Category Archives: Food and Drink

Beginnings long overdue

It’s been a while. 

I’ve been away. Thinking. Getting counselling. Reading books and columns by authors on topica around growth, development, change, behaviour, abuse, parenting, bravery, and shame. 

Lots of reading. Trying to reevaluate my priorities and needs while I have the luxury (of time) to do so.

These last four months have been perhaps some of the best four months in the last decade of my life, because they’ve granted me the time and space to pause, reflect, and think. To engage in the Socratic method. And the entire time I’ve been supported emotionally and socially by my amazing partner. 

A few months ago I started a sub-diary here, taxonomically speaking, to monitor my alcohol intake. Unlike my daily beard photo (see my instagram feed for more on this), the amount of time and energy required to produce a daily update was more than I could commit to.

But it also raised a point of concern somewhere in the dusty halls of my brain: if I have to keep a daily written log of my alcohol intake, surely that can’t be a good sign?

And I don’t think it was. But it led to a good outcome. But before I explain further, we need to time travel nine years into the past. 

Yes, nine.

A little under a decade ago I received my MA in Communication/Publishing/Some Wierd Mishmash of Stuff from the University of Sydney. 

Upon doing so, I found myself applying for a random TAFE course, and subsequently a graduate diploma in Business Management at the now defuncy Sydney Business Institute. 

During this time I met a woman who I began dating and (depending on who you ask based on acceptence of traditions) became engaged to. (In Russia an engagement ring and its associated baggage is not the standard approach; rather – two people simply agree to get married.)

The relationship ultimately broke down, due to me finally leaving my partner, due to her verbally and emotionally abusive behaviour (though at the time I would not have known to call it that, and would have simply called her “controlling”).

This had some very severe and long-lasting repercussions on my overall well-being. This includes a drinking habit that, while by no means is severe, is consistent. 

I wasn’t the biggest drinker before meeting my (now) ex. Certainly, as someone who had spent nearly a decade in the univetsity system, I was accustomed to the parties and alcohol consumption that went with them. 

But never would I have called my intake consistent. 


In the aftermath of the relationship’s collapse and the six months of legal insanity that followed (which I will never understand), I went on something of a small bender. 

Eventually, in the wake of an excellent level of therapy from a terrific psychologist, my anxieties and depression calmed and I no longer found myself self-medicating. 


I still enjoyed a good “tipple” as they say here in Kangaroostan. And hardly a day has passed since then when I have not had at least *a* drink. As one friend pointed out: she did not know anyone else who was such a consistent drinker.

Time travelling back to now – the last four months have provided the time and space necessary to look back on the past, think about the present, and wonder about the future.

We’d like to start a family. Buy a place somewhere. Have enough room for all our books and computers and toys. And to raise kids that we hope to try and have be good humans requires us to first and foremost be the kind of people that we feel comfortable having our kids learn from. 

Also: I am on a pretty serious dosage of anti-depressants (75mg of Cymbalta per day). And alcohol can obviously interfere with the effectivity of anti-depressants. 

Therefore, barring a particular special occasion now and then, we’ve decided it is best to cut my consumption of alcohol down to zero.  

As we have identified that my depression and anxiety were genetically inherited from my mother, the sanest and most intelligent approach, in light of all these factors and issues, is to simply bring alcohol consumption to a complete halt (barring, as I mentioned, special occasions). 

And you know what?

I like it. This decision feels *right*. 

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Filed under Drinking habits, Food and Drink, Mental health, Telling stories, Where We Are

The Reduced Drink Experience: Day Eight

A rainy day. Dreary, in a pleasant, relaxing way.

Ended up driving down to Brighton Le Sands and then the northern part of The Shire (Caringbah) for no reason in particular, whilst listening to The Counting Crows. I figure it was a form of meditation on what I was due to write on in my diary today, as well as to simply enjoy the freedom of not being constrained to a desk and job that made me absolutely miserable, and learning to enjoy life again – or at least continuing to learn how to enjoy life again.

Returned home and read for a bit – am trying to finish ‘Dust of Dreams’ – Steven Erikson’s ninth  – and penultimate – Malazan novel. Following a few hours of reading, I began cooking dinner for a friend who was visiting to announce some excellent and totally smile-inducing news (she quit her job, which, like my previous job, made her miserable, for impressively similar reasons).

