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Posts Tagged ‘Beer’


We arrived after a long ride after I exposed my kids to the glory of songs like “Low Rider”. I arrived with my gift from the sea, Raybans. My sister-in-law has lost her sunglasses the day before and was praying that she would find them while she and the many kids took a walk on the beach in the morning. They found the Raybans, but not her sunglasses. So … now I have them.

The kids arrived with their gifts from the sea, shells placed in “personal disposal” bags covered with roses. Yeah, re-purposing is a beautiful thing but kids can make it interesting.

We also arrived with the remnants of the good, expensive beer Dan and I bought for the Shore. We bought 2 six-packs: Flying Dog Amber Lager and Dogfish Head 60-minute IPA. While transporting a mixed 6-pack down from the room for dinner, Dan didn’t notice the cardboard was a bit wet. Instead of falling apart in the hallway, which is carpeted, they started to slip out poolside in the Great Beer Incident of 2013. So I arrived in NY with 4 of the original 12 left.

One of our sisters-in-law heated up some lasagne for us. We unpacked all 6 suitcases and put the kids to bed. I watched the NBA Draft both glad and sad at the developments for the Celtics. Then I finished a Jack Reacher novel before heading to bed later than expected.

That evening the rain started, heavy at times but through most of Friday and intermittently on Saturday.

On Friday I did some reading- Frame and Sproul. I began to do some work on John’s Gospel in preparation for a series I should begin in November. I got some exercise by walking Darby Gray, the little moose that is passed off as a Great Dane. Huge bladder. My hair grew about a quarter of an inch waiting for him to finish. In the afternoon I enjoyed a La Gloria Cubana cigar while reading a Jack Reacher short story and listening to Boston Sports Talk radio.

The kids? They ran around like crazy people enjoying their cousins and the green grass up here.

After they went to bed, we watched The Confession on Netflix. It was a web series with Kiefer Sutherland as a hitman talking to a priest in a confessional. Interesting. Again, I was asleep later than anticipated.

Saturday was almost a wash. I had bacon and cheese between an English muffin for breakfast. We made a run into Warrensburg which included the obligatory Dunkin Donuts stop. Sadly, no chocolate cream filled. But I looked like I was attacked by a powered donut when done. There was a bunch of puttering around until the kids napped. Then we started to watch a BBC series called Waking the Dead about cold cases. After naps the kids were eagerly anticipating the arrival of their cousins from IL. CavSon #1 was waiting in the driveway until we went down the hill for a belated 4 o’clock coffee (I had tea). They arrived and the chaos increased.  After dinner, CavWife caught up with her sister-in-law so I continued watching a Korea TV series on Netflix.

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Years ago CavWife and I took a trip with her parents to Lake Placid.  It was the dead of winter.  I have rarely been colder.  We had lunch that day at the Great Adirondack Steak and Seafood.  In order to get there from our car we had to walk between a large gap in the buildings that led to Mirror Lake.  Can you say Wind Tunnel?  It was worse than the one by the dorms near Nickerson Field at Boston University.  Cold.  Real cold.  Extreme cold.

Mmmmm.... popcorn

My in-laws took care of the kids today while CavWife and I made our way to Lake Placid with her sister and brother-in-law.  No snow on the ground this time.  No ice on the ground this time.  No one else at the wheel this time.  I love driving those twisty roads in a decent car.  No Pop-Pop mobile today.  It was J-9’s G6.  It was an enjoyable ride.

We stopped at one point to take pictures of some guys climbing rock faces.  We enjoyed pondering the lakes apparently created by the infamous “jumping glacier”.  We also passed the Olympic ski jump which was impressive even without snow.  Finally we rolled into the village of Lake Placid.  We made our way down Main Street to find a parking space.  The meters were a slightly different concept.    You periodically had a meter that put out receipts you placed on your dash.  That was a new one to me.

We got a good laugh as some of the local police patrolled the strip in little electric cars.  No high speed chases for these guys.  We found a nice spot at the end of the strip that overlooked Mirror Lake.  Just beautiful with the mountains in the background.  So much green (live in the desert for a year and you’ll crave green too!).

CavWife and her sister were focused on finding the restaurant.  It has its own microbrews and we had an old 1/2 gallon jug of theirs we wanted filled with a good beer or ale.  I wanted to just look around and enjoy the place. We stumbled upon the old “wind tunnel” from our previous trip.  Now it was green and beautiful, overlooking the lake as well.  There were some chair down there and it would be a great place to sit and enjoy a book or some conversation with a beer and cigar.

See, Ridiculous!

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This was my first trip to the Jersey Shore.  I’ve enjoyed other parts of New Jersey, and endured other parts.  But I’ve never been to the shore.  One of CavWife’s sisters worked there for a few summers.  For nearly a decade, a large part of her family has been going to the shore after school gets out but before the seasonal rates increase, meaning before July 4th weekend.

