I can't believe I committed to posting once a month in 2024. And here we are, the month almost completely gone. I'm puzzled.

January is a birthday month around here. Last year, I rented a place in the San Juans for the extended family, but this year we kept it simple and neat. 

It is also a skiing month, and we've played played played in the snow. I didn't pick up snowboarding until 2011-2012, but since then, it's been one of the constant things I've looked forward to, especially the time spent with my daughter and brother-in-law. My son had a rough accident the very first time we went out for lessons, and he never took up the sport after, and there's always been a little sadness there, always a little worry that one kid might think the other is favored.

He was always more of a gamer kid, anyway. For awhile, we would pull out the old console for old times sake, but the games are different now. I do have a switch lite, and once a year they get me a game, which helps pass the time on the DC flights. But our bonding has been over my monthly poker game, which has been another constant, going back to 2007 or 2008. He's quite good.

Alex and I walk most nights, and for the last month we've been steadily working our way through Six Feet Under, and yelling at the TV each time right before one of the characters makes a bad life choice, and I wonder if that is where AI might be headed, a tiny angel perched on your shoulder encouraging you to avoid all the hurt and consequences we are so capable of inflicting upon ourselves and the people we love. 

I am obsessed of late with https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcohol_dehydrogenase after noticing in the last year that even small amounts of alcohol give me hangover symptoms within 20 minutes of the first sip. Last year I went through a rough patch of heavy drinking, but something in my body changed. I noticed that the only medicine that worked on my headaches was whatever claritin clone they sell at costco, and as I was sharing this with my skiing buddy, whose dad is a fairly well known research scientist at UW, he mentioned that I was probably no longer producing enough dehydrogenase. He said that some people don't produce much anyway, and some people see a marked decline as they age (LIKE TESTOSTERONE I YELLED). 

There is some histamine effect, apparently, and so for new year's I took an allergy pill after a night of moderate drinking, and it worked pretty well. I drank a week and a half later, and almost right away, this terrible, poisonous feeling headache and malaise overwhelmed me, and I thought, well, from now on it's beer/flonase chasers. Or just not drinking. Which has been pretty much the better solution. I had a couple drinks last week for my birthday, but otherwise it's been non-alcoholic coronas (good), guinness (SURPRISINGLY good) and an alcohol free vermouth alternative which is eerily just like real vermouth (and since straight vermouth is awful and reminds me of shameful episodes when I would drink it straight from the cabinet because I had already DRANKED everything else, the placebo effect is might powerful. 

I miss it, emotionally. I am a little taken aback at how its absence has not been felt physically. So many wondrous and terrible memories are entwined with a bottle in my hand right before I made a generous or woeful life choice. 

What kind of journey lies ahead for 2024 has me intrigued and petrified and apparently sober.


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