A–Z: Session 2


I checked off two more letters in the alphabet last week:

B: Back Bar

Back Bar is located down a non-descript alley behind a non-descript door.












I half-expected to find a bouncer behind the door, waiting to hear a password.

The space is intimate and reminds me of a living room. I knew this was my kind of place when I read through the beer descriptions and read this under Harpoon Summer: “I don’t know what to write here.”










I had a Brew Free or Die IPA accompanied by a cute ramekin of caramel corn that we were given.

Next up was

I: Independent









OK. First and foremost, I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a high male:female ratio in my 15 years of residency in Boston. Melissa and I might have been the only females in the bar = I need to visit Somerville more often. The vibe I felt was classic pub with a splash of townie. Also my kind of place!

I chose a beer solely on its name: Bouncy House IPA.









These will not be the last Somerville bars on this list; Davis Square is next month’s destination…


Operation A–Z

A few days ago, I embarked on Operation A–Z, which is a fancy way of saying that I need to drink a lot before turning 40 so will be going to 26 bars over the next nine-and-a-half months.

Mom, I was kidding about the “drinking a lot” part, I promise.

Some friends mentioned this idea a few months ago, and I decided to take it on. Because, yes, I’m panicking about turning 40 all ready. I thought this would be a good way to start distracting myself before I start the actual birthday list in January.

So 26 divided by 9.5 is 2.74. Therefore, I’ve decided to visit two bars on one Friday night per month, and will have to throw in a third one now and then.

At the moment, I’m picking bars that I haven’t been to before. But that could change. I’m not going in alphabetical order, since I will need to visit two in the same night and strategize accordingly. I am excited to finally get to some bars that I’ve been meaning to visit…for 15 years. 15 YEARS.

Here we go…

Bar #1: J









I’ve attempted to go to JM Curley a few times…it’s always been packed. My friends and I lucked out earlier this week. Three seats smack in the middle of the bar. Unfortunately the bartender thought there was a brick wall between him and us. Or maybe someone threw Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak on us as a joke…but we finally ordered and received our beer. I ordered a Blatant IPA and a Hop-Up IPA. It was an IPA kind of day.











We split an order of fried pickles too. So good. Now, will I go back?

Well, we noted that it was a young crowd…but it does have a decent beer list and is close to the office. I’ll give this a “Maybe” rating.

I’m going to another bar next week, so stay tuned. And bring on the suggestions, friends!


Bloodswept Lands and Seas of Red


I hurriedly looked at some photos of Will and Kate at a beautiful installation at the Tower of London during a break at work the other day. The purpose of the installation didn’t register with me at the time. But then, a few days later, Abby sent me a link to photos on a different website. I read more about it and watched some videos about the installation.

And I found myself in tears.

The installation of 888, 246 ceramic red poppies commemorates the centenary of World War I. Artist Paul Cummins and his team are making every ceramic poppy by hand. And volunteers are helping “plant” them on the Tower of London’s grounds.

888, 246 poppies: one for each soldier in Britain and its empire who died in the first World War.

The poppies are for sale, with proceeds going to six charities. I was all set to buy a poppy until I realized that it would cost around $90 to have it shipped to the United States. It’s out of my price range at the moment. Even though I love Britain (those who know me know that is an understatement), I felt strange donating money to charities that are helping British vets when plenty of American vets need help.

*Light bulb appears above my head.* I would find a charity in the States that reunites soldiers with the animals they worked with or met while deployed.

Last month, I read this article about soldiers who are dog handlers, training and taking care of military working dogs who accompany them to sniff out IEDs. And a few weeks ago, I saw a TV news story about a soldier being reunited with a dog he worked with while deployed.

I’m a huge animal lover, so I CAN imagine how important these animals become to soldiers. Not only do the animals sometimes physically save the soldiers, but they also save them emotionally.

I also learned that some soldiers take strays under their wings during deployment. I just reserved this book from the library about a British marine who started a shelter for strays in Afghanistan. What an amazing story!

So I am making a small donation to Puppy Rescue Mission, in honor of all those who died in World War I. More than 30 million people.

I don’t believe that any of my relatives fought in this war. I found WWI draft cards for three of my great-grandfathers. One was 35 years old, one was 24, and one was 20. Did any of your relatives fight in World War I? How will you remember them?

Save the Printed Book

The other day, I read an article about the Boston Public Library’s decision to purge 180,000 books, and it made me want to PURGE MY INSIDES.

Seriously, it almost brought me tears. It’s bad enough that bookstores are an endangered species. If libraries start to “purge” old books to make room for more computers, I’m going to lose my shit. I realize that it’s important to have computers at libraries for public access, but let’s keep the library a library =

“a place where books, magazines, and other materials (such as videos and musical recordings) are available for people to use or borrow.” (Merriam-Webster definition)

I feel like I need to take some kind of action to save the printed book. I guess all I can do, for now, is to keep borrowing books from the library and buying them from the bookstore. NOT FROM AMAZON. I’m only one person, but as Margaret Mead famously said,

mead quote