Oddfellows Cafe and Bar – Capitol Hill

Oddfellows Cafe and Bar is a lovely place for brunch, dinner, or just a snack before dancing upstairs at Century Ballroom of any of the other music and dancing venues. I’ve been here twice, most recently for brunch before a quick jaunt to Bellevue on a Saturday. It was about a 20-minute wait for a table for two, but worth it. I had biscuits and gravy with mushrooms, a fried egg, a green salad, and a mocha. The windows are tall and wide, taking up nearly the entire east-facing wall, so you get a ton of natural light in the morning, which is exactly what I want when I’ve made the choice to be out of bed before noon. Wake me up, sun!

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The flavor combo of the biscuits, gravy, mushrooms, and egg were perfect and comforting. I wouldn’t normally like runny yolks, but sopping it up with dry biscuit from underneath the gravy-covered parts  The salad dressing used was light and subtle so you really got to enjoy the simple greens. The service was quick and friendly, impressive considering how busy it was. This place is popular! There isn’t really a good place to sit down while you wait for a table, but you are right by Cal Anderson Park, so you can just go play on the swing-set (or walk around the park like a “grown-up” I guess) until it’s your time to be seated. The mocha was perfectly bittersweet and fulfilling, like a mocha from anywhere but Starbucks usually is. I don’t know what it is! Or maybe I just like when there’s latte art. Anyway, go to Oddfellows if you like cafes that make you feel like you’re outside, without having the sun in your eyes or losing your napkin to a light breeze, and if you like delicious and gourmet meals that will make you glad you live in this city. Parking may be a pain on cap hill, but it’s places like this that will make you think “worth it.” But honestly, just take the light rail.

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Capitol Cider – Capitol Hill

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I came here on a Wednesday around 6 with a friend I had seen in groups but never one-on-one before, who has always said “we need to hang out more.” She brought me coffee from her apartment and we sat at a table in the depths of Pike Place Market and filled each other in on all the things that never come up in large group settings. When we got hungry, we didn’t want to stop hanging out, and I had a commitment at 9 so I didn’t plan on going home yet anyway, so we headed to Capitol Cider on her suggestion. We took the Light Rail (“that was so easy; I should do this more often,” my friend said) and walked the rest of the way.

The basement bar, with its low-light, thick and sturdy wooden tables, and your meal served to you on a plank of wood, reminded me of a 1700s tavern in which important people wrote important letters. Or maybe I just listened to people sing five different Hamilton songs on Saturday night and that’s where my head’s at now.

I got fish and chips (shocking) and was very impressed. Have you noticed yet that it’s easy to impress me with food? Mostly, I don’t want to write about food that I didn’t like. This is a positive blog, or that’s what I aim for. Honestly though, this was really good. Sizable portions of breaded and fried fish with a crispy and oily outside and flaky, hot, and tender inside, filling you up quickly after a long day at work. Who wouldn’t love that?

The service was quick and friendly, very attentive and relaxed. You felt like they were genuinely glad you were there. Plus, they have hooks under the bar for purses, a stage for live music, pool tables, and fooseball.

I would come back here, for sure. Maybe draft a new law or two.

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Norm’s Eatery and Alehouse – Fremont

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Norm’s Eatery and Alehouse, on 36th St between Dayton and Francis, is the place to go if you want to fawn over strangers’ dogs and watch them fawn over yours while you enjoy some hearty pub cuisine. The decor scheme is, naturally, dogs, dogs, dogs, and more dogs, and they have a mighty selection of beers and whiskeys. Even if the main draw wasn’t that you can bring your dog with you, this would still be worth a visit because the food is amazing! I had fish and chips, because I like to judge places on the simplest and most common dishes. Food you can find anywhere. It’s easier to compare that way. And Norm’s did not disappoint.

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The fries could have been crispier, but the flavor was great, and the fish was crispy, tender, and hot, tasted great, and was just as good reheated at work the next day. The tater tots were just what tater tots should be, which is unfussy and simple. I don’t like too many creative flavors on my tater tots. It’s a re-formed potato. You don’t need to get fancy.

