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Monthly Archives: April 2022

I am over the craft beer craze. I mean seriously OVER IT!

I want to go into a restaurant and order a beer I’ve had before and have it taste the same as it always has. I am tired of needing to do a sampler to find a beer I think I can stomach for this one time. Because I may never see it again and will never ever ever order it again.

My wife and I have started to look at beer lists online before going to a restaurant. The food alone will no longer get us in the door. If they don’t have a beer we recognize, we will not be patronizing that establishment. We like beer. We don’t drink often, but when we go out, there will usually be a couple of beers with dinner or after. But if the restaurant doesn’t have a beer I want, the food loses its appeal. I no longer care how good their BBQ is.

I also don’t understand IPAs. ‘Bitter beer face’ was not a sought-after experience when I grew up. Now I find that there are people that believe that bitter is better. I don’t get it at all. This is fine; they can keep those beers and all the other witches’ brew concoctions that people are labeling as ‘beer’.

Such as these potions that I call ‘gag-beers’, like Habanero Stout or Peanut Butter and Jelly Ale, or even breakfast cereal beer with marshmallows. Those are beers you buy just for the novelty. You will never drink them more than once. But hey, you can now brag that you drank an entire can of HellFire IPA and kept it down. You are that kind of ‘man’! (Yes the quotes are needed.)

Sigh…

After all the forced exploration of the craft beer fad, I have realized that all I really want is a tall Guinness or a Stella or even a good old Miller Lite. I no longer care what your cousin is brewing in his basement. Please stop forcing us to drink it.

Thank you!

Ellis Island should be a required pilgrimage for anyone with immigrant ancestors. Or really anyone that wants to truly understand what makes America America.

We are ‘the’ melting pot, a stew of every race and language and religion and superstition on Earth. Whether we know it or are willing to admit it, our culture and beliefs are a patchwork of every immigrant family that has made their way here.

My own immigrant story is not recent. My Irish ancestors came to America around 1670. So, I haven’t been Irish in 300 years but still identify as being of Irish descent. I think that deserves some discussion.

How long before your family is ‘American’? If you’re white and American-English speaking, it can be almost instantaneous. But if you happen to be non-white or non-European or have a second language, you can assume that it will never happen. You will always be hyphenated-American.

Some Chinese-American families have been here for generations – since before the Civil War – and still speak Chinese but are not considered American by many of their more recently immigrated fellow Americans.

I don’t know if I have any ancestors that came through Ellis Island. Still, I felt the impact of the immigrant experience all the same. The pain, suffering, and desperation that traveled through that place is both tragic and heartening. I believe it is that suffering that created the fortitude that immigrants contributed to our country’s fabric. People came here with nothing but hope, leaving behind family, friends, and everything they had ever known. They did this knowing that it would be forever. Many had nothing waiting for them here, nothing but the pie-in-the-sky hope that was and is America.

Today America is still that pie-in-the-sky hope for many people. But we seem to have forgotten the humble origins that made us. My ancestors were German and Irish immigrants that came here for a better future. I don’t feel that I or anyone has the right to deny someone else the ability to pursue the same hope that our grandparents and great-grandparents were given. Were they any more desirable than a poor family from south of the border? I don’t believe that your country of origin determines your moral fabric or the strength of your character.  

Cages for the undesirables.

Our visit to Ellis Island distilled the immigrant experience down to its essence. It was clear that immigrating is not a holiday or a vacation visit. It’s never short-term. There is no trial basis that can be reversed if it doesn’t work out. It is forever for most. Immigrants almost never go back to visit the old village or those long-lost cousins. The families and friends and homes left behind were gone forever, never to be seen again.

One of the most tragic things we learned was that some families were separated upon reaching America. People were not allowed in willie-nillie. They were inspected for diseases, sometimes even political affiliation. If grandma was suspected of being sickly, she was sent back to their port of origin, often never to be heard from again. Those are the tragic stories that we don’t hear about. But those are the experiences that made America.

“Whatever happened to great-grandma?”

“No one knows…”

Liberty from Ellis Island

Walking on Bones

Moving through our day to day

Walking on bones of dreams tossed away

Books left unwritten, houses unbuilt

Far lands unexplored, and blood spilt

We know not our path or destination

Yet, dream them up to pass the time

Till our real dream is shown

Our destination revealed

And our selves complete

A W Kearney 2022

Growing up is not only about getting older. In fact, age does not automatically translate to ‘grown up’. It’s also about finding yourself. The problem is, you’re a moving target. The real you is not always who you thought you were. It can change from one day to the next.

In truth: Who are today is not who will be tomorrow.

So, how can you achieve your dreams or even find them if you can’t even find yourself.

Our goals and dreams and aspirations change as we change. Our dreams are tossed away or lost and forgotten like sweatshirts. We can get new ones. Once in a while an old one happens to turn up in the back of the closet and can become a focus again. But most are left behind with our promises, intentions, and acquaintances.

Our life is a trail of debris.

I have been away from the blog for a bit because of other activities. I’ve been busy, and there is only so much time in the day. I do have some writing in the works, but most of my time has been spent working on the house. We have been living here for a year and have made significant progress. Not enough to totally please the Goddess, yet enough to make it livable.

One of my projects was to mount the microwave oven in the kitchen. Leaving it sitting on the counter was never going to fly.

Our century house was never meant to have a big kitchen, which is sad. I am the cook and would love a well-laid-out kitchen. I will never have one in this house and have come to terms with that. However, I think we can still make our kitchen awesome until we can do a full remodel one of these days.

The room has an exposed chimney with bare brick, which looks cool as hell. But the mortar is beginning to crumble a little and we didn’t want to repair it because that would ruin the effect.

What’s better: new brickwork or 100-year-old brickwork?

My stove sits in front of the chimney, and I wanted to mount our big-ass microwave above it. This was a great plan but not an easily executed one. The chimney is beginning to crumble a little, and I didn’t want my microwave falling on anyone sometime in the future.

I approached this project as an engineer.

  1. There was no place for me to support the microwave from above; it would need to hang from the bricks alone.
  2. There were no commercial solutions that would fit my needs.
  3. I will have to create something!
    1. (Evil laugh while rubbing my hands together!)

I purchased some heavy-duty countertop brackets used for marble counters. They were strong enough to support the microwave alone, but the bricks were not. I would need to provide much more of a connection to the chimney. To give the brackets something to connect to, I purchased some steel strips and drilled them to match the hole pattern of the brackets. I wanted plenty of connection points with the brick.

Old brick has a tendency to crack easily, which is BAD! And I also avoided drilling into the crumbly mortar, I couldn’t rely on it to hold over time. I carefully drilled into the bricks and used anchor bolts to attach the brackets to the wall.

Then together, we hung the microwave and pushed the stove back into place. I still need to vent the fan somehow – venting back into the room doesn’t really do much.

I think it looks amazing. I am very happy with the results.

And, of course, so is the Goddess!

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