Managed to cook some fish, rice (with a bit of spice sprinkled into it), and some steamed vegetables smeared in pesto. We enjoyed them with a six pack of XXXX. Had three myself over the course of the evening, before returning to my desk to focus on my homework for my psychologist and write up the events of the preceding days.

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Filed under Drinking habits, Food and Drink, My hilarious friends, My relentlessly fascinating life

The Reduced Drink Experience: Day Seven


A busy day. An educational day.

Following a stop-in at my local cafe for a cappuccino, I wound my way to Ashfield, to help a friend take care of her 18 month old son (she’d had an operation involving the appendix leaking a bit like a mostly ok but not quite perfect kitchen faucet where the nobs never seem to be tight enough).

I learned a bit about baby poo – which, when it involves diapers, really looks like an accident was perpetrated against a chocolate cake that involved collapsing knees, gravity, and a severe lack of pants.

Following several wonderful hours of taking care of the most adorable 18 month old baby I have ever met, I hightailed it for the city, for trivia training. See, I’m training to become a trivia host. Stuff working in finance – being a trivia host is just a billion times most interesting and rewarding (isn’t hyperbole just the best thing ever?).

Following my bit of the show, I took the time to sit and enjoy a pint of cider with a Russian guy that the host introduced me to. A Russian who grew up in the same city as my father.

And attended the same university as my father.

And studied in the same faculty as my father.

And in all likelihood, probably knows my father.

We spent a bit of time chatting after trivia wrapped up. A pint of cider was followed by a pint of Kosciuszko beer, followed later by one final schooner of Coopers before heading home. (I paced myself, fret not!)

What a tremendously weird and awesome experience though, to meet someone that’s a quarter of a degree removed from my father. And who’s also a Frank Herbert fan too!

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Filed under Drinking habits, Food and Drink, My relentlessly fascinating life, Ruminations and Musings, Telling stories

The Reduced Drink Experience: Day Six

Date day!

I love date day!

We started with brunch at a cafe, moved to a doggy park to let the pups run around off-lead and play with other pups, then visited Galaxy to say hello to the lovely staff there and pick up a few books to add to our ever-expanding library (we have a beautiful library).

On our way back, we popped into a store called ‘Howards’ (if I am not mistaken) to purchase some kitchen and houseware, including a shaving mirror with x5 magnification, to help me better take care of my beard.

Having finished off this domestic task, we popped by home, dropped off and crated the pups, and left for Strathfield, to meet some friends for dinner (Korean BBQ – omnom!). Because we once again found ourselves out with friends, I allowed myself to indulge in two James Boags with dinner (a million billion tonnes of pork, beef, and chicken).

Jade of course drove home, as the food coma that followed dinner left me unable to function properly. Compounded by the pain in my quads from Friday’s workout at the gym, and I was in no shape to drive. Which was just fine by me!

It was a good date day though. Really good.

I love having date days with Jade.











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The Reduced Drink Experience: Day Four

Despite having:

Worked out at the gym for an hour;

Been on my feet for four hours at a volunteer job; and

Walked home (~3k) from aformentioned volunteer gig;

No pit stops at the pub were made. Even though it’s a Friday! That’s some crazy self-restraint, eh?

Tomorrow I’m having a pub lunch with friends. I may indulge in a pint. And then make up for it with a few workouts at home after the matter.

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The Reduced Drink Experience: Day 3

Trivia night! 

We came in second place, and because I had a light breakfast and skipped lunch, I had enough free unused calories to order a sumptuous steak and salad. 

And, okay, I had a pint of cider. But as we were out at a show, and with the host’s parents, it was a total, 100% Social Engagement. 

So Jade said a cider was okay. 

Curiously enough, I did have a craving after the matter, as were leaving, to get cider for home, which – obviously – is a bad idea. So we didn’t.

Walking from The Rocks to Townhall, we kept count of our speed and distance walked to determine how many calories we burned, because, hey, it’s worth doing so! 

Tomorrow’s Friday, and we have no social engagements, and it’s also Gym Day (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday are Gym Days), so no grog. 

This is still, I figure, an improvement over the last five weeks since leaving my job, where cider was a regular, daily part of my days (well, nights, really).

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