A Taste of Home

I’ve lived in the same general area of Boston for 16 years and have never owned a car. That partially explains why it took me so long to check out an ice cream (well, frozen custard) shop that is not accessible by subway. As a passenger in a car, I would ride by this ice cream shop possibly two or three times a year.

Every time, I would study the sign, Abbott’s, and wonder if it could be the same Abbott’s that I grew up with in Rochester, New York. The logo looked exactly the same. Nah…

 

 

 

 

 

 

So this was the year that I found out that yes, it is the same Abbott’s! I didn’t have to ask to be sure, because this sign was hanging in the window:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The glare makes the sign difficult to read, but basically, some Rochesterians moved here and missed the frozen custard so much that they convinced the owners to let them open a franchise.

Not only was there frozen custard, there were Zweigle’s white hots for sale! And there were pennants of Rochester universities on the wall! What a treat to find a taste of home in the backyard of my second home.

 

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Free Rise

New England is a great place to live if beer is your libation of choice. New breweries seem to be popping up all the time.

Don’t ask me why it took me a few years to make it to Trillium Brewing Company, even though it’s a 15-minute walk from my office, because I have no answer.

But this was the year that I added it to the birthday list. It’s a small shop on a random side street in South Boston. There is no tasting room; you stop here to buy growlers or cans. Just about two years ago now, Trillium opened a tasting room outside of Boston. Maybe I will get there next year…

I bought a mini-growler of the Free Rise, which is a dry hopped saison. And it was delicious.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next on my list to try is one of its IPAs. Next brewery on my list to try is Turtle Swamp!

A Dolphin Layered in Gold

I read #89 of the Modern Library’s list of top 100 novels: Loving by Henry Green.

Courtesy of wikipedia.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is an upstairs-downstairs story set in an Irish country house during World War II. The story is almost completely composed of dialogue. I had trouble getting into it at first, especially because the downstairs characters have quite the British accents.

Like all good upstairs-downstairs stories, there’s infidelity, troublemaking, camaraderie, and theft (of both hearts and money). What I really enjoyed about Green’s writing is the exquisite details he would slip in now and then—making me pause and marvel.

Here are a few favorite lines:

“She pushed the ashtray with one long lacquered oyster nail across the black slab of polished marble supported by a dolphin layered in gold.”

” He seemed to appraise the dark eyes she sported which were warm and yet caught the light like plums dipped in cold water.”

“Raunce went on looking sideways past her at the red eye of a deer’s stuffed head.”

If you still miss Downton Abbey as I do, this book will bring temporary reprieve…

A History of Saving Lives

I spent two enlightening afternoons at two of Boston’s more off-the-beaten-path museums: the Russell Museum of Medical History and Innovation and the Boston Fire Museum.

The Russell Museum gives a historical overview of Massachusetts General Hospital, or MGH, as we locals say. Founded in 1811, MGH is the third-oldest hospital in the U.S.

Russell Museum, Boston

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s not a large museum, but the artifacts on display are interesting. There is everything from medical instruments from the 1800s to a virtual dissection table that a docent operates for visitors.

Medicine chest from the 1800s

 

 

Virtual dissection table

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I learned that the hospital performed the first arm replantation in 1962, dental insurance didn’t exist in the U.S. until the 1950s, and researchers are studying Weddell seals—who can hold their breath for up to an hour when diving—to gain insight on how to help people with conditions associated with low tissue oxygen levels. I’m not big into science and medicine, but I found it fascinating. Definitely worth a visit.

I thought I would be in and out of the Boston Fire Museum in under an hour.

Boston Fire Museum

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The museum is in one big room, which used to be an actual firehouse. When I arrived, there was a children’s birthday party going on, so I quietly strolled along and looked at a number of old fire engines, a display about the devastating Cocoanut Grove fire in 1942, and artifacts such as “clackers” used in colonial times to wake up sleeping families to alert them of a fire or other emergency.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I had just finished looking at a black-and-white photo of a firefighter emerging from a house fire on a Boston street. The photo was taken in the 1960s; I forget the rank of the firefighter, but he was pretty high up. His lungs were severely damaged during the fire, but he survived. The photo caption also said his three sons were firefighters.

Cue an older gentleman in a red volunteer shirt approaching from stage right, pointing at the photo and saying, “That’s my father.”

Paul and I ended up talking for TWO HOURS. This is what happens when you pair a curious person with a person who exudes passion for his life’s work. He gave me a rundown of his firefighting career. He explained the alarm bell system and all of the different symbols on the helmets that were hanging from the ceiling. Being an animal person, I had to ask him about the horses who used to pull the engines (there was a stable in the back of the firehouse/museum). I’ve always respected firefighters, but my respect reached a new level that day. And it was just a joy to talk with someone who was so dedicated to his career.

Another amazing thing about both museums is that they are free of charge. They gladly accept donations, and I gladly left a donation on my way out.

 

Another New England Delicacy

I’ve lived in Boston for almost two decades and yet I’d never heard of the New England delicacy known as Richie’s Slush…until a few coworkers started raving about it in the office. Some of us hadn’t heard of Richie’s (I wasn’t the only one), so we asked what it was like.

One of the raving coworkers said something along the lines of “It’s creamy like ice cream, but it’s not ice cream.”

“Is it like a Slurpee?” I asked. Because I love Slurpees. My coworker claimed it was better than that.

She proceeded to track down the nearest retailer, a chocolate shop around the corner from the office. Within a few days, I was ordering a watermelon Richie’s Slush at the chocolate shop.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It WAS creamy…but not really. It was smooth, with no crunchy bits of ice at all. I dare say it’s even better than a Slurpee. Or maybe just different. I will always love Slurpees. But I can find room in my heart to love Richie’s as well.

 

 

 

 

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40 things to do on the birthday list!

BirthdayJune 1st, 2015

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