Tag Archives: beer

Colder than a witch’s tits in a brass brassiere

Greetings from the frigid mountain region located somewhere in the middle part of the country!

Yesterday, I spent much of the day trying to get here (here is Breckenridge, Colorado). It was quite the adventure! The beer guy and I got to the airport about  an hour before our scheduled flight time of 10:45. A couple of minutes before we arrived, I got a text that our flight was delayed by an hour. This meant that we would have <20 minutes to make our connection in Salt Lake City.

By the time we got into the airport, we couldn’t even check in at the kiosk because the flight was late enough that there was no way to make the connection and we needed to rebook. What made that extra exciting is that we were a party of five. (But not like the show. Probably. I’ve never seen it, but I know that at least two of us are not orphans.)

The ticket agent was so patient as we tried to figure out the flight changes plus rebooking the shuttle that was to take us from the airport to Breckenridge. Two of our party had already gotten tickets and gone through security before the flight changes happened.

But finally, we were rebooked! Our flight, originally scheduled for the aforementioned 10:45 was now leaving at 1 pm and going through Seattle. Soooo, with time to kill in the airport, we did what any group of people heading to a beer festival in Colorado would do. We had drinks.

I had a French 79th, because of course I did. In addition to the gin and bubbles, it also had St. Germaine and rhubarb bitters. Also – next project is homemade rhubarb bitters.

We did eventually make it to Denver about three hours after originally scheduled, but about 40 minutes earlier than anticipated with the change in plans. After some scrambling and then a mad dash up an escalator carrying our bags, we made the 7 pm shuttle. (How do people breathe here? Every time I go up a slight incline, I feel like I need a lie down to recover.)

There were a lot of people squished into the shuttle, and I ended up situated in the exact right spot that every time we hit a bump, a seatbelt connector got really, really fresh with me. After 2+ hours of that, praying that my phone wouldn’t die because there was no way I was going to be able to survive that drive if I wasn’t distracted by werewolves, we finally made it.

It was shortly after getting into our condo that it occurred to my stomach that it hadn’t had more than an airline cookie and a bag of chips since about 8 am that morning.

We headed out into the very, very cold and very, very thin night air to track down sustenance.

There were nachos. And burgers. And beer.

The way back to the condo was a gradual uphill for 1/3 of a mile. So that was fun. (We saw a fox, though!)

This morning, I woke up to this:

So, yeah. That’s a bit colder than this lowland Portlander is used to. (It’s up to 9* now, which according to my weather app is “too fucking cold to think.”)

We finally ventured out about 11 in search of coffee and food. I tried to convince the beer guy that as the male, it was his duty to go out and fetch his mate food to show he cared for her (see above werewolf novel). He said he subscribed to the lion model, so we were at an impasse and both left the warmth and safety of the den.

It might be cold, but it is really pretty here. I’m not grabbing any of the realty fliers I’ve seen, but I’m not regretting this is much as I was when I saw that -12* this morning.


I’m currently holed up and refusing to leave a coffee shop, because I am a delicate flower who might freeze (even with two pairs of socks, my winter running tights under my jeans, and a thank top, long-sleeved shirt, formal hoodie, and winter coat, not to mention my scarf, gloves, and viking hat).

It’s really kind of fun, though…I like looking at the snow and mountains through a coffee shop window, and I do enjoy traveling with the beer guy, even if he isn’t a proper werewolf.


My plan for the next couple of days is to relax, to read, to write, and of course, to drink some beer…this is not a bad way to start off my year of me redux.

Happy 2017!

Writing and Reading and Running (oh my?)

Thursday afternoon, I typed “The End” on my latest novel. That makes the fourth book I’ve finished in the last < 3 years. I also sent my first Eleanor Morgan novel to an editor and it should be edited and ready for prime time by the end of the calendar year, provided I can keep on top my end of the bargain. I hired a cover artist as well. Shit is starting to get real!

Friday, I dropped the Beer Guy off at the airport for his 2nd of three trips to Europe in three months. Let’s all take a minute to feel really, really bad for him as he languishes away in Germany during Oktoberfest.

Dramatic re-enactment of drinking German beer (I assume...) except in this scenario, I'm present.

Dramatic re-enactment of drinking German beer (I assume…) except in this scenario, I’m present.

I spent the rest of the day alternately cursing at my new phone and story boarding the next two books I’m going to write. I’m starting Eleanor Morgan’s fourth book today and am going to write the 2nd book in my 2nd series. I’m contemplating whether or not I want to write them simultaneously and drive myself completely mad or consecutively and lose some of my Iceland momentum that will fuel the 13th century century novel about Kristina Nilsdotter. I am planning on writing an average of ~3400 words each weekday between now and 11/30 which should result in almost two (more) complete novels.


I’m going to start editing Eleanor #2 for my beta readers this afternoon.

