Lite-Brite and Write for Rights

I’ve checked off C and H on the Alphabet Bar List.

Carrie Nation








This restaurant is huge. There is a bar and a restaurant AND a speakeasy! I had to check out the speakeasy, of course. The floor was weathered wood and light was nonexistent save some beaded lamps radiating soft light and candles on the tables. Lots of cozy nooks for intimate conversations.








I tried the Goose Island Honkers Ale; it was quite nice. Just as Mary and I finished our beef sliders, Deb and Linda appeared, ready to hit the next joint.

Highball Lounge

I was only one drink in, but I shrieked like a hyena when I saw this at the entrance:










LITE-BRITE!! I loved this freakin’ thing when I was a kid. All of the different patterns…the smell of the black paper as the heat emanated from the base. I wondered if it was still around so did a quick Google search. Yeah, it’s around. But today’s version has colorful plastic casing and is battery powered. No chance of being a fire hazard = not as cool if you ask me.

Anyway, Highball. Highball is an interesting place. The decor is kind of classy, with chandeliers and all. But then you have a huge painting of a half-dressed woman on the wall and the people at the table next to you are playing Hungry Hungry Hippos. Yes, there are board games; it’s a fun idea. This is a cocktail place, so the beer list was neither comprehensive nor exotic. But I liked the Scrimshaw Pilsner I ordered.










It was a laidback, early evening. Now to plan December’s outing…








December! It’s right around the corner. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving; I hope all of you have a lovely Thanksgiving.

Now for the public service announcement of this post:

1. Saturday is Small Business Saturday.

2. Tuesday is Giving Tuesday.

3. Amnesty International’s Write for Rights campaign begins on December 1. This is an annual holiday tradition of mine and I encourage you to adopt it! Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by the amount of injustice and suffering there is in the world. But every holiday season, I take a deep breath and write letters to governments, asking them to release prisoners of conscience; I also write to the prisoners of conscience themselves. And I feel just a little bit better.






Hunter the Owl

Once in a while, an injured cat makes his or her way to the adoption floor at the animal shelter where I volunteer. If I lived in a bigger apartment, Olive would have a sibling who was blind or cross-eyed or three-legged by now.

So it’s no surprise that I’ve fallen in love with a blind owl.

This is Hunter.









Hunter was hit by a car and can no longer fly because he is vision impaired. Hunter lives at Wild Wings, a sanctuary for birds of prey near my hometown.

I went to Wild Wings for the first time last weekend, while visiting my family for an early Thanksgiving. My dad and I arrived right when it opened to the public for the day, so all of the birds were not out and about in their enclosures yet. But we saw plenty of birds, all of whom were injured in some way so they could no longer fly.

Can you imagine being a bird who couldn’t fly? Does your heart wince at the thought?

Wild Wings is home to a number of different raptor species, including hawks, eagles, and owls. I’ve always loved owls, so I gravitated toward Hunter, especially when we heard him whoo-ing. The sanctuary also rescued a bobcat who was bred for the exotic pet trade and declawed by the breeder. 🙁 Tara was shy, but we got a glimpse of her. She is a beauty.

Wild Wings is a special place and I look forward to supporting it as much as I can. All of the animals can be “adopted,” so I will ensure that Hunter is well taken care of. Here are a few more of the residents:

DSC06175 DSC06197DSC06174DSC06202

Age Discrimination and Alphabet Bar Update

Firstly, Happy Veterans Day to the veterans out there, including my dad!

Secondly, I joined again, even though I swore I would never throw my money its way again. I was sucked in because I received a message about a week ago; I eventually broke down because I wanted to read the message.

It was a one-word message.

Yes, one word. Sadly, this is not the first one-word message I’ve received. Unless you’re Tarzan, you should have the decency to write a complete sentence.

Age and height discrimination is alive and well on Match. Almost all of the men I viewed were either looking for someone younger or taller than I am. I’m just incredulous. Even men my own age are not stooping to date someone who is the same age. Obviously these type of men are not worth my time, but it’s still shocking.

I hadn’t noticed the height discrimination before. Most of the men I viewed were looking for a woman 5’2″ or taller. Why not round down to 5’0″? Does a measly two inches really make a difference?? (I’m 5’1″.)

I cursed and grumbled as I blocked all of these men. Am I too easily offended? Single folks, would you contact these persnickety guys even if your age/physical requirements didn’t match what they were looking for?

Lastly, the alphabet bar update. Mary and I went to The Abbey, which is in our neighborhood. It’s dark and small and cozy = my favorite type of bar. Pumpkin beer was still on the menu, so I had a Cambridge Brewing Great Pumpkin Ale. SO good.











I’m 1/3 of the way through the list now…many more bars to come!




Spirituality and Spirits

I saw His Holiness the Dalai Lama speak on Halloween. This is the third time I’ve seen him, but the first time I understood anything he said. I was sitting in the nosebleed section of an arena the first time I saw him. I saw him in a much smaller venue the second time: an auditorium at MIT that seats a little more than a thousand people. I waited outside for at least an hour, if not more, and was a popsicle by the time I entered the building. I remember that it didn’t feel much warmer inside. I had a decent seat, but I was so cold and tired that I had trouble concentrating. He has a very thick accent, so concentration is key when listening to him.

Yesterday, I arrived at the same MIT auditorium an hour and a half before the doors opened, expecting to see a line. No line! I was the second person in line. The Dalai Lama had a few speaking arrangements in Boston this time around, so my guess is that most people saw him elsewhere. I had forgotten that I bought a ticket in “the cheap seats” section, so I ended up in the back of the auditorium anyway. It was still a good spot. The event started with a musical performance by the Alash Ensemble from the Republic of Tuva. I really enjoyed the music. The performers are throat singers and played some interesting stringed instruments, flutes, and a drum.

As the performance ended, the Dalai Lama entered with his interpreter and four Harvard and MIT professors. The first part of the talk was about climate change and activism. Each professor gave a brief presentation on the topics. The Dalai Lama didn’t speak much, so I was bummed. But then, the professors left and a few children/teens took their places. They had a list of questions from young people all over the world. His Holiness was having a great time with the kids. I still didn’t understand everything he said, but I find it such a joy just to be in his presence. He is the spiritual leader of millions of people and has lived in exile for decades now. He has seen so much suffering. Yet he is so calm and happy. He cracks himself up, which I love to see. And he is very serious when it comes to talking about the relationships between people and between nations, and how we need to realize our interdependence.

After the event, I walked down the street to see a mandala that some Tibetan monks had made in honor of His Holiness’s visit. It was beautiful.















In the evening, I handed out candy at my doorstep. I wondered how long my 130 pieces of candy would last.

Twenty minutes.

My street is blocked off from traffic on Halloween night, complete with police detail. So when I say mobs of children descend on my street, I mean mobs. Children of all sizes came bounding up to me. There were four types:

Children who politely took one piece

Children who took one, and then another, and then another, until their parents stopped them

Children who grabbed a handful

Children who asked how many pieces they could take (I gave them two pieces since they had the courtesy to ask.)

As I watched the costumed kiddos parade by, I recalled the simple joy of dressing up and receiving a boatload of candy once a year. What a great holiday…