Category Archives: Uncategorized

Doing Social Good with Money

I would like to know, to the extent to which you would like to tell me, where you like to do social good with MONEY. That is, I know some of you volunteer your time and/or skills, and some of you use your position/power to pull other people up, and some of you write letters and make calls and circulate petitions, and some of you fundraise, and some of you coordinate workplace efforts that benefit the community, and some of you loan your possessions, and there are lots of other good non-money ways to do good—but right now I am only wondering about the things you do that involve giving away your own actual money. Well, or things that involve giving away items you have to buy with your own actual money, such as if you buy diapers and donate them, or if you buy presents to donate to a family at the holidays.

If you would like to discuss it (and feel free to go anonymous: the comment form asks for an email address, but it accepts fake ones), this would be a very useful place to mention some of the ways you yourself were helped at a time in your life when you needed it. Paul and I were extremely helped by a local, non-government program that helps to pay dental expenses for children: Rob was about six, and we were so strapped for cash we weren’t going to the dentist, and a school dental screening showed Rob had several small cavities. There was no way we could pay for that, but there was a fund, and there was a matter-of-fact person running the fund, and she matter-of-factly connected us to a dentist and paid the bill, and also arranged for him to have sealants (sealants are an excellent example of “it’s more expensive to be poor”: not being able to afford them can lead to expensive dental problems). I can get weepy just thinking about it.

This is a fine moment to mention charities you like, but I am particularly interested in other ideas. Here are some of the neat ones I’ve seen:

• donating money to a school, asking them to use it to help pay off lunch-account debts

• donating money to a library, asking them to use it to help pay off fines and lost-material fees (the library SHOULD be the perfect resource for people without much money—but anyone’s kid can accidentally lose a book, and some libraries won’t let you check out anything else until the fines are paid down, or a family might be embarrassed to keep being asked at check-out if they will be paying off their account)

• donating money to an auto mechanic, asking them to put it toward someone who needs help paying for a repair

• donating money to a vet, asking them to put it toward someone who needs help paying for a treatment

• buying pants/underpants on good clearances for the school nurse’s office; the nurse can use them for kids who have an accident or a muddy fall, but nurses are also in a good position to find a way to discreetly get the clothes to kids who may need them

• buying backpacks on good clearances in the fall, and donating them in early summer to local welfare groups who collect such things

• buying winter outerwear on good post-season clearances, and donating them in the fall to local welfare groups who collect such things

• buying the really-good-sale foods at your grocery store each week, having them bagged separately, dropping those bags in the donation bins on your way out

• banding together with a group (church, social, work) to put together a scholarship for a local high school senior (when Rob was a senior, there were a lot of scholarships in the $500 range)

 

But I am not ONLY interested in creative/non-traditional ideas. I want to hear ALL of them: one person’s “well, this isn’t creative or interesting, but I…” is another person’s “OH, I hadn’t thought of doing that, but it really appeals to me!” Also, I hope I don’t need to say this, but let’s be on the safe side and say it anyway: this is not the place to criticize other people’s methods of giving. That is, I don’t want to see a link to that article that tells people to stop donating food to food banks, even though food banks are asking for food donations. I don’t know about you, but that kind of thing makes me want to give up and do nothing.

Dessert Samplers and Love Songs

Paul and I went out for a Valentine’s Day dinner last night (to avoid crowds/reservations on the actual day), and that is probably how we’ll celebrate the holiday from now on. It makes me feel like we Did Something for Valentine’s Day, and also gives me an answer if friends ask. We each ordered a fancy cocktail from a menu that didn’t have prices (why do cocktail menus so rarely have prices? is the answer “because if they had prices, no one would pay $12 for a cocktail”?) and after dinner we ordered a dessert sampler.

I wish to further discuss the dessert sampler, because on one hand it was amusingly overpriced (for that money we could have instead purchased four half-gallons of mid-grade ice cream plus the family-size bottle of Hershey’s syrup and a canister of real whipped cream), but on the other hand it was perfectly priced: expensive enough to feel like doing something special. Also, I hardly ever have room for dessert after eating out (I will eat the entire bread basket and all my dinner and some of yours too), but I always WANT to have room for dessert, so it is a very nice way to get just the right amount of dessert. Also, I was happy to get to try samples of several different things, instead of having to choose just one. (Perhaps that last one is the wrong sentiment for a Valentine’s Day dinner.)

