I have hit peak beer t-shirt.

Actually, I think I hit it a few years ago; I’ve been buying patches and stickers as they are cheaper and take up less space.

I’ve gone through my beer shirts and have donated a bunch but it still left me with 30-odd shirts that had been given to me by friends, had been acquired in my travels, or were from places I really liked. I’m not wearing most of them for one reason or another and they are taking up space.

So I’ve decided to make a quilt out of them.

And no, I’ve never made a quilt before.

Going through the collection with Max’s help.

I’ve got a bunch of shirts selected, a bunch of youtube videos queued, a sewing machine and a spreadsheet.

Easy peasy.

Day 19,226

Well. So much for those good intentions.

It’s not that I couldn’t carve out time to write here, about this and that, about how odd it is to be back around my high school haunts after thirty-odd years, about school and commuting and how I barely have time to connect with Keith much less with friends, or read for fun or knit.

I’m just still trying to find a flow to my days that isn’t going to leave me hating this. No, hating is the wrong word. Resenting might be closer. I’ll get there. Just been a bit of an adjustment to go from being a lady of leisure for a year (a role I was quite good at) to having to organize and budget and schedule more than I have ever had to. I’m not even going to show you my calendar; the last person I showed it to just said, oh dear, and patted my shoulder sympathetically.

One thing I’m glad I’ve scheduled in the half-hour every morning to drink my coffee and do morning pages. Am quite pleased and amazed with how just this little ritual has helped organize my thoughts. I feel less scattered, less anxious when things are piling up. And it’s only been three weeks.

Now that I have procrastinated a bit, I’m going to turn my attention back to my malt assignment and then drink some Chocolate Manifesto and watch it snow.

catching up

Yes, I did get in to the Brewmaster Program at Niagara College. And yes, I’ve almost got my Second Career application ready to send off to see if I can get any help to pay for it. Accommodations and transportation have been sorted out. I’ll be renting a room from our pal Moose during the week and commuting with our old car (Keith bought a newer Mazda 3 for him to use). I’m kinda looking forward to being back in the place I grew up – Moose’s house is about 2 concessions away from my old high school. Plus his backyard has a hammock and a firepit, so what’s not to like?

2014-06-04 12.25.38
Moose’s backyard in early spring. Looks much greener now.

I have a new blog, this time one related to all things beer-y. It was called Goodale and Beer, but I have forsaken that for the much snappier Hop Kat. For anyone still counting, this brings the total number of blogs started since 2005 up to 9, with three still being active: HopKat (beer), Katitude (photo-a-day), and this one.

I’m working part time now at the Bulk Barn. I was given a promotion and a raise after about 3 weeks, and am  now a cashier supervisor. It’s close enough to walk to, so between walking there and back, and being on my feet for most of a 6-hour shift, I’m over my 10,000 step fitness goal every day that I work. I come home smelling of candy and spices, which is not nearly as nice you would think it would be.

I’ve signed up to take the Fresh Meat skating course again through Toronto Roller derby. This is the third time. I have informed The Knee that I will be finishing it this time whether it likes it or not. It replied by pointing out that I will need to get my ass off the couch and away from Netflix if I want this to happen. I am taking its advice as I wish to keep walking when I get old(er).

The motorcycle is uncovered and I’ve been out on it a few times. I’m noticing that the anxiety and borderline panic is returning. Awesome.

Putting together my summer list for 2014. There’s lots to do. I would really like it if “worrying about money” didn’t make it on the list, but I fear that’s the only given.

Overall, life is good. There are flies in the ointment, but when isn’t there?


December madness

Cross posted from, because I’m lazy right now.

I tell myself every year that this year will be different, this year I will be as prepared for the December holiday madness as it is possible to be.

I was on the right track; I realized early on that there would be no way to knit gifts for my nieces and nephews. This decision coincided with an email from the World Wildlife Fund, and the gifts were purchased and sent in record time. We are not going to be around for the holiday itself, so the usual travel itinerary between Stratford, Sudbury and Oakville does not need to be sorted, hostess gifts, presents and food do not need to be organized.

And yet, I am still discombobulated. Because of the misunderstanding in the due dates for my marks, I’ve had to drop the teacher-led class for a self-paced online grade 12 chemistry class. To say it has been difficult is an understatement; the frustration of not understanding it as quickly as I would like combined with the stress of the expedited timeline reduced me to tears in lesson two. Phone calls from far-off bff’s shook me out of it, and I have learned (again) to ask for help. I now know that I know not one but THREE people with chemistry-related degrees, and the science teacher at my old school has offered to help me with my homework.