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I came here with my friend Sean and his puppy, Barley, as he is too young to be left alone for very long. He is still getting used to being given so much attention on every walk, and trying to make friends with other dogs. These two were staring at each other the whole time we were eating, and when the black dog’s owners were ready to go, they brought him over to say hi. The black dog was intermittently crying with anticipation of meeting Barley until they could finally touch noses. It was so cute.

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Come to Norm’s if you want to go out for some delicious food and drinks and don’t want to leave your dog at home. They do have strict rules about it, but basically if you can bring your dog to a dog park without trouble, you can bring them here. Check it out!

9 Seattle Karaoke Spots, Ranked

These are only the spots I can remember singing at in the last 3 years. The goal is to sing at every karaoke spot in the city, just to be able to confidently compare them and recommend the best places to friends, and, like any scientist, I have a control variable: I always sing “Love Song” by Sara Bareilles, often a crowd favorite, and I am usually one of the first few people to sign up. None of these places are terrible, but there are reasons some are my favorites over others.

9. R Place – Capitol Hill

I have only been here once, on a Sunday, and only because I had a rare Monday off due to a holiday. My office hours and bus ride back home are not conducive to the days this place has karaoke (Sun-Wed), but that’s okay. Everyone has different schedules. Karaoke is operated on the 1st of 3 floors and there is no stage. I remember singing from the stairs like a diva, and honestly, it was magical. Karaoke starts at 9, though you’ll want to get there before 8:30 if you want to avoid the $10 cover because drinks are expensive (to me). They are strong though!

http://rplaceseattle.com/

8. RockBox – Capitol Hill

This is a traditional Japanese karaoke set-up, with private rooms of different sizes that you book in advance, but I have never booked a room, so I cannot speak to that experience. I much prefer to be on a stage with an audience of strangers, for free. Rooms are $7 per person per hour, $4 during happy hour (4-8 pm Mon-Thurs, 3-7 pm Fri, Sat, and all day Sun). It’s free to sing in the bar, so that’s what I do, but there is no stage. Most people hang around one wall, but I know all the words to “Love Song” without looking, so I like to impress people by walking around the packed bar and interacting with the crowd when I sing. One great thing about this place, however, is that you can check their song list on their website before you go and make sure they have what you want!

https://rockboxseattle.com/

7. The Crescent – Capitol Hill

I came here once about a year ago, with my friend Marissa, and boy, was it a long wait to sing, and then an even longer wait to sing again. I think we left before I could sing a second song. It was very crowded as well and there weren’t many places to sit down. Get your songs in early here! They do not have their own website that I could find, so I’m not sure if karaoke is every night, but it was definitely a Friday or Saturday when I went.

6. North Star Diner and Shanghai Room – Greenwood

North Star Diner is open 24 hours, sells your typical small-town diner fare, and shares an entrance with the Shangai Room (open noon-2 am), which is the perfect set-up in my opinion. Sing your heart out and follow it up with late-night waffles? Yes, please! They also have a new patio, which I have yet to check out. The Shanghai Room has plenty of places to sit and watch others sing, but you have to get there EARLY! I got there probably half an hour before karaoke started to join a group of girls once, and there were no seats left at all. I ended up hanging out by the arcade games closest to the stage until a booth opened up and I sat with my other friends who showed up later. The stage can only be seen well from half of the bar, but I remember the sound quality being pretty good. Karaoke starts at 9 pm everyday but Tuesday and Thursday.

http://northstardiner.com/

5. Marco Polo – Georgetown

I would rank this one closer to number one simply because the DJ will find any song you request if it’s not in the songbook and have it ready for you the next week, and the food is amazing. HOWEVER, I only went here because my CFO suggested it after our company holiday party, which was already in Georgetown. I live on the north edge of the city, so anything south of downtown is super out of my way. I also didn’t like how there was barely any room for you to be seen by the rest of the patrons when you sing, but I thought their sound system was really good. Perhaps I’ll visit here again sometime, if only to sing “Come Round Soon” by Sara Bareilles. Once I master the high note, that is.