And wouldn’t a “coffee and dessert sampler” date be a fun early-dating date?? You could adjust the intimacy level fairly easily, either by splitting the number of samples so you each choose and eat your own, or else by getting all different samples and then sharing them. MY SPOON IS WHERE YOUR SPOON WAS <3 <3 <3

I would also like to say that more restaurants should have dessert samplers. So if you are in charge of making that kind of decision at a restaurant, or you are in a position to influence someone who is, could you get on that please.

 

Some love songs to mark the day:


Adore – Amy Shark


Never Enough – Loren Allred


Rewrite the Stars – Zac Efron and Zendaya


A Thousand Years – Christina Perri


Worlds Apart – Joshua Radin


Beautiful Soul – Jesse McCartney


Rhythm of Love – Plain White T’s


Always – Yoon Mirae


Hold Each Other – A Great Big World ft. Futuristic


For the Longest Time – Billy Joel

Nightmare

I had a dream last night that women were being forced to use the language of consent for whatever men asked them to do. I saw a man with his hand on a woman’s throat, holding her against a wall, saying, “I will only touch you if it’s okay with you. Is it okay with you?”—and pressing her neck harder against the wall until she said it was okay. A woman who was already with a man was safe from other men, because of what men had decided was honorable male behavior toward women. Paul and I were in a museum and got separated, and I was getting that cold nightmare feeling because a man had approached me and I couldn’t find Paul; I put the man off with a light remark, but he was starting to get closer and angrier and louder.

Things are not great right now in the waking world, either. There are a lot of people who are having a lot of trouble understanding that even though they themselves feel comfortable and safe from assault, and even though they themselves believe they would not assault someone else, those two things combined don’t mean everything is fine for everyone, and that all other people can also feel comfortable and safe. Even some really great people are saying things like, “This whole thing is getting out of hand”—referring not, as you’d like to expect, to the vast number of assaults, but only to the REPORTING of the assaults. The REPORTING OF ASSAULTS is getting out of hand, they’re saying. Like: in order to improve the situation, reduce the reporting.

I have thought a lot about this, and I think it must be that some people’s brains are jumping over a tricky spot: the spot where “hearing about it less” does not equal “happening less.” The brain is saying, “Listen: until recently, you and I did not think very much about how many people-unlike-us were being assaulted. It is very, very uncomfortable now to think about how oblivious we were to the really bad things people-like-us were doing to people-unlike-us. It is also very, very uncomfortable to feel as if we are being accused just because it was people-like-us who were doing the things, and WE are people-like-us. BEFORE people-unlike-us were making all these reports, we felt pretty good: we didn’t know, we didn’t think about it, we didn’t have these bad feelings in response. If we went back to not hearing about it so much, things would go back to how they were Before, and we would feel pretty good again.”

Here is why we need people to stop thinking that way: people committing assaults don’t listen to the objections of the people they’re assaulting. Of COURSE the people being assaulted don’t like it! In order to assault people, you have to already NOT CARE that they don’t like it. Change happens when the people who are NOT being assaulted, people in the same group as the assaulters but who do not assault or approve of the assault, stand up for the people who ARE being assaulted. People listen to people-like-us, not to people-unlike-us. It is a well-known and understandable phenomenon of human psychology and, like the bystander effect, even just KNOWING about it can be enough to break it.

People who feel accused of assault but are not participating in assault: YOU ARE THE ONES WITH THE POWER TO CHANGE THIS SITUATION. Currently a lot of that power is being diverted and wasted. Some people’s brains are channeling it all into self-defense: “I’M not doing this! Why do we have to judge ALL of us based on the actions of a FEW?” Some people’s brains are going further and channeling it into attacking the accusers or finding ways to defend the assaulters; that is such a sad and upsetting response to suffering, I don’t even want to think about it or talk about it anymore. Some people’s brains are channeling the energy into wishing it would all go away. Here is how some of it could actually go away: if the people with power use that power to defend the people being assaulted, rather than using it to defend themselves or the assaulters.

Splitting the Cost of a Ride Home

I emailed Rob to ask if he was for sure coming home for Spring Break and if I should therefore go ahead and buy the bus tickets (there is a great students-only bus with free Wifi that drives kids almost all the way to our house)—and he said actually, a college friend who is also from our town offered him a ride home.

