Posts Tagged ‘beer’

Rendered Speechless

December 27, 2018

I don’t often look at old photographs.

I just did.

Work photos from over sixteen years ago.

Longer, perhaps, though not much more than eighteen years, I’ve been in San Francisco for sixteen, so they have to be at least that old.

There’s a private Facebook page with photographs of a place I used to run for six years.

1996-2002 I was the Floor Manager at the Angelic Brewing Company in Madison, Wisconsin.

A lot of the photographs are ones that I took myself.

Although I don’t have the album that they are located in.

I used to take a lot of staff photos.

Before Facebook and camera phones.

I kept a photo album in the office and I would put it out during big staff events.

Most usually the annual holiday party that I was in charge of organizing and running.

We got silly.

I remember one year I bought a bunch of disposable cameras.

Oh the pictures on those cameras.

Many stories.

I was rendered speechless though when I saw a photograph of myself that may have been at my heaviest weight when I was working there.

I don’t actually know what I weighed.

I didn’t like to use the scale.

But I do know that the shirt I was wearing was a size 26.

I now wear a size eleven.

So much has changed.

I just sat on my couch before logging onto my computer and I had an abstinent meal.

Abstinent for me means no flour (of any kind–almond, oat, coconut, corn, wheat, etc) and no sugar.

I do eat fruit, so I get sugar that way, though I tend to not eat fruit with my dinner.

I will.

Just not always.

Fruit is a sort of desert for me.

For dinner tonight I had about a 1/2 c of sautéed broccoli with a cup of brown rice and a roasted chicken leg and thigh.

I had some bubbly water and I listened to jazz.

When I think about the way I ate when I ran the Angelic.

Oh my God.

Freaks me out a little.

Sort of like how the picture did.

I almost want to post it here but I’m not actually sure how to do that and I am also not really sure I want to post it anyway.

I am grateful though for the changes I have gone through and for the good reminder that although my body doesn’t look the exact way I want it to, it looks a hell of a lot better than it did.

I mean.

I used to have a double chin.

I haven’t had a double chin in a long ass time and I am hella grateful for that.

The amazing thing about the photo is that I’m doing the splits on the bar.

I was a lot more limber then than I am now.

I was also studying to get my black belt in Kung Fu.

That also blows my mind, that I got a black belt at the weight I was.

I wonder sometime what it would have been like if I had lost the weight sooner.

But really that doesn’t do me much good to think about that, it’s just fantasy and speculation.

I also had to have some recovery under my belt before I could get abstinent, recovery, therapy, self-care.

A lot of that.


I am really quite proud of myself when I see how very far I have come.

All things considered.

I shouldn’t be where I am at today.

I am very, very, very grateful.

I’m also grateful to have gotten through Christmas.

Three gay boys, two movies, and one sushi dinner.

It was an official San Francisco Christmas.

Matinee at the Kabuki, hanging out in the Castro, then the Metreon in the evening.

I am grateful too for the people I spent time with.

I am grateful for San Francisco being my home.

I am grateful for all the lovely gifts I was given.

The biggest one, always does seem to be perspective.

That’s why the photo hit me so hard.

Just how far I have come.

I’m 46 now.

I look so much better at 46 than I did at 26.

I may have been a little older in the photo, but my weight would have been about the same.

It got bad there for a bit.

But then I think, I needed to be the way I was, to feel safe.  I ate to feel safe in a body that was not a safe place to inhabit.

I ate because I had been hurt.

I did not want to hurt anymore.

I also ate because it was a compulsion.

There were times when I would find myself in the dark raiding the desert fridge at work– shoving an entire piece of Irish Cream pie into my mouth, one, two, three pieces in under five minutes.

I hated it and I couldn’t stop it.

I also didn’t realize that once I put sugar into my body it was sort of on.

Sugar is just as addictive as many narcotics.

Sugar activates the same place in the brain that cocaine does.

I loved cocaine.

And before I had cocaine.

I had sugar.

I had a lot of it.


Just thinking about how much soda I drank too.


I mean.

I worked in the service industry for two decades.

I did not drink diet soda ever, I scoffed at it.

I drank straight up Coca Cola.

I drank vats of it.

When you work in the service industry you usually get free soda.

And because I was in management, I got free meals.

French fries dipped in sour cream.

Fried fish sandwiches with buckets of tartar sauce.

Pasta with chicken and mushrooms and cream sauce and parmesan and bread sticks.

OH bread sticks.

Idaho nachos–cottage fries instead of corn chips–with heaps of cheese and chicken and black beans and guacamole and sour cream.




Beer cheese soup.

And it was a brewery, so yes, lots of beer too, many, many, many pints.

Ex-employees used to joke about how they would lose the “Angelic 20” when they stopped working there since they weren’t always drinking the beer.

Which was not light in any sense of the word.


How things have changed.

For the better.

I might have a nostalgic moment once in a great while for something.

But not ever looking like that picture again?

That will kill any craving I might have.

Fact is.

I don’t crave food, when you don’t have it in your system, the urge goes away.

Hella grateful for that too.