http://www.marcopolopub.com/

4. Hula Hula – Capitol Hill

The stage at this Hawaiian-themed tiki-bar is set up in the corner of the lower portion of the room, so you can basically be seen by anyone in the bar when you’re on stage, which I love. The sound is great, and they have a high-tech song reservation system. However, this place is also very popular, so you’ll want to sign up for all the songs you want to sing at once, and as soon as you can.

http://hulahula.org/

3. Baranof – Greenwood

I have been to this kitschy, campy, nautical-themed bar a few times and have loved it every time. I’m such a sucker for a fun decor scheme even if everything else is under par. The room is divided in two by the bar itself, and they have served jello shots every time I’ve gone. However, I do not remember being impressed with the sound system, which does no favors to people who already don’t sound that great. I need that cushion of balanced sound quality and volume if I’m feeling nervous! Karaoke starts at 9 pm, and there is a sizable dance floor, so sing something people can get down to! They do not have their own website, so I’m not sure of the karaoke schedule, but it was most likely a Friday or Saturday that I came here.

2. The Rickshaw – Northwest Seattle

I came here once with some coworkers after a company-funded happy hour. We work downtown, so most of our group must have lived up north in order for us to decide on the Rickshaw, way up on 105th. They have awesome Chinese food, and karaoke is 9 pm – 2 am every night. The restaurant is divided in two sections by a thin wall, so karaoke is only visible from one side, but that’s okay. I rated this one so high because the food is amazing. I will definitely come back here if I’m coming from home, because that’s only a 15-minute bus ride for me!

http://www.therickshaw.net/

1. Ozzie’s – Queen Anne

I’m pretty sure I’ve only been here once or twice, but I remember being able to sing at least 2 songs, which is amazing considering how popular this place is. Karaoke is 9 pm to 1 am every single night! They have an actual stage, large dance floor, plenty of tables and chairs, great food menu, strong and delicious drinks, a lovely DJ, and a fantastic sound system. I came here with a group of girls from SWAF (Seattle Women’s Anti-Freeze, which I will totally blog about another day), and we had a blast cheering each other on. I will definitely be back here soon.

https://ozziesinseattle.com/

Where do you like to sing karaoke? Tell me in the comments!

Yellow Church Cafe – Ellensburg

This weekend, Kurt and I took a road trip to Soap Lake, WA for the wedding of two friends we had met shortly before we got married and left my college town of Ellensburg 5.5 years ago. It was a beautiful wedding at the bride’s childhood home, and a nice little reunion of people I had only seen a few times over the years. We took a 3-hour drive to get there on Saturday and stayed at my youngest brother’s girlfriend’s apartment in Ellensburg that night. On Sunday morning, we slept in while our hosts went to church and afterward, met my brother Silas and his girlfriend Jessie at a popular spot that we hadn’t visited since before we moved to the west side: Yellow Church Cafe.

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Made obvious by the name, the building housed a church for 40 years until 1967, when it passed through a variety of owners over the decades. In 1997, it became the cafe that it is today. Locals and college students alike pack the restaurant year-round for date nights, brunch with friends, and after-church lunches with family. Their signature Heavenly Loaf, a thick and soft bread with swirls of cheese and a light honey flavor, is the must-try item, though I’ve never been disappointed by anything else I’ve had there.

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Jessie and I had the tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich (with Heavenly Loaf for the bread) with tomato and bacon (technically classified as a melt by grilled cheese enthusiasts, but I digress). Kurt had a pulled pork sandwich and Silas had a “holy moly chicken sandwich”. I tried a bite of everything and it was all amazing. My own sandwich simply blew me away. You ever have a meal where, from the very first bite, you can’t even think about anything else because what you’re eating is so freaking good? This was that. Kurt loved the Heavenly Loaf so much that he ordered another slice of it for the table, and they gave it to us on the house! The service was rather little slow, but we didn’t mind because it was rodeo weekend in Ellensburg, and they ended up not charging us for any of our drinks either.