I’ve been running twice in the last week, and it’s been wonderful, so I’m hoping to keep that up.


In addition, I am trying to catch up with my reading. I’ll have another book review for you tomorrow! Stay tuned for a review of the second in Devon Monk’s Ordinary Magic series. (If you or someone you know has an upcoming fantasy release, let me know! I’m trying to do a review a week.)


Iceland – Days 1 & 2 (Travel & Reykjavik)

Wednesday morning started on the early side (but not too early, and it was a pleasant start). Everything was packed, so all I needed in the morning was to shower, dress, and toss in my tooth brush.

Then, a quick stop for coffee and I was on my way to the airport.

I got me and my bag all checked in and was delighted to find that for the second time in one month, I’d been granted TSA pre-check status. Hooray!

Of course, that meant that my 2 hour early arrival at the airport for international travel had me at the gate approximately two hours early.

I had more coffee. Ate some breakfast. Read a little. Did some crosswords. Waited.

Finally it was time for flight the first! I think the flight time was only a bit shorter than the airport wait time. 🙂

My layover in Minneapolis was excruciatingly long. Five hours is a long time to hang out. I drank some Minnesota brews. Ate some incredibly disgusting pizza. Wrote a couple of blog posts. And agonized.

We boarded for a 10 pm central time flight. Some guy asked if I’d change seats with him so he could be closer to his friends. Even though I am not a nice person, I agreed. I need to be even more not nice. He ended up with a nice aisle seat and an empty behind him. I ended up next to a woman and her five year old. He talked incessantly and loudly for hours, and then when he did fall asleep, he woke up a lot. Screaming. Or kicking. Me usually. Or he’d have to pee. Or his mom will have to pee. He sneezed on me twice. I got maybe 20 minutes of sleep, but I did get to watch The Force Awakens again, so yay?

I landed at 9 am local time in Iceland after getting to watch the sun come up over Greenland.


Customs in Keflavik airport was easy breezy. I stood in line for five minutes, confirmed I was planning on eventually leaving, and got my stamp.


Getting my rental car, on the other hand, was not easy. I don’t know who wrote all the positive reviews of the car rental company I chose, but the fact that it was a few euros cheaper than other options in no way made up for the hassle in collecting my car and the fact that my car appears to be made out of papier-mâché and held together with chewing gum and old rubberbands.

After breezing through customs, I’d began to regret scheduling my Blue Lagoon stop for noon, positive that I could’ve made it by the only other available time that day: 10 am.

Turns out, it was good I was conservative. By the time I got out of the rental car place, it was well past 10 and my car was running on empty, so my first order of business was to locate a gas station and determine how it worked. Mission accomplished, I headed to the Blue Lagoon.

I headed in at the appointed time and got all checked in. I anticipated having to make myself stay for an hour. I couldn’t check into my hotel until 2, so I thought if I could just make myself soak for an hour, by the time I got out and showered and on the road, I wouldn’t be pushing the check in time.

I got my free drink – I went with bubbles – and then just kinda floated around. It was weird, because I think I was the only solo person there. It was also really interesting people watching. I played a fun game called “Is that man from the US?” based solely on swimsuit styles. It was not a difficult game.

After an hour, I wasn’t ready to leave. I decided to try my first Icelandic beer – Gull – and then floated around for another hour. I found a place to sit in the water and just watched. There was an American woman from the deep south who looked to be pushing seventy there with five men in their 30s and 40s who did everything she said at the snap of the fingers. There were a couple women of indeterminate nationality who slipped from English to Spanish to Swedish in their conversation. There were families from all over, lovers young and old, friends there for a girls’ trip or a guys’ trip.

I ended up staying for over two hours and accidentally on purpose soaking my hair in the springs…I spent a good deal of time in the shower, conditioning my hair, but to no avail. At this point, I think I might have to shave my head and start over. 🙂

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I headed into Reykjavik next, a little worried about navigation. No need to be, though. Between the fact that I am a damn good city driver when I allow myself to have the confidence (I am so used to pretending to be less confident than I am to boost the confidence of others that I forget from time to time that I am, in fact, a confident capable bitch and that anyone who has a problem with it isn’t someone I need to know) and the GPS, I found my hotel with no problem. I had to make one circle of the block to find parking, but I had arrived!


I walked in, immediately caused a middle-aged british woman to spill espresso all over herself, and checked in. I had a great view of the Hallgrímskirkja if I leaned awkwardly out my window.

The awkward window view

The awkward window view

A much better photo with a 75% less likelihood of breaking my phone while leaning out a 2nd story window.

A much better photo with a 75% less likelihood of breaking my phone while leaning out a 2nd story window.

I got cleaned up, realized I’d forgotten my swim suit at the Blue Lagoon, and laid down for a nap.

