I should be writing about skiing. But the temps on Dec 29th 2017 in New England's ski country were in sub -20 on the slopes. So, Adam, Rob, Dave and I decided to visit Jack's Abbey Beer Hall and Kitchen in Framingham, MA. Not knowing any of the beers, the waiter helped me select a flight of 8 different beers to try without enough food. I can't remember their names, but they were all good. I must remember to take notes on the beers I try.

From there we drove a few block and made a pitstop at Exhibit 'A' Brewing Company to get provisions for the penultimate activity of the day. But before I get into where we were heading, I have to tell a short story. Exhibit 'A' Brewing Company's tap room was crowded with just over a dozen people sampling the beer and waiting in line buy cans for the road. Next to a large viewing window revealing a large room with brew kettles, tuns and canning equipment, there is a chalkboard proudly pronouncing the food availble to eat with your beer. Adam read the menu and loudly exclaimed "they have poutine!" He said this in his loud Boston accent and since none of us reacted, he repeated it about three times even louder. Yes, his craving for french fries and cheese curds was embarassing.

Now for the really fun part of the day. We brewed our own beer at Barleycorn's Craft Beer in Natick Center! Although we brewed a double IPA, the beer came out well balanced and not too hoppy or bitter tasting because of the "super light extract" in the recipe and the type of hops in the recipe. It is a very drinakable and enjoyable beer for everyone. Each of us stepped up in different ways to perform the tasks ahead. We all had different tasks, I measured oats, malts and hops. Rob grinded the malt and flaked oats cracking the husks before the boil. Dave measured out the super light extract into pitchers while Adam managed the not too distracting conversation. The four of us took turns squeezing the balls of hops, oats, and malts with a large wooden paddle to extract maximum flavor and managing the boil. As a crew, we we quite easily distracted by conversation and were kept in line by Tom, the master brewer providing guidance and gentle reminders to watch the clock for the precise timing for the next step. We returned 3 weeks later to add carbonation, bottle the beer, and label the bottles. Max came along to help label the bottles and not taste the beer, wink, wink. After we taste tested the beer, each of us left with 32 tasty bottles of Frostbite Double IPA.

BTW: We created 20 some odd images on the bottle labels, and asked our families to vet the look. The label to the left pays hommage to the meteorologists staffing Mt. Washington's Observatory year round tolerating -35 degrees F with 85 mile an hour winds that, as the picture shows, turns boiling water instantly to snow! Our beer is a certain cure for that kind of Frostbite!

Fenway Park in April 2017

Taken with a Pixel XL, I can't believe a cell phone can create images like this...

 

Mike's words of remembrance followed by Marianne's

Today I learned that at 7:18 AM every morning, Dad’s iPhone alarm flashes in all caps, “GET YOUR ASS UP!”

7:18 - He picked this time to, yes, be awake before Jean, his Aide, faithfully arrived. But why 18 minutes after the hour and not 20, he was reminding himself that sometimes life is hard and he was choosing to live life to the fullest extent possible. You see, the Hebrew characters that make up the Hebrew alphabet are also the same characters used for Hebrew Numbers. So, the number 18 also spells the word “life.” The “Get your ass up,” part - He was a funny guy.

At every turn he chose life. And with one look at him, you knew he was a fierce contender psyching himself up along with everyone around him to achieve greatness. Even his van’s license plate read I-L-U-V-1-8. I Luv 18. I love life.

It would be extremely cool if we could name all the folks in this picture from Abe Seidman's (my great grandfather) 70th birthday party in 1945. Click here to see the list of identified people and let me know if you can help.

 

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Max and Ari are two laid back hockey playing Terps. BUT, they don't let their hometown team allegiances to get in the way of normal roommate jibes.

Mike's words of remembrance followed by Marianne's

Max and Evelyn Cohen brought a blond haired baby girl into this world. They loved their only child. She learned only love, friendship and devotion in their caring and never new how to express herself in any other way. Without siblings she always felt very close to her aunts, uncles and cousins. She would spend time with them every chance she got. Growing up in Brookline's Jewish community, she made lifelong friends with summer trips to Nantasket beach. One warm sunny day, two moms seated next to each other on a stretch of sand off C street started talking. Moms being moms, Grandma boasted of her 13 year old Roberta Beth and Nini, boasted of her 15 year old destined to be a doctor son, Joel. I like to think that the day their moms introduced them, both young beach goers knew their lives would be forever filled with adoration.

