Archive for the ‘Me’ Category

+2 for Ego!

It’s wonderful how the little decisions can impact your life.  Back in April I joined a Winemakers Club in Janesville (Milton), WI.  I’m pretty new to making wine – but have been home brewing beer for 4 years.

Being a member of the club has been a wonderful experience and I’ve learned a lot.  Most importantly – my wine doesn’t suck as bad as I thought!  Seriously – While most of the other’s wines have been deliciou – I’ve tried some other home vintner’s wine that tasted like they fermented dirt!

Low and behold – everyone in the club know’s I’m more of a home brewer than a home wine maker.  Hey, I’m still young (and poor) enough to realize that a quality micro-brew 6-pack is still cheaper & will last me longer (by at least an hour ;D) than any “comprable” bottle of wine.  So I drink beer more often than wine.

Moving this post along…

One of the members of the wine club (Dan D.) was contacted by the local newpaper about doing an article on people who brew their own beer.  Since Dan only makes wine – he passed along my contact information…. and that’s how this lucky homebrewer scored a newspaper interview!

Talk about an up-swing in motivation.  With a pending interview I realized what had just happened.  I was the interviewee – the expert per se. You know – so I had to practice brewing to make sure I get all the steps right in the interview.  And to practice – I had to make multiple batches of beer!  And to save money making multiple batches of beer – I had to buy grain in bulk!  And if I was gonna buy grain in bulk – I had to have a Barley Crusher!  (Hey, the logic worked on my wife ok)

Bingo!  A home brewery upgrade!  +1 to Ego!

I purchased the Barley Crusher online for crushing my (bulk order) grain when it was needed.  I also purchased a digital thermometer to make sure my mash water was correct.  And I had to purchase a digital scale for weighing out the grain….. logical of course.

In all – I brewed 3 times in 2 weekends.  Well actually 4 times.  The first batch had such strong wort runoff – that I had enough wort left over to make a second “weaker” style beer.  And trust me – the first batch has reached an ABV of about 10%!!

The Interview…

For the interview I brewed a Belgian Pale Ale beer.  It was great.  I had the grains mashing when the reporter and photographer arrived.  They took pictures and I answered questions…. you know… like an interview would go.

About a month later – when the Belgian Pale Ale was finally carbonated – I was contacted by Shelly Birkelo, the reporter and told the story was going to run the next day.  No doubt I was excited – I’ve been in the paper before – but for speeding tickets and such.  I was actually going to be in the newspaper for home brewing!!  What an honor and priviledge!

+1 more for EGO!

The next day – when I went to purchase the newspaper – there I was, larger than life on the FRONT PAGE!!  My interview was the feature article of the newspaper!

You can read the full article here on my website.

A big, big thank you goes out to Shelly Birkelo – the reporter for the Janesville Gazette who interviewed me.  Simply being interviewed about home brewing was beyond anything I’ve ever imagined – and her article has opened many new lines of communication between me and other home brewers in the area.  Thank you so very much Shelly!

New Members In My Family

Life just isn’t complete without a dog! This statement is more true than most of you will probably believe. In Early March, Krista and I set out to find ourselves a new dog.

Our original intentions were of grabbing up a Lab of some sort. We went to the Rock County Humane Society to interact with a few. Well, labs are known for their energy and willingness to run, and it showed. We took two different dogs out to play in the fenced in yard and both were more interested in running around and had no interest in us what so ever. Not what you want, a dog to take outside in the country and watch him run away like in Funny Farm with Chevy Chase. (I recommend this film!)

At anyrate, Krista wanted to take out this little female Pit Bull mix. With original hesitation I said OK. She was adorable, and I couldn’t help but only say “We’ll take her!” So Racha (as in “La cuca racha”) has become a member of our family.

I know a lot of you are saying “A PIT BULL!?!?! DON’T YOU WANT TO HAVE KIDS SOME DAY??” And my only reply is, bad dogs are bad dogs. Every dog is that, a DOG first. Bad Pit Bulls come from bad owners!

