Category Archives: Football

And Not a Drop to Drink

This weekend was the first real test of my Abstinence Month.  Full of social evenings from Thursday through Sunday, I had four days in a row where having a cocktail or a beer would be typical behavior for me.  From ‘drinks’ out with a grad school friend, to live music in a bar, to a wine-tasting art school fund raiser, to Super Bowl Sunday, I had many opportunities to explain my 2011 approach to resolutions in general and my February plan in particular.

I’m happy to report that I did not have a drink all weekend, nor did I have any difficulty abstaining.  I admit that there were a few moments when I thought “gee, it’d be nice to have a drink right now” but they passed quickly.  Of course I think I was as charming and entertaining as usual, but you’ll have to ask around to hear if others agree.

Here are some observations I made this weekend:

* People react much differently to “I’m not drinking this month” than they do to “I’m driving.”
When I decline a drink because I am a designated driver, everyone I know consistently says “good for you” and that is that.  As I declined drinks this weekend, however, people initially wanted more explanation, and then consistently tried to convince me to abandon my resolution or pick a different month. It was all in good fun, of course, but it was fascinating to experience ‘peer pressure’ since (a) I’m over 40 and (b) so were they.

* I made much more responsible food choices, sort of.
There were no late-night nachos this weekend.  Also, no late-night hot-dogs with cheese, no latenight Twix bars, and no late-night chocolate cake.  In fact, there was no late-night food.  That being said, the lack of beer during the Super Bowl party did not keep me from being responsible for the demolition of at least 1/4 of a party-serving of awesome chili/nacho/cheese dip.  Thanks  a lot Leslie.

* There needs to be better alcohol-free choices at bars and restaurants.
I have had more water and seltzer with lime over the past three days than I care to discuss.  For fun, sometimes I asked for a splash of cranberry juice!  CRAZY!  I would definitely like to think of some better non-alcohol options, for variety if nothing else.

Did my abstinence change much about my weekend?  Not really.

I still went out and about – quite a lot actually.  I still got up at about the same time, did about the same amount of chores and school-work that I would normally do, and went to the gym once (sadly, typical) over the two days.  I did notice that I woke up with headaches on the mornings when I’d been up past midnight the night before.  

Apparently, part of the reason I might wind up with a headache on a Saturday morning is because I haven’t gotten enough sleep. Oh right, and I’m 41.   (It certainly wasn’t because I was dehydrated.)

If I’m honest about it, I admit that I also went home a bit earlier than I might have otherwise, but leaving a college-bar at 11:45 is a good idea anyway.  Between 11 and midnight the average age in a college  bar goes from 30 to 21 and the average length of a skirt goes from 24 inches to, oh, seven.   Drinks or not, it was time to leave.

The highlight of my weekend might have been meeting up again with George, the friend who inspired my February resolution to begin with.   Alas, he was rooting for the Packers, but we toasted each other throughout the evening with our Pelligrinos anyway.

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Filed under Alcohol, Food, Football, Resolutions

Pound for Pound

When I decided to take the month of February off from alcohol, I knew there would be some days or events where I’d miss it more than others.  Super Bowl Sunday.  My favorite local band, Reverend Blue Jeans, playing on a Saturday night.  Seriously.  Football and Beer.  Rock  Music and Beer.  These things were made for each other.

I don’t think I was prepared for how much I might miss a nice glass of wine on a Tuesday night.

It’s true that I enjoy a glass of wine while cooking, or perhaps while I am relaxing after the meal as I linger at the table with a good friend in deep (or not so deep) conversation.  And so it was, two nights ago, I was sitting at the table after a lovely dinner.  I missed my glass of red wine.

What did I do instead of lingering over that glass of wine?

I made a pound cake.

(Note, the reason that pound cakes are called pound cakes is because the original recipe calls for a pound of sugar, a pound of butter, and a pound of flour.   This is not a low-calorie dessert).

While I didn’t embark on this resolution with losing weight in mind, I admit I have been curious about what the elimination of empty alcohol calories would do to my body.  Would I lose weight?

According to the USDA Calorie Counter, five ounces of red table wine has 125 calories in it and one slice of pound cake has 163 calories.   In the interest of full disclosure I should say that this recipe was from my favorite dessert book: Rosie’s Bakery: All Butter, Fresh Cream, Suger Packed, No-Holds-Barred Baking Book.  One slice of Rosie’s pound cake probably has more calories than your average pound cake recipe.

Even if I assume that the USDA estimation of pound cake calories is correct, I am already better off drinking the wine calorie-wise.  Then we add in the fact that red wine, in moderation, is supposed to be good for my heart while butter and cream cheese (yes, gilding the lily a bit, but hey, I do what Rosie tells me to do) are most certainly not good for my heart.  It’s possible we should also consider the fact that even though I give most servings of my late-night baking treats away after I make them, it is possible I ate pound cake for breakfast the next morning.

So, either I should abandon all thoughts about losing weight during my period of self-inflicted abstinence or I should amend my resolution to no-alcohol and no-late-night-baking.

This is a tough decision.  I think I’ll take some time to ponder this over a cup of tea.

And perhaps a slice of pound cake.

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Filed under Food, Football, Resolutions

February is Short for a Reason

A few years ago, I was at my brother’s house for the weekly Sunday Dinner he and his wife share with a group of close friends.  Don’t get confused by the “Sunday” part of this activity – it’s a cocktail party that moves from house to house every week with a full bar and fabulous food (we grew up as Episcopalians, after all).  Anyway, I was talking with one of his friends who wasn’t having a cocktail.  Because that’s unusual among the Sunday Dinner crowd, I asked about it.  And he said, “It’s February.”

He went on to explain that every year he stops drinking for one month, and February is it.

Why February?

“It’s the shortest one.”

Of course.

When pressed for details he explained that the month off was helpful for getting on a healthy track after the indulgent holidays.  Also that he figured if he couldn’t stop drinking for one month a year, he shouldn’t be drinking at all.   Smart idea all around, I thought.  But I’ve never done it.

Why not?

Well, I learned about this in my post-divorce phase of ‘wow, I can have a life and make new friends’ which came after the ‘holy crap I don’t want to see anyone or talk to anyone or go anywhere’ phase.  I was still nervous about being single for the first time in eighteen years and I wasn’t about to give up my courage-juice.    But it’s been years since my divorce.  I’m happily single, enjoying my life, and feel totally comfortable going out with or without a drink to start my evening.

So there it is.  Welcome to the No-Drink-February!

Those who know I am a Steelers fan may be skeptical about my ability to abstain while watching my favorite team in the SUPER BOWL.  But I’m determined.  Plus, I figure this can’t hurt with the whole ‘finish your thesis’ part of my life right? (that’s for you Joe).

Can I do it?  What do you think?

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Filed under Family, Food, Football, Resolutions