So, okay, let’s not discuss how this compares to the nice safe rental bus that is very high off the ground and is driven by a professional and has a chaperone on board. Let’s not address how much more anxious I will be while he is traveling. Let’s avoid picturing the two teenagers getting into a “STAHP it, no YOU stahp it!” slap fight while driving, ending in fiery death. Or falling asleep while driving because they stayed up until 3:00 in the morning, ending in fiery death. Or being inexperienced drivers, ending in fiery death. Let’s snort together as we dismiss Paul’s argument that this is like the anxiety felt on the first day Rob went to kindergarten: on the first day of kindergarten, I was not LEGITIMATELY ANXIOUS ABOUT THE POSSIBILITY OF FIERY DEATH.

Let’s instead discuss what are the right things for Rob to do, in order to cover his share of this trip. Should he pay half of the gas? All of the gas, since the other student is putting all the miles on her car? Should he treat for meals (they’ll be stopping for two meals, probably)? What is The Right Way? What is The Fair Thing?

Valentine’s Day Complaining; Valentine’s Day College Care Package

I was going to take a minute to complain about the airplane tickets that changed price by hundreds of dollars as I was trying to pay for them, but eh. I’m wearing a cozy cardigan, and everything worked out fine in the end, and I guess I’m not in the mood for complaining about it now.

I sent Rob a care package this morning, with a Valentine’s Day emphasis. You know what, actually I am in the mood for complaining, just not about plane tickets. I want to complain about Valentine’s Day. Paul and I don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day, which makes me a little sad every year because I really like the holiday (pretty colors, flowers/lace/hearts, chocolate everywhere, a brief break from the long joyless winter), but we tried it for a number of years and it just doesn’t work out with anyone feeling happy about it. And I am so easy to buy for! Here is what I want: a pretty, heart-shaped box of nice chocolates. That’s it! That’s not so high-maintenance! Well. I guess also I want it purchased not at the last minute, and without a cranky, burdened attitude, and without a heavy “WHAT is it you want, again?” sigh, and perhaps that is too picky FOR SOME. And lest you are thinking, “Well GEEZ, Swistle, maybe he just wants to have his own romantic idea for a Valentine’s Day gift and you are STIFLING him by acting like you’re PLACING AN ORDER! SOME people don’t go in for TRITE CLICHÉD CONSUMERISM, you know!,” rest assured that the specific request is at his specific request: he absolutely did not want to think of his own idea. And he is a fine, fine man in many other ways, and if a once-a-year traditionally-romantic gift was so important to me I could have married my high-school boyfriend, but instead I wanted smart and funny (oh snap high school boyfriend) and this particular Smart/Funny came equipped with “responding amiably/amusingly to irritable comments rather than allowing them to start a fight” instead of “buying heart-shaped things,” and it’s still a trade I’m willing to make. But that doesn’t mean I don’t get to complain. And he can go ahead and complain to HIS friends about whatever it is he thinks it would be nice if I’d do.

Anyway, now I concentrate on the non-romantic parts of the holiday: valentines for the kids; buying/making heart-shaped foods; contributing heart-shaped paper plates to the elementary-school parties; appreciating the cute elementary-school classroom exchanges; buying my own pretty, heart-shaped box(es) of nice chocolates at 50% off on February 15th. This is our last year of having a kid in elementary school, so that’s a little sad.

Where was I? Oh, yes: care package. What the kids have wanted every single year is those giant 7-ounce Hershey Kisses. At our Target they are only sold in teacher-themed packaging, but the children say they do not care, so that’s what they get every year. (I have heard that some other stores have the giant Kisses without the teacher theme, and if the kids cared I would investigate that option.) I put one of those in Rob’s care package. Also, I have been buying the Valentine’s-Day-themed Hostess and Little Debbie snack cakes for the kids to have as February-leading-up-to-Valentine’s-Day treats, and I set aside one little cakey from each box to put in the care package. Also Valentine’s Day Tic-Tacs, Valentine’s Day Junior Mints, a Valentine’s Day Hershey bar, a tube of Valentine’s Day M&Ms, and Valentine’s Day Sweetarts. For non-Valentine’s-Day-related stuff, I put in a box of cereal bars, a box of granola bars, a pocket pack of tissues, two of his favorite pens (I bought a box of 12, and I parcel them out at the approximate rate I think he’ll lose them), a few ziploc baggies and clothespins (so handy!), a miniature bottle of Tabasco sauce, a package of beef jerky, a package of cough drops, a tin of Altoids.