Don’t think about a bunch of Guidos.  Spring Lake is nothing like that.  Spring Lake is upscale- very upscale.  Lots of Victorian homes, bed and breakfasts, and a few hotels.  We stayed in one of those hotels- The Breakers on the Beach.  We were late additions to the vacation plans, and we got the last room available: the penthouse.  Well, that’s what we called it.  The elevator when to the 4th floor, but we were on the 6th (though there was no 5th- I don’t understand either).  I expected some more living space but it was about the same, though the bathroom was larger.  But the views…. we had better, panoramic views.  We also had a gas fireplace.

Our Room

What we didn’t have was 2 beds, or a suite style room.  There was a fold-out sleep sofa.  This was to be CavBoy’s bed.  Initially we were going to have CavGirl go to sleep and then move her to the sleep sofa.  But it just didn’t work out that way as he did his usual sprawl across the bed.  This put the rest of us on the king size bed.  Somehow I was in the middle.  As a result, I spent 2 nights getting whacked and kicked by my daughter.  The pillows were huge and fluffy, quite the opposite of the pillows from the night before.  Almost everyone who used them woke up with a sore neck.  In the middle of the 2nd night, I cast mine onto the floor and slept pillow-less.

Our entire entourage was 24 people in 6 different rooms.  Lots of kids.  But most of the other guests were in the same boat so we didn’t drive too many people at the hotel crazy.  You were not supposed to wear beach attire in the lobby since they had a relatively upscale restaurant there.  We had to come and go through the basement to either the beach or the pool area.  This was the first time I ever needed a beach pass.  The adults had little pins to prove you had beach access.  If you didn’t have one, you could buy a wrist band for $8/day to have access to the beach.  Lots of rules, but the beach was pretty clean and well kept.  You could see the life guards training as they prepared for the summer rush that was about to hit them.  They got plenty of work with the whistle as people would drift too close to the breakers.  If those waves pushed you against the rocks, they would do serious damage.

The boardwalk was initially built by the WPA in 1937, stretching for a good distance for all those interested in walking or jogging.  It was very beautiful.  I hadn’t heard the sound of the surf for over a year.  It was a welcome sound- relaxing and peaceful.  After getting on the beach- after spending a long time lathering up- I took a good long walk on the beach thinking about ministry, ambition and other matters.  No iPod- does that surprise you?  But I didn’t want lots of sand to muck it up.

I tried to get into the water.  It was like a liquid ice flow.  I’ve been spoiled by that Gulf Coast water.  This was like Gulf Coast circa February.  Cold, reason I left New England cold.  Body parts retreating in agony cold.  And there was something strange in the water.  Tiny jellyfish.  No one warned me about this.  Thankfully they didn’t sting.  They just got all over you, stuck to you like … jelly.  Waiting to die and give you an unpleasant odor.  Yeah, not exciting.

By late afternoon, as the sun started to work its way through the sun block I made my way to the pool, and some shade, with the kids.  I had read some more of The Original Curse and talked with numerous people from the entourage.  CavSon was having a ball in the kiddie pool, which used to be hot tub the overly friendly lady in the yellow dress told me.  I soaked my feet as CavSon refused to talk to her daughter who inexplicably had one of those inflatable ducks kids float in- in the kiddie pool.  Where is CavWife to run interference.  Then again, why would this person be interested in me.  I’m feeling less than attractive with a few extra pounds around the middle covered by my t-shirt.  But I’m told my legs are still sexy.  Maybe it was those legs.  Maybe it was just wishful thinking since I’m feeling oh so unattractive.

Then I notice the kiddie pool seems to be filled with jelly fish from the 50 kids who have been there earlier in the day.  I’m kinda grossed out.  I want to leave, ASAP.  But CavSon is having too much fun.  And he’s NOT going into the big pool.  CavGirl is trying to remember her swimming lessons, but needs dad to help her.  So off I go to help her, having to remove my shirt and feeling awkward and gross.  At some point I became my father, minus the powerful forearms, and I’m not liking it.

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Last night I went to the home opener for the 2011 season.  If you know me, you might be thinking “You were in Boston?”.  Nope, I went up to Phoenix to catch the Diamondbacks’ home opener. It was my first trip to Chase Field to watch a ball game.

We were a little late getting to the game.  Traffic in Phoenix was predictably lousy.  The signs for the park actually took people the longer way to the field.  We wanted to get there on time because they were having a fly over by some F-16s.  When you have a pilot in the car, that is an even greater priority than usual.  We did see the fly over, sort of.  We saw the planes heading toward Chase Field while we were still dodging traffic.  We did get numerous fly overs from commercial jets leaving nearby Sky Harbor.  Some must have been D’Backs’ fans since they flew unusually close.

Once off the highway, it was fairly easy to get to Chase Field.  Finding parking was another matter.  Actually, it wasn’t very difficult aside from the fact that the light rail kept us from getting to some of the parking lots.  Word for those deeply in love with light rail as the solution for numerous woes.  It can create traffic hazards.  Just factor all that stuff in.