So here’s to not having to make New Years resolutions.

I am resolved every day.

I am happy.







Do You Have A Swim Suit?

June 30, 2014

Pack it.

Already packed.

My friend’s text arrived via a flurry of getting the kids ready for bath, bed, and beyond, and what do you want to do?



Stockholm, Wisconsin?





I want to do it all and I want to be wearing my sassy sandals.

Which have been banished to the corner of my closet as I was so tempted to pack them anyway, they are so cute, when am I going to have a week of sandal wearing goodness in San Francisco?


And I certainly won’t be wearing these beautiful shoes to Burning Man.

Oh well.

I knew it was too much to put my ankle through, so in the closet they stay.

I am otherwise just about packed.

I wanted to be proactive partially because I feel better having it all ready and partially, well, the lady moves slow like still.

I am getting around a bit better and last night for the first time I took some tentative and slow steps from the bed to the bathroom.


Ten steps indoors without the walking boot on.



I could probably swim, but I will most likely just float.

I won’t be doing some nice steady, smooth, strong kicking, not yet.  I don’t want to move it around that much.  But I can probably still do a crawl stroke, I’ll just let my legs go dead behind, sort of like when we used pull buoys on swim team.

The buoys were held between the legs for, yes, you guessed it, buoyancy, and one did not kick ones feet while swimming laps.  They were to help perfect your crawl stroke.

I would like to say that I will be doing lots of active things on my summer vacation.

But perhaps it will be the inactive ones that I get to enjoy the most.

There’s a possibility of going out on a pontoon boat.


I can’t remember the last time I was on a pontoon boat.  Maybe when I was ten, twelve?

I recall a summer Lake Wisconsin pontoon trip outside of Okee.

Okee is a teeny tiny town outside of Lodi, itself pretty small (2,500 pop.), on Lake Wisconsin.

If you were headed to the ferry driving towards Devil’s Lake State Park or Baraboo, you would bypass Okee.

It was on the wrong side of the Lake Wisconsin for the ferry.

But it was where an aunt of mine lived for a while and briefly, if memory serves, my mom and sister and I stayed with her too.

I remember the hammock in her back yard.

I also remember that the part of the lake she lived on was shallow.  I could wade out thirty, forty, fifty yards, and the water would only come up to my thighs, my eight year old thighs, so it was super shallow.

I got tall, but well after eight.

I don’t know what the occasion for the pontoon was, but it was definitely a party, it’s pretty much an excuse to drift slow and lazy on the river or lake and drink a lot of beer.

Hell, any gathering of my family in Wisconsin seemed to be a ocassion to sit by a lake and drink a lot of beer.

I don’t think my family is anything special in regards to this.

Pontoons are great for picnicking on too.

They just move so slow.

It’s sort of like being on a parade float, except it’s in the water.

Speaking of parade.

Pride was today and the hooligans were out early.

I had an errand to run up to 7th and Irving and the packs of champagne swilling, mimosa monkeys in rainbow colors flying their freak flags high were huge.

One particular group of teenagers, twelve, thirteen of them, on the back part of the N-Judah at 11:20 a.m. had the bottles of champagne going round, the Gatroade bottles going round, the flasks of cheap vodka already having been dumped into the sport drink bottles.

Nothing says good times like smell of purple Gatorade and vodka in the morning.


They were having a great time and all of them had on body paint and net shirts and rainbow striped headbands and wristbands and of the entourage, one guy was gay.

The Pride part of the party was underscored by the “party” part of Pride.

San Franciscans don’t need much excuse to bring out a bottle and some bright neon net t-shirt action, be it Bay to Breakers or Pride, or Tuesday afternoon for that matter.

It was quite amusing to watch the faces of a few tourists who didn’t know what Pride was and were out at the beach and heading in to the city to go do tourist type things.

I was not going anywhere past 7th and Irving.

I had a moment of desire to hop further up and drop into Cole and Carl–grab my nanny clogs from the house I work out of for my trip, but the amount of people already on the train was just too much for me.

That is a side effect of this whole thing that has surprised me a little.

I have gotten a bit overwhelmed by crowds on recent excursions.

I suppose that it’s a bit of being extra cautious about my ankle and also having spent a lot of time by myself over these last few weeks.

This trip to Wisconsin will be a nice easing back into the human world.

It’s a little slower in Wisconsin anyhow and slow is great for me at the moment.

I will sit on the porch with my friend and drink coffee in the morning and look out towards the lake and perhaps see an eagle fishing for breakfast.

I will sit in the car and happily go on mini-car trips to the wilds of the North woods of Wisconsin.

Or perhaps I shall meander along with her through down town Hudson and procure an iced coffee at a cafe.

I will enjoy whatever happens, I’ll be with my best friend, even if I can’t keep up with her three boys, I will bask in their energy and be happy to be a guest in their home.

Off now to finish the packing.

And try to get to bed a tiny bit early.

The alarm is set for 4 a.m.

My flight out of SFO is at 7:30 a.m.


Grateful for the travel pillow.

And with that.

I shall see you tomorrow from the bustling metropolis of Hudson, Wisconsin.