Movie: The Greatest Showman

A friend invited me to go see The Greatest Showman, and I knew nothing about it except that it was about Barnum and/or Bailey, so I figured it was a pretty safe bet: if nothing else, there would be good circus scenes. Things I didn’t realize until I arrived at the theater:

1. It’s a musical
2. Hugh Jackman is in it
3. My friend had already seen it: she invited me right after seeing it the first time. Like, from the parking lot.

I liked it. As expected, there were good circus scenes. There were also some good big musical numbers with lots of stuff happening: trapeze artists! lions! flames! stomping! clapping! And there were a couple sweet songs. And two good power ballads. I would be happy to see it again. And I might end up doing so: as the credits rolled, my friend said, “Same time tomorrow?” It was a good one to see in the theater, because of all the big/colorful/loud scenes.

I would like to see more movies. It’s an activity that ties in beautifully with my dabbling goals. For example, since seeing The Greatest Showman I have:

1. Asked Alexa to play me the soundtrack while I made dinner
2. Looked up the actress who plays Jenny Lind (I still don’t know why she seems familiar)
3. Looked up the singer who sings Never Enough (Loren Allred)
4. Thought of the song Never Enough reminds me of (Already Gone, by Kelly Clarkson) and listened to it
5. Looked up the actress/singer who plays Anne Wheeler (Zendaya)
6. Felt interested in finding out why this story about Barnum doesn’t mention Bailey
7. Thought about how glad I was that what seemed like [spoiler] was actually [spoiler]
8. Felt interested in learning more about Jenny Lind

It gives me renewed Interest in Things. It’s a good way to counteract January.

The Crown; Biography of Queen Elizabeth

I am on Season Two of The Crown. It is difficult to gauge what is a spoiler when a show is based on actual history. I was never good at history so it’s all spoilers to me. I mean, I know Queen Elizabeth has a son called Charles, I did know that. But I have to be careful not to search online to find out, for example, why that photographer looks so familiar (it’s because he was also in Downton Abbey) because when I do, I see little bits of history that would have been a complete surprise to me two episodes later.

Anyway. I just watched the episode where Charles goes away to school at Gordonstoun. It’s so well done, I think: you can absolutely see how great the school was for Prince Philip and why he wants Charles to go there so intensely that he can justify being an absolute dick about it, and you can even see how it MIGHT have ended up well for Charles too—while also seeing that it was an experiment that should have been discontinued after the first year and better yet even sooner, and that Prince Philip should have noticed that he and Charles are VERY DIFFERENT TEMPERAMENT TYPES with very different issues to work through, so what was good for one of them would not necessarily be good for the other of them. Plus, Prince Philip does not give evidence of being a really superior person, so perhaps he should not over-credit the effect his school experience had on his character.

It all gives a parent a lot to think about, is what I’m saying.

Speaking of spoilers/history, this show makes me want to read biographies and history books to get more information about that time and these people. Do you have any you’d recommend? Probably I’d want to start with a biography of Queen Elizabeth, since I now love her. I am also interested in reading more about Princess Margaret, and eventually I want to read more about Prince Charles.

Bad Kiss

Last night I couldn’t sleep, and nearly got up to write a post about all the things keeping me awake, but about three-quarters of them were things I didn’t want to revisit in the morning if I didn’t have to.

One thing I was thinking about was something that happened at a party when I was 17. I’d gone at the flirty invitation of a flirty guy friend, and when I got there he had his arm around another girl, so apparently we were playing a game, and at that stage of my life I was all-in for that. The party was a small casual sitting-around-the-campfire-drinking-wine-coolers-and-beer kind of party, and I had obtained parental permission to attend by promising not to drink any wine coolers or beer, but I did sit and talk with people who had had a fair number of them. Everyone there had known each other for years so I was a novelty, and my act went over well. Flirty guy friend observed it going over well, and I observed him observing it, which was additionally pleasing. Your move, sir.

When I’d arrived, I’d found my way from the dark road to the party in the woods by following the light of the campfire. When I left, I couldn’t tell which way to go; it was nothing but dark woods in all directions. My flirty friend, his arm pinned by the girl he was sitting with, asked if someone could see me safely to my car, and one of his buddies volunteered. The buddy did a mock bow and said “My lady,” and walked me to my car. The buddy then prevented me from getting into my car, and kept trying to kiss me.