The best part was that the rest of the Heavenly Loaf and the other half of my sandwich that I saved were still good 2.5 hours later when Kurt and I returned to Seattle, reheated them in our smart oven, and watched an animated batman movie that he recommended while were talking about the wide world of comics in the car.

That was probably the best road trip we’ve ever been on. It was relaxing, fun, and positive. Kurt and I, if I can get transparent with you for a second, usually get on each others’ nerves when in the car for hours. I know we’re not alone in this. I also know that we can be better, especially since we were so much better this time. Not a single argument. We agreed before we left Seattle, “no fighting”, and by the time we were leaving Ellensburg on Sunday, I was looking at him like I used to, when we were first getting to know each other. Crying at weddings, spending time with old friends, laughing with family, and revisiting the place I was when we first fell in love will certainly do that. Listening to him tell me all about something he loves for the millionth time also helped. Now I want to read all the comic books he has, even though I still find the whole world of comics very daunting. So many alternate universes! Wish me luck that I’ll actually stick to it.

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Outlier Review

Lately, I’ve been dealing with the typical millennial fears: Will I ever be able to afford to buy a house or have children? Will I ever use my degree in the way that I want? Will I ever have a best friend who also calls me their best friend and isn’t long-distance?  I feel like a lot of people my age (and many people in general!) have these fears, but it doesn’t stop me from feeling like I’m failing as an adult just for dealing with them in the first place. I know that all I can do is try to focus on fixing the things I have control over, accept the things I can’t change, and instead revel in the little things that make me happy. One of these happy moments is when a friend who couldn’t make it to my birthday party last minute because she was sick offered to buy me a drink to make up for it within the week. So many people bailed, but very few people did that, and it meant a lot to me.

We met at a swanky bar on 4th and Spring called Outlier. She had been wanting to check it out, and – you know me – I am always down for something new.

I arrived first, ordered a Manhattan and some oysters, and took in the decor. It was a dark, tall-ceilinged place with different levels of floor and a very friendly and confident staff who clearly hung out as friends after work. The fresh herbs for drink garnishes planted in copper vases made me feel like this was a place that wanted to be close to the earth, at once modern and not too pretentious. The font on the menus reminded me of The Great Gatsby.

Drinking whiskey and eating oysters (which I swear I thought I took a picture of) made me feel like an adult, and the patrons and staff treating me like one sure helped too. After a moment of really needing a mental health day that resulted in leaving work early last Monday, I’ll take all the validation that I can get.

The ceiling changed heights halfway through the bar, divided by a wrap-around mural of exaggerated and meshed-together faces that looked like chalk on a blackboard. I never feel comfortable in bars or restaurants without some kind of art on the walls, because I like to have something interesting to look at if everything else fails me. That’s the risk you take when meeting new people at new places. The food could be mediocre and overpriced, the conversation could be dry and stilted, but at least there’s art. And I’ve seen so many examples of creative decor decisions in this city that I actually feel like I’m not in Seattle anymore if the walls are boring.

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When my friend arrived, we ordered a plate of large and crispy potato chips, which fit well with the smooth and creamy dip that tasted slightly of cucumbers and anise, though there was not enough of it for the all the chips we got.

We chatted about work, dream jobs, eateries we’d been to, and what friendship and being part of a group means or should look like. Typical young adult struggles. We were still hungry after the chips, but trying not to spend too much or fill up, since she had dinner plans afterward, so we shared an order of avocado toast, which blew us away with how extra it was. Fava beans, pecorino, truffle oil, and mint? Come on! The bread crust was a little hard to bite into, but all of the flavors once you got past the edge were surprising and delicious. I felt very healthy and and “bougie.”

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Before the toast came, I ordered another cocktail, which I don’t even remember the name of, but it was refreshing and delicious.

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Looking back, this is definitely a place I would recommend anyone go. Their happy hour is 2-5 pm though, so bear that in mind. Lucky for me, I only work til 4:30 and it’s less than a 10-minute walk from my office, so I can still get those deals, but I know not everyone can do that.  The prices are not what I’d spend every week, at least after 5 pm, but I think the classy decor and atmosphere, the hooks under the bar for your purse, the delicious options on the menu, and the quick and friendly service absolutely make it worth it.