This was the first time I went to a ball field in which the field was below the entrance.  Usually the field is on the street level.  Our seats were pretty easy to find even though we were distracted with the game having already begun.  They were facing the Cincinnati Reds for the first home series of the season.  It wasn’t looking good at the outset.  The D’backs had a rough season last year.  They made lots of changes, but the Reds are essentially the same team that took their division.  Ian Kennedy was on the mound for the D’backs, which did not instill lots of hope.

We found our seats in the left field bleachers.  We were in the lower level, not too far from the bull pen.  It had been awhile since I’ve been in the bleachers.  They were bench seats, but fairly comfortable.  Except for the cup holder which I kept hitting with my knee.  That is until the guys next to me left around the 7th inning.

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I’ll freely admit it; I’m a little behind the times.  In this instance I’m only about 18 months behind the times.  The Search for God and Guinness: A Biography of the Beer that Changed the World by Stephen Mansfield came out in 2009.  I picked it up with a gift card for my birthday in late 2010.  I’ve slowly been reading it in my spare time.  Finally, I am done.

In some ways it has the feel of a conversation at a pub over a pint or 2 of Guinness.  The conversation will shift periodically to seemingly unconnected things.  This book covers plenty of ground.  As a result, it is not as in-depth as some people might like.  The point is more the big picture than the details.  There were sections I really liked, and sections I found frustrating.

He starts before Guinness.  Since this is about God and beer, he develops the history of beer and how it was viewed “back in the day.”  Just today I heard a brief selection of a sermon by a local pastor who indicated that having a beer was worldly and should not be something Christians do for evangelism (I agree on that last part, it should be done for the glory of God!).  In a world without much clean water, beer was a safe beverage.  The monks and nuns often brewed beer.  Since beer has a lower alcohol content than wine and particularly hard liquor, it was viewed as a blessing by the church.  Faith did not reject beer, only drunkenness.  This is one of the better chapters in the book.  But the people who most need to read it, probably never will.

“John Wesley drank wine, was something of an ale-expert, and often made sure that his Methodist preachers were paid in one of the vital currencies of the day- rum.”

The second chapter focuses on Arthur Guinness and the birth of Guinness.  He was a methodical man who slowly perfected his art brewing beer for Reverend Price (as did his father).  But he also took calculated risks.  When he was ready, he started his independent brewery.  They had one brew- a stout.  To this day it remains a very good stout.  I’ve had better stouts, but it is consistently good.  It was also good for the people of Ireland and England.  The gin craze had hit and drunkenness was a growing problem.

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I'm Excited, But It's Early

It wasn’t supposed to turn out this way.

My congregants know I’m a Boston sports fan from my childhood.  As part of pastor appreciation in October, I was given 2 tickets to the Celtics-Suns game when the Celtics made their only appearance in Phoenix (unless both teams inexplicably end up in the the Finals).  The long-awaited day finally arrived.  The night before I watched the Celtics play a tough game in Portland, and expected them to come out flat.  I couldn’t have expected what unfolded.

Around 3:30, the guy who lives with us (henceforth known as CavFriend) and I departed Casa Cav for Phoenix.  He grew up in Phoenix, so I was glad to have him as navigator.  It was pretty much smooth sailing on good ol’ I-10.  While driving, CavFriend finalized plans for us to have dinner with some of his family members.  We were going to meet his dad at Tom’s Tavern at 6:30.

We arrived into town a bit early and drove around trying to find parking.  Plenty of open meters to choose from.  But, unlike anyplace I’ve ever been the meters were operational until 8 pm.  While we could have moved the car after the 2 hour limit (7:30), we didn’t have enough quarters to get us that far.  So, we bit the bullet and paid for the $8 event parking in a garage a few blocks from the arena.  The closer garage was $10, and the closest was $15, so a good move.

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It finally happened today- the kids woke up at 7 am MST.  We had a busy day ahead of us.  We needed to get the kids alittle something to tide them over to the brunch at the church.  You know kids can’t really wait when they are hungry.  So we went down and had “first breakfast”- a bowl of cereal.  I went retro with Corn Pops while they had the Special K with berries.  Then I took the stir-crazy mob of 2 on a walk to the local golf course.  They love looking at the cacti.  I also pulled a super ball out of a palm tree and they spent 5 minutes tossing it into the netting by one of the holes.  Gotta love kids!

We then headed to the brunch to meet more members of the congregation.  It was a good time.  I enjoyed some yummy salad and hash browns, and the first time I’ve had Quiche in about 20 years.  The kids then went outside while CavWife and I interacted with people.  I enjoyed talking with a World Harvest missionary from London who is home on furlough.  Then (as CavWife says) I held court, talking with a bunch of guys about R.C. Sproul, Cornelius Van Til, apologetics, the Marrow Controversy and a variety of other subjects they brought up.  Before we knew it it was after noon and time to head back.

The kids were tired from running around, but we knew they would need something to tide them over until dinner since second breakfast was at 10.  We picked up some popcorn chicken at KFC, ate and put those nubbers down to sleep.  I took a nap too.

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