I am not sure how long this went on. I said, “I can’t do this,” and “I need to go,” and “My parents are going to kill me if I miss curfew,” and “Okay, I really have to go now,” and he seemed to think we were in the Baby It’s Cold Outside song and I was just flirting, and he kept trying to kiss me, and he kept blocking the door to my car. My sole and focused mission became to persuade him to allow me to leave. Isn’t that weird to think of? I had to work, and work hard, to persuade a stranger, with no authority over me, to let me do something I was absolutely allowed to do, and something he absolutely shouldn’t have been preventing.

I’m interested to look back on that scene and observe that I had already completely incorporated, without being taught, that it is not safe to shove away a guy on a dark road when the two of you are alone; there is a good chance of him shoving back, and then where will you be. He’d already shown me that he was going to ignore boundaries and social cues, so it was hard to know how far out we’d find the line he wouldn’t cross. And he’d shown an additional worrisome trait by pretending he was taking me to my car for my safety, when he intended to make me significantly less safe than if I’d gone alone. But neither did it feel as if we were in a situation where screaming or pepper spray would be anywhere near appropriate: those are for when strangers come leaping out of the woods, not when they accompany you out of them. The only way I could think of to get out of this was to pretend reluctance rather than repugnance, to avoid making him angry (danger/escalation path) or hurting his feelings (danger/escalation path), and to lie about next time in order to get away safely this time. I did so, and after some period of time I did get away safely.

I’m not going to pretend it was a giant trauma. It was a little gross, and it was a little scary while it was happening and when all the potential outcomes were still open—but because it stopped where it did, and because the guy did NOT escalate things but instead seemed more like a tipsy idiot, and because by that age I’d done a fair amount of kissing and could be more casual about it rather than feeling as if My Lips Have Been Violated and Shall Never Recover, it lives in my memory as A Memorably Unpleasant Thing That Happened and not much more. Sometimes I go back in time and ask my friend to free his arm for long enough to see me to my car himself, or I ask one of the girls at the party to go with me. Sometimes I imagine taking the risk and shoving him. Sometimes I imagine an unrealistic but satisfying “How DARE you!” scene. Sometimes I imagine an unrealistic martial arts scene.

The next day my flirty friend called me and said his buddy had asked for my number and should he give it to him, and I said NO at length. The buddy kept asking my friend about me for awhile; he didn’t understand why I didn’t want to see him again. Last night I was lying awake wondering how things went for him from there: did he ever learn not to do stuff like that, or no? Does he wince at how he used to act? Or does he have a sentimental memory that doesn’t match mine at all, about some girl he liked at a party, and he walked her to her car and kissed her, and then she vanished into the night? Or maybe the same thing happened with so many girls, he doesn’t have any memory of it at all.

Continuous Stream of Dirty and Broken Things

I have been grim and morose and feeling as if the whole world is a bad place full of broken appliances and corrupt insurance companies and stupid/mean strangers leaving horrible callous comments on news articles, but I am trying to remember (leaving aside for the moment how this next thought reflects on me) that I am always a little messed up when the kids have a lot of days home from school, and the kids have had a lot of days home from school. Plus it’s January, and January is always kind of crummy.

Also, we had a small kitchen project done, and it meant having workers in the house all day, and there are few things that make me quite so staticky. I was in a total tizz all day, unable to settle anywhere, worried that if I went to the bathroom that would be the exact minute a worker would call out to ask me something, worried that they would think badly of me for sitting there with a book while they were doing hard physical labor, worried that they would ask me something I didn’t know the answer to, regretting things I said in previous interactions with them, and overall nervous to find that I will do and say almost anything as long as they will be nice and finish the work and get out of my house. And also I didn’t have access to the kitchen for a whole day, and I STILL have only partial access, and a quarter of our kitchen is in the dining room, and I hate things being out of place, which you would find very funny if you saw how very cluttered and messy my house is, but each thing is WHERE I EXPECT IT TO BE, which is what I mean by “in place.”