Then on to the application to Niagara College itself, and I am stressing out over every aspect of the portfolio submission. The little voice in the back of my head whispers that I am too old, too late and without enough relevant experience to get it. The little voice would rather I not try than be turned down. Words fail to express how much I hate that little voice.

I am also trying not to slip in to my usual winter hermit mode. Have met some former colleagues for lunch, and went out on Monday with Jen from Ltd Supply to check out the Indie Ale House. It’s hard to say which was more delicious, the burger or the Christmas porter. Like I said to Jen, a good burger should fall apart before you’re finished which this one did in spades. The porter had a lovely warn gingerbread taste going for it, making it a perfect dessert for the meal.

We headed over to the Hole in the Wall where it is very possible that I may have drank a little too much of the Yuletide Cherry porter from Barley Days Brewery. Good conversation over good beer in a good locale – definitely worth braving the cold for!


And that is why I have not made my Mocha Stout yet. I’m going to take a look at the timing and plan it so there’s nothing that needs attention for the week we’re away on our southwest road trip. It might have to wait until we get back.

What the hell am I doing?

Just got home from the third session of the Prud’homme Beer Enthusiast class. To say I am in a funk is an understatement.

I knew that Roger, the instructor, had taught a course for the Brewmaster program, so I asked him a bit about it. He then asked why I was interested.

“Because I’m applying”, I replied.


That simple question flustered me…I babbled something about becoming a brewmaster and starting my own brewery. To be honest, I don’t have a full plan for when I grow up but then I never have. I should have just just stated the truth in four words:

Because I want to.

“Make sure you have a backup plan”, he said. And then went on to tell me about people he knew, people with years of experience and with certifications like the BJCP or Cicerone, who could not get into the program.

My self-doubt jumped in and whispered in my ear, if they couldn’t get in, what makes you think you can get in? You have none of that, you’re a noob with nothing to back you up except enthusiastic delusions. Why the hell are you bothering? What the hell are you doing? 

I have only one answer that I can give the self-doubt:

Trying. Because I have to.

Favourite martini recipe*

cosmo* NaBloPoMo prompt suggested by Heather

Purists would say that my favourite martini is not a martini at all. Well, if it’s served in a martini glass, then as far as I’m concerned, it’s a martini.

I can’t take credit for this; the recipe comes from the Martini Goddess. It’s the perfect blend of flavours for my taste buds, walking the fine line between sweet and sour. It’s also sneaky – it’s one of those drinks that dangerously creeps up on you. It will only let you know how potent it is when you stand up after your third one. Or, I should say, try to stand up.

Raspberry Cosmo

1 oz. Raspberri Absolut (don’t use Smirnoff Raspberry, it tastes like shit)

1/2 oz. Triple Sec

1/2 oz. lime cordial

2 oz. cranberry-raspberry cocktail

Put all ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake, letting the sound of the ice swooshing around soothe any shattered nerves.

Pour into a 4 oz. martini glass, garnish with a few raspberries.

Sip and enjoy until the crappy parts of your day are nothing but a distant memory.


It’s a cold, blustery day out there. I walked to the store for some supplies, but was happy to be back inside again. Now it’s all about writing while listening to the cat snore. Every once in a while, the wind rattles the windows on the twenty-first floor and roars through the valley below, stripping the last of the leaves from the trees and sending them spiralling upward.


When I’m not writing or knitting and finishing Battlestar Galactica, I’m catching up on my Feedly updates and trying not to be tempted by things I cannot even begin to afford on what I get on EI.

IMG_1673Like this bottle of Samuel Adams’ Utopias. It’s seems hideously expensive at $115/bottle ($150 in the US), but after reading reviews what goes into making this rich sipping beer – hand selected malts and hops, aging in port and rum barrels for years – I was most curious about it. One of the observers at my beer class brought a spent bottle in to last night’s class, and even thought there was nothing left in it, the rich aromas of of caramel, figs and cherries that swirled from its depths cinched it. I can’t afford it now, but know that it’s on my bucket list in my more solvent future.

Or this, this is finally a thing – a throwable panoramic camera. While it would be super cool to have one, it’s not a bucket list item. Especially at $600.

