Beer Relations 

I spent three days in San Antonio, TX this week at the National Rural Economic Developers Association conference. While there, I took a great tour of the old Pearl Brewery, which became Pabst Brewing Company (PBC) for the last 15 years of operation, until it closed in 2001. This is where they brewed PBR, Pearl, Old English 800, Olympia Beer. You know, quality American beers. Kristine’s cousin Aaron lives in Austin, so he drove down to meet me for dinner before my flight home to Seattle. We decided to meet at the old Pearl Brewery, now known as The Pearl District. 

When Aaron arrived, he told me something I never knew: he used to be the chief microbiologist for PBC in the 1990s. He proceeded to give me my 2nd tour of the old brewery in two days. I learned more about the brewing process in a few hours with Aaron than I’ve learned after decades of beer drinking. Part of the old brewery has been converted into the very cool Hotel Emma, which has a reading library for guests. On a shelf on the 2nd floor of that library are the old, handwritten brewer’s journals where Aaron, in pen, would record the tests of every batch of beer that came out of the brewery between 1993 and 1997. He taught me about the acceptable levels of  bacteria and what his  “TMTC”  notations meant (Too Many To Count).  It is likely that Aaron tested almost every can of PBR I consumed as a young man. If I knew then what I know now…

Aaron, former PBC Chief Microbiologist, reviewing his handwritten notes from nearly 25 years ago. 

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The Henry Book Club 

I woke up in a cold sweat, grabbing my phone to check the time. 1:30 AM.  The book was due back at the library in the morning. I still had 150 pages to go. I quietly crept downstairs so I could turn on a light to read by without waking up Kristine. I managed to barely finish before falling back to sleep. 

Henry returned the book to his school library in the morning, with instructions to check out another one of Carl Hiaasen’s works of middle grade fiction

Over the holidays I became hooked on the books Henry was reading. I’m now on my fourth Carl Hiaasen children’s book. Henry and I have formed a two-person book club of sorts. He reads them first and then recommends my next book, which I always have to read before he’s required to return it to the library. It’s a good system. I do better when I have a deadline, and I’m really enjoying books like Chomp, Hoot, Scat and Flush. Plus, it’s been fun to discuss with Henry the themes of these books, which typically involve saving animals threatened by the unchecked advances of development in South Florida.  

Kristine recently reminded me that I, too, have a library card. But the Henry book club is way more fun. 

Longest Bedtime Story While Child Sleeps

Grandma and Grandpa Eiting gave Henry the 2016 Guinness Book of World Records for his birthday. Tonight at bedtime Henry asked if I’d read out loud from that book instead of Percy Jackson. No problem. I became totally engrossed in this fascinating book, amazed by some of these crazy records. The longest bicycle wheelie in one hour is 15.04 miles, by the way. I was so into the book, I didn’t notice that Henry fell asleep almost immediately. I was reading out loud, to myself, for at least 20 minutes.

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The Boys in the Boat

For the past week, Kristine and I have simultaneously been reading The Boys in the Boat, an excellent book about the 1936 Olympic rowing team from the University of Washington. So much of this story resonates with us. Much of it centers around the life of Joe Rantz, one of the UW rowers, who is the same age as our grandparents. He grows up in several Northwest towns, including Spokane and Sequim – two towns I spent a lot of time in as a kid. So, when we heard that the author, Daniel James Brown, would be speaking on Lopez Island, Kristine and I were determined to go. Luckily, this coincided with my sister Kelley’s visit, so she stayed with the kids while Kristine and I went to the reading at Woodman Hall tonight. It was great to hear more of the author’s perspective about this amazing story and what it represents about our grandparents’ generation – the greatest generation. And to top it off, we were able to snap this photo of Kristine with Mr. Brown.

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Summer begins at Fry Lodge

They did it. Henry and Ruby have successfully completed their first year of school in New York City. It’s been pretty amazing to watch them grow up over the last nine months. They’ve learned so much. To celebrate the start of summer vacation, the kids are staying up way past their bedtime watching Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. I think Ruby is just a tad too fond of Veruca Salt.

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The Littlest Cloud in the Land

Yesterday Ruby presented Kristine with her latest manuscript, called The Littlest Cloud in the Land by Ruby –  complete with illustrations and a page inside listing other well-known books by the author. Here is the full text:

The littlest cloud was named Cloudey. He was happy being the littlest in the land. Even the other clouds called him nice names.  Like Cutie Pie. Then the littlest cloud decided to go on an adventure to visit a Rain Bow. He went up a hill to visit Rain Bow, and at the end of the Rain Bow… there was… TREASURE! Cloudey picked up the treasure, and in the middle of the treasure there was candy!

The End

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