And then I start thinking about how extremely poor I am at coping with even minor upheavals, and how this bodes poorly for retirement years spent traveling or doing really anything, let alone for dealing with anything like a true upheaval, and how very spoiled it is to “not like change” when that change is A GOOD THING like a KITCHEN IMPROVEMENT (I don’t know why I’m acting as if it’s a secret: it’s a new window, really big, like the kind you can start seedlings in, to replace the original 1950s window that got thick ice on the inside of it during the winters) and not, say, GETTING FORCED OUT OF OUR COUNTRY or something, and then I have a little spiral about the news of the world and how terrible it is and how many people are suffering, but before long I’m back to the subject of how for a homemaker I sure don’t keep the house very clean. Or do much cooking. Or enjoy spending much time with the children.

Also I don’t have any good books to read right now. I keep starting new ones and not liking them.

Meanwhile I am annoyed with Paul, and it’s so unfair because he has been a PEACH PIE about the window replacement upheaval, and dealt patiently with a discouraging setback, and was up on the counter taping off the window glass so he can stain the frames, but instead I am focusing on how he broke the handle on the minivan because he “couldn’t tell if the door was locked or frozen shut” SO HE YANKED HARDER, using force instead of investigating to see why something isn’t working as expected. And this is after I finally, finally, FINALLY got around to getting the front passenger door handle replaced after ROB broke it by yanking too hard when the door was locked. And as I watch the paint gradually peel off the bathroom walls because Paul didn’t remember he needed to use primer, I am not too excited about him doing the staining. You may wonder why I am not doing it myself, if I’m so critical of his work. It’s a fair question, and the answer is that I really really don’t want to. I so admire people who just plow through things that need to be done, rather than melting with despair at the slightest thing. I would like to hire one of those people to manage my life. “I want you to be kind and gentle with me, and the cold noble unyielding prow of a ship with everything/everyone else,” I’d say, and they would nod and pat my shoulder and then matter-of-factly make all the phone calls that need to be made, and let me hide in the bedroom while the workers were here.

And also Paul keeps trying to cheer me up by doing nice things like washing the pans after dinner, but then when I’m putting the pans away later there are patches of VISIBLE FOOD AND GREASE on the insides and the outsides so then I have to do them over because I really can’t talk to him about this again, I really can’t, it seriously must be well over a hundred times I’ve explained it by this point, I am done explaining to a grown-ass adult that to wash a dish you have to apply soap and water in a way that removes the food from it—and yet I could have another FIFTY YEARS of this. His grandparents were married for over seventy years. OVER SEVENTY YEARS. Though by the end they were in a nursing home so I assume they were able to stop dealing with the dishes.

And now that we’ve replaced the window it seems like maybe we should paint the kitchen, especially since we already took everything off a wall and two counters so the window guys had space, but you know how it is when you start painting walls and then the cupboards look dingy and then the living room looks dingy by comparison and I don’t think I want to start that. And speaking of painting, the outside of the house is overdue for it. And the lamppost: it’s from the 1950s but we’d finally got it working and attached to an automatic switch, and it made me so happy to see it glowing out there in a neighborly way, and then last winter one of the kids accidentally hit it with a rock in a fluke snow-shoveling incident and broke the top right off of it so we’re just going to replace the whole thing including the very old and probably not very good wiring, and I haven’t called anyone about it for more than a year because I don’t know if I should call an electrician or a landscaper or both or what, and anyway now the ground is frozen again so it has to wait. And doesn’t it seem like all we do is fix a continuous stream of broken things and clean a continuous stream of dirty things until we die, and all that changes is that we get gradually less physically able to handle it?

Medicinal Brandy: Monthly Edition

Naturally I do not want to recommend alcohol to solve all of life’s problems, but have you tried brandy for cramps? I was more miserable than usual this month, and I think of brandy as pioneer medicine useful for treating everything from emotional shock to limb amputation, so I gave it a shot, as it were, figuring that even if it didn’t help with the cramps it would make me feel better overall (this is also my philosophy about sipping Drambuie for a cough), and it was near-miraculous. The cramps just WENT AWAY. I don’t know if it was the brandy in particular or if any alcohol would do, but I went from “too unhappy to have any dinner” ( <---- EXCEEDINGLY RARE) to "singing along with a Ke$ha song while scrambling eggs.” I didn’t even feel the alcohol per se; it was as if it went straight to the medical issue and dealt only with that. So I had a second serving, but if you don’t WANT the buzz you could stick to one and might not even feel it.