Mom graduated from Tufts with a degree in early childhood education after leaving Brookline High. She went on to enthrall nursery school students with lots of arts and crafts while instilling an appreciation for all that is good in this world. 

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What a blast it was going back to college and visiting Max. a UMD Freshman. My Terp son played host showing off the beatiful campus. The fearsome Turtle football team put on a show but too bad they lost in the end. The Tailgate party on the quad was delicious and the reggea band kept us entertained! It's tough for an Orange man of the Big East Days to wear a Terp shirt, but I survived.

 

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Needham High School Gaduation Lawn Sign 8 5x11

 

 

Jody, Carly and I were joined by Grandparents and Cousins to proudly watch Max graduate from Needham High School on June 6th, 2016! Click HERE to see the photo album from a great day!

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My little girl isn't little anymore...

Steve and Jens of the Stowe's ski patrol were quite sweaty when the ride of shame arrived at the bottom of the mountain. Thanks Guys.

 

Can you spot the problemS?  - ACL, It is torn; Medial Meniscus, It is torn; MCL, edema present; Extensive Tibia Bone Marrow contusion and

10 guys left Needham, MA to seek the awsome majesty of the White Mountains

Check out the video montage below and the 3 photo albums here (7/15/11, 7/16/11, 7/17/11 ).

Hemlock Gorge is a picturesque area in Newton, Massachusetts.

Click on the photo below for a slideshow of what I saw. Click here for fullscreen slideshow or here for the album. I think my pix are pretty neat. Enjoy.

Needham, Massachusetts holds an annual fireworks display on July 3rd each year at the Needham High School. Thousands of Needhamites claim a blanket's worth of real estate hours before the event. We were there too and enjoyed the show. 

Click on the photo below for a fireworks slideshow. Click here for fullscreen slideshow or here for the album.  I think my pix are pretty neat. Enjoy.

Friends invited us Down East to stay at their home in York, ME. York is an awsome beach comunity with this exquisite Lighthouse and some great people (friends included).

Click the picture for photo album.

Have you ever been to a bullfight? Max and I went to the Bull Ring in Cancun, Mexico. Both Max and I handled the camera and took turns covering our eyes. I put the following 5 min movie together from pics and video clips and set it to some music. I don't suggest you will enjoy what you see, but you may find it interesting.

 "It is a Cannondale. I had a Cannondale. It is my bike!" I said aloud with excited disbelief.

 A year and a half ago the kryptonite lock lay at the base of the parking meter in more pieces than its designers had intended. Not surprisingly, the 120 year old security guard seated behind the glass revolving doors of my office building, saw nothing through his coke bottle glasses. Three months earlier, he did, however, see my attempt to lock my bike in the safe haven of the building's center courtyard and he did his job by stopping me from breaking building policy. The building would not allow bicycles inside.

"Remember last year when my bike was stolen?" I inquired to the old man smoking his pipe and enjoying the fresh air on the cityscaped sidewalk. "There it is!" I barked, fingering in the direction of the parking meter.

"You are kidding." he muttered.

"Useless," I thought as I asked him to call the police if I got into trouble when the messenger came back.

Kneeling down, I began to inspect the all too familiar scratches, scuffs, and nuances of my well worn old friend. I grew very attached to that Cannondale over 13 months and 11,000 miles of European road in 1988.

I sensed the messenger behind me. As I stood up, I stated in my firmest voice, "This is my bike. I want it back now. It was stolen from that exact parking meter a year and a half ago."

The bewildered bicycle messenger stared blankly at me for a moment.

Summer 1998
 
While we were still getting used to being home owners, I emerged from several hours of office meetings to hear the following two messages on my voice mail.
 

 

After listening to the two messages one after another, I immediately called home, was greeted by the answering machine, and left instructions for flipping the circuit breaker to the doorbell to allow it to dry out. Two hours later I emerged from another meeting to hear the final uplifting message. 

Jody and the Spider, part 3