  • Manhattan: $6
  • 3 Oysters: $6
  • Chips and dip for 2 people: $5
  • Avocado toast for 2 people: $14
  • Mystery cocktail: $12

Positives

Having a bad day today, so I’m going to list everything good in my life.

  1. I make enough to pay all my bills.
  2. I have a roof over my head.
  3. My job is not that hard.
  4. I am relatively healthy.
  5. I’ve made it to 28.
  6. Several friends came to my birthday party and it was a good time.
  7. I am allowed to listen to music in my earbuds at work, which is saving my sanity, honestly.
  8. I should be completely debt-free in 7 years.
  9. I am hanging out with Kurt after work today.
  10. I have a plans with a different friend almost everyday this week.
  11. I live in a city with a huge and diverse music, dancing, and theatre scene, with friends to support in all three.
  12. I can easily get to work on the bus.
  13. Our temporary housemate is clean and quiet.
  14. My cat is healthy and happy and doesn’t unexpectedly pee on things.
  15. I have a fairly good relationship with my family.
  16. I have a friend’s wedding to look forward to on 9/1.
  17. I have a cousin’s wedding to look forward to on 10/5.
  18. I’ll get to see my family at my cousin’s wedding and probably sooner.
  19. My husband is a hard worker, and he is kind to me and loves me.
  20. When I tell people about the novels I’m working on, they always say they sound cool and they would read them.
  21. I have a cheap gym I can go to if I choose.
  22. Our apartment isn’t burning up when we close the windows to escape the smoke.
  23. I finally started reading “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed and it’s really good so far.
  24. I’ve been discovering lots of cool music lately
  25. I recorded some vocals for a new friend’s song recently, which has always been a dream of mine.
  26. I don’t have any food allergies or intolerances.
  27. I live in a city with an abundance of amazing places to eat, and I make enough money that, though I shouldn’t eat out all the time, I can go out occasionally and not break the bank.
  28. I know the good places to find cute things at thrift stores, like a $6 Kenneth Cole swimsuit ($107 new) at Lifelong on Capitol Hill.
  29. I almost always have social plans on the weekend.
  30. While my mental struggles are annoying, they are not debilliating to the point of not being able to work. For now.
  31. When I’m off work, I’m off work. I never have to stay past my scheduled time.

A Life Update No One Asked For

Since my last post:

  1. I quit going to the Tuesday trivia nights that I had been attending for over year due to some conflict that ended with me extricating myself from the group I always went with. That was a blow to my social life, but I think it was ultimately for the best.
  2. I started being more active in a Facebook group I joined called Seattle Women’s Anti-Freeze (SWAF). A girl from California started this group after moving to Seattle with the sole purpose of connecting women, mostly recent transplants, and making new friends. I’ve made a few friends through that.
  3. I’m still at SCI Solutions, but I am now obtaining authorizations instead of just verifying patient eligibility. It has its own stresses but is a little more interesting.
  4. Kurt and I are still in the same apartment in north Seattle (not Northgate and not Shoreline either), and have cycled through a few roommates. Now we have our friend Kelsey living with us temporarily while she works on affording a more permanent place. We are thinking about where our next place will be, since we are tired of paying for laundry and I really want a place I can host blues dance parties (I need hardwood floors).
  5. I forget if I ever mentioned that our old roommate Hunter adopted a very timid 6-year-old black cat shortly before moving back to Utah and then was unable to take the cat with him. We kept her instead of taking her back to the shelter, and now she is the sweetest, most loving cat that will NOT let you pick her up. Her name is Kit-Kat.kit kat
  6. I have gotten way more into portrait and fashion photography and modeling in the last few years. Most of my models have been girls from SWAF. I post my favorites from every shoot, whether I’m behind or in front of the camera on Instagram, so follow me there if you want to see my work. (@ameliaormia)jaymodeling
  7. I have been to see two different therapists since deciding I needed that in my life, but am not seeing anyone currently. I felt like talk therapy was doing nothing for me after a while. I’m working on finding a psychiatrist who can diagnosis me with something and maybe prescribe some medication. I just felt really silly paying $180 a month for someone to validate my feelings. I can do that myself!
  8. I have learned a lot about friendships and how you can’t force them. I feel like I am most often the instigator in social plans and so infrequently the person who is thought to be included when my friends (who will hang out with me if I invite them) are making their own plans with friends. I feel like it wasn’t like that in high school. It started in college, I think, but it doesn’t seem to matter who my friends are. It keeps happening. Maybe this is a sign that I am putting too much of my self-worth into who wants me around and I need to be try harder to be happy by myself. I don’t know.
  9. I have made no headway in becoming a freelance writer/editor, though I did make business cards. Every time I look at job listings for writers–and they are out there– I get overwhelmed and immediately feel like there is no point in applying because any writing samples I have are from five years ago, in college. I have gone so long without doing anything in my field that I feel like a joke. Maybe the time is coming for me to accept that a job in my field is not for me. I’m just going to work in healthcare office jobs forever (which I never dreamed I’d get into, but here I am) and blog on the side, occasionally shooting a LinkedIn photo for a friend, disappearing into the ether as another name that will be forgotten soon after I die.
  10. The summers have gotten hotter. And by hot I mean a record-setting 10 days with highs in the 90’s this year. I know, I know, blah blah, the midwest is hotter, whatever. When you’re used to more mild weather and haven’t grown up with such extreme temperatures or weather patterns, 90 is hot, okay? On top of that, every year, around this time, wildfires rage in Canada, Oregon, and California, and I feel like they are getting worse every year, especially recently. Ash hangs in the air and the sun glows a hazy red. Normally, on a clear day, I can see the space needle against a blue sky from my desk at work, but not lately. Lately, we are in a snow-globe (ash-globe?) of white or gray. Air quality is dangerous to sensitive folks, and even I am hesitant to spend all day at the beach on Saturday, but that is what I have planned for my birthday and supposedly over 30 people are coming. We’ll see what happens.

Taco Tuesdays: Buckley’s in Belltown

Buckley’s has become a tradition for my friend group in the last few months. We go here for Geeks Who Drink free trivia every Tuesday. We used to go to Leny’s Place near Green Lake, but several of our team moved to Belltown/Queen Anne, one of us moved to Kansas, and two of us work downtown, so Belltown ended up being most convenient for most of us. And they have really good tacos! There are a bunch of fillings to choose from, but I have been sticking to grilled shrimp, because everything else is just too spicy for me (judge away; I don’t care). They actually grill the tortillas, which are nice and thick and toasty, just the way I like them. Tacos are 2/$6 every Tuesday, all day and night (though I hear it’s not the best deal in town and I intend to find these cheaper but just as delicious tacos very soon). They also have really good fries: Soft, golden, sturdy, crispy, and flavorful. I’ve never had their burgers, but I have smelled them when Kurt and Neil have ordered one, and they smell divine.

While Buckley’s is very much a sport’s bar at its heart, the noise level is never that bad. You can hear each other talk and you can hear the announcer ask questions at trivia. There are TVs everywhere playing different games, but the sound is never on. The bar just plays just classic rock. After trivia is over, they switch to more modern, louder music. Usually top 40 hits. We don’t stay after though. Most of us have to get up early for work. I have to bus half an hour to get home most of the time. I’d be curious to see how different the atmosphere is during actual happy hour (we get there around 6:45 and leave around 9:30) or later on a weekend.

But my favorite part about Buckley’s is the service. We always have the same server, Lauren, who always greets us with a smile and is very quick to bring us menus, remembers our usual orders, and checks in the appropriate amount of times though she is so busy with several tables. I look forward to seeing her every week almost as much as seeing my friends. So, go check out Buckley’s if you love tacos, and then recommend me my next taco place to try!

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Grilled shrimp tacos with plenty of pico de gallo and special (Chipotle?) sauce
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Pitchers are $14, and at about 4 glasses a pitcher, that’s pretty good. My new favorite beer is Guinness, by the way. So smooth!
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Look at all those flags!
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Do these not look like the most perfect fries you’ve ever seen?