We had Easter with our entire family at our new house. We had 11 children there all under the age of 10. There were 3 babies uner 8 months of age!! Racha was the most calm, gentle, and loving dog. No jumping on the guest and VERY gentle around the babies. Not bad for a puppy around 6 months!!!

Well, Krista won our “bowling bet” of getting 6 strikes in a game – so I owed her a dog! (We made the bet about 2 months before we got Racha, and kept the bet alive. I didn’t think she’d get 6 strikes).

That being said, we check out many dogs between the Dane County Humane society and the Green County Humane Society. While all have wonderful dogs, we ended up going with a handsome 4 – 5 month old Border Collie!. He is also very gently, and unlike most of the dogs, wasn’t overly pushy when it came time to meet another dog. We picked him up yesterday (April 22, 2007).

We call him Remo (ree-mo) but I’m not sure how we spell it… Guess it really doesn’t matter, he’ll never spell his name! But his name was Primo at the humane society, so we dropped the “P”, so it could be “Rimo”, you’ll have to ask the boss, Krista.

So that’s life currently in the new Walker household. 2 puppies under 7 months! But it’s great!

As a side note: If you’re looking at adopting a pet, please check out the humane society’s first. They do have wonderful dogs that need loving homes. And if you feel you’d like to donate, my suggestion would be Green County. The appear to have the least amount of funds available to them, and it shows in their building. It’s small and downright old. THEY NEED IMPROVEMENT!! So if anyone with some money to donate, or knows anyone with extra money (7 people from Kevin Bacon!) please donate that way or to other shelters like that. Dane County has a wonderful building thanks to a $10 MILLION annonymous donation. The nice facility helps reflect on the personnel and animals!

New Habits I've formed

There are many habits that contribute both positively and negatively to your weight and overall well being. Here’s a few I’ve adapted that have really helped me.

1. I generally walk between 3-5 miles,approximately 5 times a week. This one is easy. Get a dog. Ceasar Milan – AKA the Dog Whisperer – says the key to good dogs is exercise! A dog that is pooped out is ready to be obedient! We also generally walk after dinner, a little longer than the morning because we’re not on a time crunch.

The wife and I are up at 6 A.M. and walking the dog for about an hour almost every day. Even weekends. Before we got a dog, we’d be lucky to be up by 7:15 to leave for work at 8 A.M. It’s a lifestyle change that we both enjoy.

2. I don’t eat out for lunch at work anymore. Well not never, but definitely not everyday like I used to! I take a salad to work everyday and eat at work. Yeah, sometimes you need a break, then take your salad to the park! Just don’t eat that 2 cheeseburger meal, even if it is a good deal. It adds up – in pant sizes and weight scale gasps! Plus, I actually look forward to having tuna fish on my salad… just my quirk.

3. Drink Water – Well, sometimes I don’t always do this, but it sure helps, especially during the diet. I tend to chug a whole liter bottle of water (filled from home) with lunch. It won’t fill me up right away, but within 10 minutes, I forget I’m hungry…. which is also why I eat at work… easier to forget I’m hungry!

4. No TV!!! – That’s right. I don’t have cable. To cheap to want to pay $100 a month to sit and be lazy. Find a hobby! Looking forward to yard work this summer/spring at my new house… beginning backyard astronomy… soccer with the dog… shoot hoops, going for a walk with my wife and dog. Granted they’re not the most flashy things, but I enjoy them.

5. Eat a breakfast. Just to get something in my stomach so I’m not so ravenous at lunch time. Whether it’s a piece of toast and a hard boiled egg, or scrambled eggs with cheese…. just eat SOMETHING.

What I am learning is it’s finding something enjoyable to bide your time in, and if it makes you think or you can share it with someone it makes it even more worthwhile. It helps change your perspective on things… not trying to sound high and mighty… just what I’m learning that works for me.