I still want one though.

My Suzy Homemaker moment for the day:


I made the super simple and elegant Marcella Hazan’s tomato sauce. Three ingredients – one 28oz can of good quality tomatoes (San Marzano is suggested, but I couldn’t find them), five tablespoons of butter and one onion, peeled and halved. Combine them and simmer together for 45 minutes to create something that is definitely more than the sum of it’s parts. So. Good.

Beer Day

Started my day with this announcement on Twitter:


1) Making Beer

Truthfully, I am not sure how this batch is going to turn out. You can only read so much about a new endeavour before you jump into it, but I think I would have benefitted from having someone experienced in home brewing on my speed-dial for the day. I tried not to over-think it, but that proved near impossible.

I made the White House honey ale that I ordered with the one-gallon brewing kit from It’s an all grain kit; I wonder if it would have been better to try an extract first.

It went great (or at least that’s what I’m telling myself). There were a few hiccups that have me questioning whether it will work or not.

  1. my thermometer broke. I was watching a bunch of YouTube videos, and a lot of the guys were using a cooking thermometer like this one that we used for our turkey, so I thought hey, why not. It would be easier to read and monitor than the glass mercury one that came with the kit. However, it went crazy at some point and now reads over 200F when at room temperature. Thankfully, I had the glass one to switch in, but I have no idea what happened before I did.
  2. there was no hot break. I drained the grain bag, turned up the heat under the kettle and waited, but got nothing even remotely resembling the pictures or videos I’ve seen. I did a quick Google search, and it doesn’t appear that it will wreck the batch, but I’m kind of disappointed to not see it.
  3. the stuff is boiling happily and it’s time to add the bittering hops with the finishing hops coming in after the hour-long boil. However, I have one package of hops. Cue over-thinking. Did I miss one when I opened the grain package? is it still in the grain bag? Yes, I did open it up and sift through it to find nothing. I did more Googling which confused me even more. Luckily, the guys at answered their phone. “Use half now, half later.” Or at least I think that’s what he said. Hope so…that’s what I did anyway.
  4. I was very careful about sanitizing everything that came into contact with the post-boil liquid. Except, as I realize now, the thermometer that I used to check the temperature during the cool-down, the thermometer that I rested on the wet counter every single time. Sigh.

Now I wait.

2) Writing about beer

Ta da!

3) drinking beer


I had a lot more to do today, but I got the three things done I wanted to do and said I was going to do, so I’m calling today a win.



Draft clean up day, part 4. This is a lot of odd little drafts and some more recent bits. I could give them their own post, but after 3 updates today, I think it’s time to concatenate ’em all and just get ‘er done.

Went with Keith last week as he headed out to a car wrecker in Stoney Creek to look for a less rusty hood for the car. It was in an open area covered with concrete, metal and glinting glass, and the day was crazy hot. I stood by the compound, looking at the wrecks and wondered about them. There’s a story for every one of them…somebody chose them and drove them home proudly from the car dealer, smelling the new car smell. Sports cars might have babies conceived in them; minivans carried the babies and families later. There might have fights or laughter, bouts of road rage, or singing loud to a favourite song on a road trip. The cars were outgrown, damaged, crashed, unrepairable, and now they are abandoned here, waiting for recycling in the hot sunshine that tastes of metal and oil.


I headed to Ottawa on the weekend for a derby thing. While that was fun, the best part of the weekend was catching up with Karen, a friend of the family’s. We agreed that it must have been 25 years since we’ve seen each other, but it felt like less, much less. She gave me a place to crash, fed me, and, having read about the tentative beer-as-career idea on Facebook, bought some interesting beers for me to taste and try. We talked, we drank, we talked some more, we called my brother to taunt him a little bit, and generally hung out. It makes me want to do it again soon.


Speaking of derby, I saw this shirt while I was there. Love the feline riff on the Black Flag logo – want!


Been thinking that my lifestyle has been a bit sedentary so far this summer and that I should get back into using the FitBit and tracking calorie input and output again. Stepped on the scales to get a current benchmark point…apparently I have gained 8lbs since leaving the school.

There are a lot of words I said upon seeing that, but it was mostly one word used as noun, verb, adjective and adverb. It starts with the letter f, if you need a hint.

*WSOGMM = Whole Sort of General Mish Mash.