 

Full acclimation

It’s always fascinating to me how quickly humans tend to acclimate to new situations. One that I’m always mentioning is the acclimation to a new climate. In Seattle, we have a mild climate, thanks to moderation from the Puget Sound. In an average year, the highest temperature is 64°F and the coldest is 41°F. This year has not been average. However, our highest temperatures this summer still did not compare to what people living in say, the midwest, or even on the other side the Cascade Mountain Range, experience every year. But when if you live here for even a few years, you get used to it. You forget what 90 degrees in your small hometown felt like every year of your life, and suddenly you are wishing fall were here again when you’ve had a week straight of low-80s! Or you’re waiting at a bus stop on a rare 32 degree day, bracing yourself against a biting breeze, apparently with no memory of waiting for the school bus in 10 degrees and a foot of snow for four years. You’ve acclimated. I acclimated very quickly. Just a few weeks ago, I took a quick road trip to Yakima for my cousin’s bridal shower and was not expecting the stifling heat of 92! I have been spoiled by this city.

Another thing I have found myself acclimating to (and the point of this post) is drinking less. Oh yes, we are being transparent and we are hitting hard. I realized last week that I was drinking too often and too much, so I’ve decided to cut back. It hit me while I was lying on the couch on Thursday, knowing I had to get up and shower and go to bed, but my mind was racing with anxiety. Wondering why I was anxious about nothing made me feel depressed, and I asked Kurt what was wrong with me. He asked me, “Well when was the last time you didn’t have a drink all day?” I thought about it. About a week. I also realized the only reason I hadn’t had a drink that night was probably because we ran out of alcohol in the house the day before and I didn’t have any plans with friends.

You see, when you can afford to go out whenever a friend wants to, and most of your social engagements involve drinking, and there’s hardly anyone around you who isn’t, and you have a bunch of bottles that just happened to go home with you after your birthday party at the beach, it’s really easy to just… go a whole week and drink everyday. Not get drunk, just have a drink. Usually one. But the previous Friday, I’d had too much. Like not even subjectively too much. Like absolutely too much. I don’t enjoy missing part of a night and having someone tell me how it went the next morning.

I’m not glorifying this. It was stupid, I know. It scared me. I won’t pretend it was the first time that’s happened, but lying on the couch a week later, realizing that I’d had a drink everyday since that night and then felt anxious without it, I realized I needed to make a change. At first, I was like, “Why? It’s not like it’s affecting my life that much. It was just one blurry night.” But then I started thinking about all the good things that would come out of just cutting back. My friends have all been supportive and have helped me stay the course and see the benefits as well: It’s better for my health. I’ll lose weight. I’ll save money. My tolerance will go down, which will be more cost-effective and make me want to drink less anyway. And it’s already working. I am amazed at how quickly my tolerance has changed. In the last 9 days, I have had a total of 5 drinks. My goal was 3 a week, if any, Sunday to Saturday. This week, I had 4, but nobody’s perfect.

I did learn that there are certain bars where I should definitely only get one, like the place where I met a friend for happy hour yesterday. They make them so strong! After leaving, I realized I had a buzz I normally felt after 4 drinks. Probably because those were both doubles, but on Monday and Wednesday, when I only had one drink all day, I did feel like they were having more of an effect than one drink normally would on me. And it’s only been a week. I’m actually pleasantly surprised by how easy this is. The Sunday after my first party where I consciously decided “only one drink tonight” was miserable. I hated my decision. I wanted to go back. But I have so many friends who are supporting me and have been through this before. I have friends who have quit completely, but I feel like that would be too stressful for me right now. Maybe I will in the future, but right now, 3 a week is already so much better than I was doing, and I am already feeling the effects. I’m glad I’m doing this. I am looking forward to feeling more awake and alert, enjoying the company of my friends without getting wasted, fitting into my favorite skinny jeans comfortably, and putting my money toward more worthwhile things. I look forward to full acclimation.