An hour later, refreshed and starving, I headed out. I wandered for a bit, familiarizing myself with the streets and the neighborhood. I found the bar I’d wanted to try, but decided that food was a better first order of business.


Menntaskólinn í Reykjavík is the oldest junior college in Reykjavík, Iceland. The school traces its origin to 1056, when a school was established in Skálholt, and it remains one of the oldest institutions in Iceland.

Menntaskólinn í Reykjavík is the oldest junior college in Reykjavík, Iceland. The school traces its origin to 1056, when a school was established in Skálholt, and it remains one of the oldest institutions in Iceland.

Because I am weird, I will often not order something on a menu if I’m afraid I’ll mispronounce it, even if the description sounds amazing. But this is Iceland and I am obviously American – so I ordered some lava cooked chicken stuff because I can!


And a beer. A Viking beer. I didn’t do a beer selfie, because that seemed crass, but I totally thought about it.


After dinner, I headed to the pub, determined to try every single one of their Icelandic beers.

I ordered the sampler tray, which covered all six of the Icelandic beers they had on tap. The taproom only served Borg beers from Iceland (although it had a smattering of beers from around the world, most notably the US and Denmark). Once I’d finished the samples (well, finished all but one), I started chatting with the bartender. I did NOT take a picture, because it didn’t occur to me, but he was delightfully bearded, man-bunned Icelandic sex-on-a-stick.

Borg Brewing taster tray at Skúli Craft Bar

Borg Brewing taster tray at Skúli Craft Bar

He invited me behind the bar so I could look at his bottles. I chose a beer that he warned me was a big expensive. It was a festival beer, and it was the last bottle in his taproom, possibly the last in existence. It was a blueberry beer (the blueberries had been CRUSHED BY HAND) and was a joint project with (other brewery).

After a bit, I wandered into a another bar (Micro Bar) but didn’t stay long. I then began wending my way back to my room, stopping for a couple night time pics.

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I slept for about three hours before waking and being WIDE AWAKE. I eventually fell back asleep, only to be awakened a couple hours later when someone tried to get into my room. Pretty sure it was a lost drunk hotel stayer, as I heard him try to get into every room, but it sure does get your adrenaline up in the middle of the night.

I didn’t get as much done the first day as I’d hoped, but I had a wonderful time. One of the beautiful things about solo travel is the ability to change the agenda at any time and getting to hit the relaxation part of a vacation as hard as I want without feeling guilty.

End of Days 1-2….stay tuned tomorrow, for then there shall be SORCERY!


Happy Blogiversary to Gazelles on Crack!

Just over ten years ago (ten years and a couple weeks), I published my very first post on this blog.

Gazelles on Crack is turning 10!

Gazelles on Crack is turning 10!

I’d been blogging for a while – first on Xanga (gosh, it’s really too bad that I am unable to locate those posts…too bad indeed) and then later on LiveJournal. That apparently does still exist. I even appear to still have ten friends left on LJ.

I don’t remember why I decided to switch over to my own blogging platform. Probably because so many cool people blogged and I thought I’d give it a shot. I’m certainly not as prolific now as I was ten years ago. I don’t even get the readership that I got ten years ago. But we’re still at it, even now.

In the past ten years, I’ve written 1,676 posts and received 7,123 comments.

I’ve written 480 posts about running and 173 about gin and cheese. That’s even more than the 166 posts I’ve written about my kid. (Gotta have priorities!)

Running and Bubbles!

Running and Bubbles!

I’ve written 100 posts about books, including book reviews and 158 about shoes.

book it

My posts are fairly evenly balanced (according to my tag cloud) among

  • Alvie Bean
  • Book Reviews
  • Exercise
  • Goals
  • Running
  • Shoes
It was my friend Margaret's Prada pumps that really got me hooked on beautiful shoes. Damn you, Margaret!

It was my friend Margaret’s Prada pumps that really got me hooked on beautiful shoes. Damn you, Margaret!

You’ve been here for my move from Los Angeles to Portland, for my wedding, for my adventures in domestic bad-assery and gardening, for the death of my father and the birth of my son, and for my next big adventure of moving out on my own sans architect.

Toasting the new house with an extravagant bottle of bubbly. #40before40

Toasting the new house with an extravagant bottle of bubbly. #40before40

Maybe you’re one of the readers who got here via a random internet search? Although the most popular search term on the day I’m writing this is “toe prosthetic”(?), the top ten overall search terms (that are not my actual blog name) are:

  1. Anthropophobia (still relevant – I’ll catch you up on Day 2 of Vegas: The Hiding soon)
  2. Spiders (legit)
  3. No Sleeping (It’s like you know me, google search engine!)
  4. Early Pr0n (Early in the morning? Pre-modern? Are we hoping for medieval pr0n? I NEED MORE INFORMATION!)
  5. Christina Ricci
  6. Dirty Hippie
  7. Beach Wedding Shoes
  8. Unicorn Bicycle
  9. I Suck
  10. The toaster is very loyal (This is my favorite)


Most of the rest of the top are variations on pr0ns and shoes (or combinations thereof. Like Salvadorian Shoe Pr0n.)