March 30, 2012

Ah, the siren song of the kegger.

Oh, yes, that’s right, I have been in the midst of it all night long.  Twelve hour work day which culminated in a party at the shop with not one, not two, but three kegs of beer.

And oh,

about 1,000 Mission hipsters.

Nothing says good times like cheap beer on tap and waxed mustaches.

I should not bitch too much though, I got to meet Gary Fisher, and frankly he had a lovely mustache.

The store hosted a party for Levi’s.  It was definitely a party.  It reminded me of the “good old days” at the Angelic.  There were people wall to wall to wall.  There were people from one corner to the side-walk and overflowing down the street.  And there were bikes everywhere.

The best was the little hippie/raver chic in yoga pants that swung by at 9:15p.m. at the height of the melee to put air in her tires.

And yes, I did go get the shop pump for her.

She was on one of our bikes after all.

I am actually happily surprised at the containment of the party.  Despite having a racing team from Zeitgeist in the store, we managed to keep it all to a dull roar.  There were a few folks that pushed it, one dude who was very into me showing him some merchandise while he stood there two fisting beer out of a plastic cup, then spilled it on said merchandise.


I covered up my annoyance at that pretty well.

In fact, I feel surprisingly ok with the whole thing.  Oh, I was more than happy to leave.  In fact, I dashed out without being the last one to close shop and set the alarm and make sure all the loose ends were tucked away.  I did make sure the important stuff was locked and secure, then I grabbed my bike and got on it.

I still had to ride through a bunch of yahoos who had been busily filling their water bottle with beer prior to my leaving the store.  And I nearly got hit by some one who had a long happy hour and was weaving their way home, but I got home.

I only have to be back at work in less than twelve hours.

I still have approximately seven hundred words to write.

On what, fuck if I know.  Beer is not really a topic I give that much of a rats ass about any longer.

I am also hoping that the kegs will magically disappear tomorrow.  I did a lot of crawling around them while I was working today.  They were stashed in the back next to where we keep our food and the mini fridge and microwave.  I got to make lunch and dinner straddling a couple of kegs.



I have served the beer Gods well.

I am not talking about tonight either.  Tonight was but a small tribute.  When I think about all the kegs I have been around in my life, I am really, really, really grateful that I don’t have to be again.  The Essen Haus, with its 15 plus beers on tap, that was the worst keg cooler ever, ever, ever.  The ceiling on it was so low you had to hunch over to change a keg.  And it was such work to stock it as well.  How many times a night that a keg blew, especially on a Foot Ball Saturday.

How many times running up and down those stairs to flip over a keg of Spaten or Franzikaner or Pauliner or Hopf.  The way they would spray back on you if you ran the lines to quick.  The slickness of the steps going down to the basement.  I am shocked that I never really hurt myself on those stairs.

I did fall down them once.

My feet slipped out from underneath me and my skirt flew up, that’s right, I was wearing a dirndle–the German idea for a Wonder Bra–periwinkle blue with black embroidered flowers on the hem and bodice–and it whipped right up over my head and I slid down on my ass.

My underwear were ruined, it was scary and I had black and blue bruises on the backs of my thighs for weeks.

Then of course, my beer servitude over at the Angelic Brewing Company.

We did not serve beer out of kegs, but straight from the brewing tank.  The tap lines ran underneath the floor up to the bar.  When a tank blew, that was some serious shit.

500 gallon tanks.

I was surrounded by beer for decades.

Tonight’s little showing was just enough of a reminder to me of what I went through, every night, every weekend, for years and years and years.  I counted tills and separated dollar bills and cleaned up spilt liquor and beer and drank my ass off.

Most of the time I did not drink until after the tills were counted and the deposits made.

Those routines actually served me really well tonight.  And I did my best to keep my opinions to myself about where things were going to be located and thank full I was listened to.

The person running the event wanted to put the keg next to the brain, our main computer and nerve center, credit card machine, soft good merchandising, the printer, the phone lines, the scanner, the modem, all the serious electronic gadgetry that the business runs on.

I was not happy with this lay out.

Number one, this is where I work, I can spend hours at a go in that desk chair ringing up sales, talking on the phone, interacting with vendors, basically doing my job, and the last thing I wanted was to have to sit in a beer stank for the next millennium.

The floors are old wood, any splash back on those kegs it was going to settle right in and be really gross to work from.  Plus, any beer getting slopped about on the brain would have made my life a living hell for the next month.

I said something once and my opinion was over rode.

I said something twice and the same thing happen.

I walked away, had a few words with the powers that be in the bathroom, took some deep breaths and said, what ever you want to do.  I said, I have had a little experience, decades, of working in bars and restaurants and breweries, and I don’t recommend this set up.

I was heard, maybe, but it was not acknowledged.  I gave up.  Then two of my other co-workers saw what was happening and intervened, neither of whom had any idea that I had been fighting the good fight and had surrendered.

The beer was moved.

I will be returning to the scene of the party way earlier than I want and there will be plenty of things to clean and straighten, but at least my work space won’t smell of free beer.

And neither will I.


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