I am really working on a great comeback with no karma induced consequences.  If you are reading this and have wondered, please quit asking.  We will gladly be that strange couple until the urge really strikes us!

Do you have kiddos?  Did people ask you 1,439,230 questions about having kids before you had them?

 

Running in the Wind–How to keep Mother Nature from blowing away your happiness!

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If you are anything like me, you always check the weather before you head out the door.  Sometimes this might mean that you just throw your shoes on and hit the pavement, other times, you might first Google, “How to run in the _________?” to be prepared before you leave the comfort of your home.

The most constant weather event in our part of the world is wind.  This is kind of a tough weather situation for runners because, while I know what 35 degrees feels like, I struggle to remember what 20 mile per hour winds feel like.  Regardless, being a fair weather runner doesn’t work out for me so sometimes, I have to tough it out.

I tested these strategies on my very windy run this morning:

  • Come prepared–This is a personal issue.  Somethings bother me more than others in the wind.  On really cold days, I make sure my ears are covered.  This serves to keep my ears warm and keep my headphones in.  I know other people can’t handle cold fingers so maybe you need to make sure you have your gloves along.  Other people can’t stand all that wind pelting their eyes so sunglasses might be on your list.  Think about which part of you may be uncomfortable in the wind and do what you can to find some level of comfort.
  • Rearrange your route–This is important in many ways.  One a windy day, you don’t want to be on a trail with loose, fine dirt.  That just sounds miserable.  You also probably don’t want to be in the middle of no where without any protection.  Rearrange your route to ensure that you have some protection and won’t be battling dust.  More over, if you can, arrange your route so that you run with the wind for the first portion of your run, into the wind during the middle portion, and with the wind again at the end of your run.  You are more likely to cut your run short if you start out running to the wind.  Throw running into the wind mid run and you’ll have to make it through to get back home.
  • Focus on something else–Crank up the tunes, repeat your go to mantra, watch the clouds, do anything but think about how terrible the wind is..that will only serve to make it worse.  Beyond that, today is not the day to keep your eyes on your watch, your pace is likely to suffer today.  It’s ok though, what you are doing is not easy and you have to give yourself a little credit for that!
  • Take on a new strategy–This is a time to be flexible.  I have a few strategies that I use when I am running right into the wind.  I tend to lose my breath pretty easily in strong winds which is overwhelming.  I will use either a time strategy in which I run 30 seconds, walk and catch my breath for 10 seconds.  When I don’t have a watch along, I will run a block and a half then catch my breath for half a block.  I also, depending on my running route, will run a block into the wind then a block with the wind.  This doesn’t work so great if you are on the east side of town and the wind is from the north wet but it is a great strategy to allow you to recover your breath after those windy sections.
  • Be realistic–This run probably isn’t going to be the most fun but do what you can to stick it out.  I planned 7 miles today and only got 5 in.  Once I felt like I was getting a full body, microderm abrasion treatment, I realized I should call it a day.  Are those 2 miles I missed going to kick me in the long run, probably not!  Do what you can but be sure to recognize when you should just give in.

Sure, windy runs aren’t always the most fun.  They do a lot to provide mental and physical toughness and really help me to appreciate those fair weather running days.

A very wind blown Christa after today’s run.

 

What weather do you hate to contend with the most on your runs?

More than an emotion…

I heard this somewhere recently and thought it was something perfect to share and maybe (gasp) even reflect on…

“Love is more than an emotion…”

It’s true…love is really more than emotion.  Although, when you are speaking of your affinity for coconut cream pie, it should probably remain only an emotion.

But really, it is more than that.  For me, love is a choice and a decision by which my actions are guided.  The ooohhh and awwww of a romantic relationship, most definitely, without a doubt, an emotion but love, well it is so much deeper.

These are things I need to remember this time of year.  My husband is busy, I am busy, the days are long, but our evenings together are quite short.  He is working and farming.  I am working and doing yard work and trying to help him in whatever ways I can.  Beyond that, I am tired.  Running has ramped up which leaves me short on sleep and a little sore.

Our patience run short right now.  Even the little things may drive us crazy.  Our hours together are short and sometimes, it makes it harder to build on a connection.

These are the times when love is more than an emotion.  These are the times we must chose to show our love towards each other through patience, though forgiveness, through helping each other throw together a late night dinner, through kindness, and sweet words.

I know these times will pass, things will settle down, we will have more time together and those times will feel so much better knowing that we chose to love each other through the crazy times.

Do you and your significant other have times of the year where you struggle more?  How do you get through those times?

Beer’s On…

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Every couple of months, my kitchen (yes, I call it “mine” and I don’t my husband would even bat an eye at that) turns into the best kind of science lab.  Huge pots line the stove, precisely measured bags, vials, and containers line the counter, a tangled pile of copper pipe sits connected to the faucet and waiting to be used, a 5 gallon bucket with a spigot waits to be filled, and meticulous timers are set to make sure the experiment is a success.

The disaster that is created is overwhelming but the eventual product is worth it: beer.

A few years ago, I gifted my husband with a beer making kit for Christmas.  We aren’t talking about the little, 1 gallon “Mr. Beer” kit here, but rather, an enormous 5 gallon, at home kit complete with mysterious, unheard of items like Carboys, wort chillers, secondary fermentors, and a hydrometer.  I also threw in a book to provide a little explanation of my gift and a kit full of the necessary beer making ingredients for his first batch.

I wasn’t sure if it would be a hit or not but, one thing I do know, men like beer and men enjoy the pride surrounded making something all their own so, the husband was a happy camper.

We set to work, spending an entire day readying ourselves for the first batch.  Everything was sterilized, distilled water was purchased, the brewing chapters of the book were read and re-read, the kit and its ingredients were studied over and over.  In the end, the beer was brewed, the beer was bottled, the beer was good.

A trend had started.

Now, it is not an uncommon thing to find a 5 gallon bucket in our office, wrapped in a towel, blanket, or other warmth promoting item, thermometer sticking out, bubbling and fermenting away.  Currently, we have a bucket of Bourbon Barrel Old Ale bubbling a way, as it will be for the next 6 months!  (This is the first one that we have made that takes so long from start to finish, that kind of patience is a tough thing to muster!)

It’s amazing, I never truly understood everything that went into the beer making process and still struggle to imagine it on a large scale.  It has lent a whole new appreciation to the craft brewers of the world, it makes you appreciate the notes and flavors developed in beer, and the complexity of the recipes.  It also made me more of a beer drinker than I ever thought I would be!

Beer’s on!