Must insert own pr0n

Must insert own pr0n

This may be less relevant, but the top three search terms for the last quarter are:

  1. Unicorn cut a bitch
  2. Accidental cleavage
  3. Cat maid outift
I actually thought this image search was going to be mainly cats. HAHAHAHA! No.

I actually thought this image search was going to be mainly cats. HAHAHAHA! No.

I approve of Google sending all of you my way. Welcome. Pull up a chair and pour yourself a gin.

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The top five posts ever are pretty much what you’d expect after seeing the popular search terms.

  1. Arach Attack!
  2. Anthropophobia
  3. Faux-lebrity Encounter
  4. (Spring Trends in) PR0N!!!; and oddly
  5. Product Review – Moji Knee Ice Pack

Disappointingly, none of my book reviews are more compelling than fear, fake Jennifer Grey, shoes, or (???) ice packs, although my 2015 wrap-up is pretty far up the list…

The best, really, are the friends I’ve made via blogging. There is no way to name them all, of course, but a few that I’ll mention are Eliza, Claire, Meri, Steph, Kristine, Jessica, Erika, Amy, the PBRs, and certainly not least, my PSM Cat. Through Cat I’ve met a lot of other people, and the network keeps expanding and expanding.

This is my bff, Thor the Thunder thug. And also my psm, Cat. She is not, as far as I know, the thunder anything.

This is my bff, Thor the Thunder thug. And also my psm, Cat. She is not, as far as I know, the thunder anything.

So thanks, readers.  Thanks for ten years of reading, commenting, sending me pictures of shoes, helping me discover new books and authors and websites that will help me waste time, and most of all for sharing my life.

Thanks for a great 10 years!

Thanks for a great 10 years!





This Time, It’s All About Me

It’s that time of year again. Many of us reflect on the year that is nearly past and start looking forward to the next year.

It’s a time of endings and new beginnings. I try not to do resolutions because I think they’ve developed a negative connotation over the years as being doomed to fail.

Instead I set goals. Sounds so much fancier and more doable. I know it’s a bit early to officially talk about what I want out of 2016, but you know what? I don’t care.

Because 2016 is the year of the Amy.

2015-10-20 13.22.41

I’ve spent a lot of time in the past years not making me a priority and that has got to stop. To be the best me, which in turn makes me the best mom I can be and the best partner I can be, I need to take care of me.

That means that my needs don’t get put at the bottom of the list. Compromising is good, but not when it leads to loss of sense of self.

There are four big things that I am planning to be the best me possible. These, above all other things, are what I am prioritizing this year. I believe that by making these four things a priority, I’ll have more time and energy for all the people in my life that need my time and energy.

  1. More sleep – I need to manage my cortisol levels better without drugs (who wants to talk about drug detoxing? Anyone? Because let me tell you, the controlled withdrawal from one of my ‘keep Amy sane’ drugs made me scratch my 2016 goal to become a drug addict). Stress management is better for overall health and sleep is a key ingredient for that. So I need to get back in the habit of early to bed.
  2. More writing – I have a book to finish up, and I’d like to finish it by my birthday (2/24 in case you’re taking notes). I have more books to edit. I have an edited book to send out to a couple beta readers. I need to make a concerted effort to get it published. I’d also like to do some smaller pieces and blog more. I love sitting at the keyboard and doing what I love should also help with that pesky stress.
  3. More movement – this was a pretty crap year of exercise for me. I started off strong, then got pneumonia, then got burned out. So no real big race goals this year. Just make time to move consistently every week. Trail running, bicycling, swimming, yoga. I like those things. I can do those things. I need to make the time to do those things on the regular. The architect can totally handle mornings without my presence a couple times a week. Bonus: exercise is a great way to increase stress management! (It’s almost like there’s a theme!)
  4. More job satisfaction – I think this would go the furthest towards managing the stress levels. I am not sure exactly how to get there, but by the end of 2016 I want to look around and say absolutely that I do not dread going to work (and maybe, if I get really crazy, that I actually enjoy what I’m doing). For some reason this one is the scariest.
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Being fabulous

Bonus goals

  1. More water

  1. More gin

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  1. More love


  1. More laughter

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  1. More time outdoors with the Bean

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  1. More unicorns

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  1. More letting shit go


  1. More reading

to read pile

  1. More cheese

  1. More beer and cribbage nights

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There might be difficult paths on the road to putting my own oxygen mask on first, but when else do I start prioritizing myself? I don’t want to look back in twenty years and realize that nothing’s changed. It’s the last full calendar year in my 30s. When better, really?

This is what awesome looks like.

This is what awesome looks like.