You Don’t Have to Take My Word for It

Happy 2019 to all. 2018 was a rough one for me, so I feel kind of shell shocked as I face a new year. Sometimes all you can do is put one foot in front of the other, and that’s what I will do for now.

To cheer myself up, I’ll tell you about seeing one of my favorite celebrities a couple of months ago. Hint: “You don’t have to take my word for it.”

Yes, LeVar Burton, for those of you who did not watch Reading Rainbow religiously. My father and I also watched him religiously in Star Trek: The Next Generation.

When I learned he was coming to Boston, I bought a ticket to his show even though I had no idea what he would be talking about or doing. I didn’t know about his popular podcast until I asked Google what the show would be about.

So what he does in his live shows is pick a local author and read the author’s short story, with musical accompaniment. Then he invites the author on stage and they do a Q & A and take questions from the audience.

For the Boston show, he read a short story by Ken Liu. It was a sci-fi/fantasy story, so at first I was unenthused because I don’t read that genre of literature. But, of course, it did not take long for me to fall under LeVar’s spell.

The Q & A was great because both LeVar and Ken were charming and witty as hell. If you are a fan of LeVar Burton or a fan of literature, I highly recommend his live show and podcast. Seeing him in person was one of the highlights of my year!

Story Hour

A friend and I saw one of our childhood heroes the other day: Judy Blume. She’s touring the country for her new novel, In the Unlikely Event.

I haven’t read any of her books in decades, but when I heard that she was coming to my neighborhood bookstore, I had. to. go.

I remembered loving her books: Freckle Juice, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, Superfudge. I have a vivid two-second-long memory of checking out Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret at my school library.

Judy was witty and charming, and now I have a desire to reread some of her books. I don’t remember reading Forever and apparently I have been missing out all of these years.

Thinking about her books has reminded me of how much I loved to read when I was young. I remember reading 50+ books in one summer. Favorites that I remember: Little House on the Prairie series, Chronicles of Narnia Series, anything by Judy Blume, anything by Beverly Cleary, Anne of Green Gables series, Betsy-Tacy series, Baby-sitters Club series, Amelia Bedelia series, Dr. Seuss, Roald Dahl…

Over the years, I’ve found less and less time to read. But I still love buying books and subscribing to magazines.











This is the current state of my main bookshelf and magazine shelf = overflowing. So I’ve decided to schedule an “adult story hour” a few times per week. I spend way too much time in front of a computer.

How much time do you set aside for reading each week?

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.






The Wild West and the 1980s


I’ve closed out the ninth annual birthday list with a film about the Wild West and a meal at an ’80s-themed diner.

The other night I watched Stagecoach (#63 in AFI’s Top 100 Movie List). I became cast under the spell of a fella named John Wayne. Where has he been all my life? I figured that I had seen him in something or other before. But he made quite an impression on me in this film. I didn’t think I was into the Western genre of film, until I started watching the ones on the top 100 list. Turns out they are pretty damn good. Drama, adventure, romance. It’s all there in the Wild West.

Today I went to an ’80’s-themed diner called the Breakfast Club. I had driven by it multiple times over the years. I don’t know what took me so long, as I love diners and I love the ’80s. Well, it lived up to my expectations. Anya and I waited in line for a few minutes, but it moved pretty quickly. We grabbed a spot at the counter and took in all the mayhem that is a diner on a Saturday morning. The food was great and I felt like I was in the movie The Breakfast Club when this song came on over the speakers. In other words, it was heaven on earth.













Here’s the recap. Thanks to everyone who accompanied me on excursions. Now I have four months off until the next list begins…


1. Eat at Michael’s Deli                        January 5

2. Watch Nashville                               January 5

3. Apply nail art to my nails              January 13

4. See a concert at Portsmouth

Music Hall                                            January 19

5. Get DNA analyzed                         February 1

6. Use teeth whitening strips          February 3

7. Eat at Busy Bee Diner                  February 8

8. Read Why We Can’t Wait                February 10

9. Visit Chinese bakeries                   February 28

10. Attend a genealogy workshop      March 2

11. Become a member of NEHGS       March 2

12. Read Henderson the Rain King        March 3

13. Watch Birth of a Nation                   March 8

14. Eat char roe                                     March 10

15. Eat at Sandrine’s Bistro                  March 23

16. Watch A Clockwork Orange             March 24

17. Take pearl knotting class               March 26

18. Buy Sonny Rollins CD                     June 15

19. Visit South Berwick, ME                 June 22

20. Visit Prescott House                       June 29

21. Make lotion                                     June 29

22. Watch Best Years of

            Our Lives                                   June 29

23. Volunteer at a monastery            July 5

24. Try foot reflexology                       July 8

25. Read Appointment in Samarra     July 10

26. Buy left-handed knife                  July 11

27. Try Shandy Bass                           July 17

28. Eat dim sum                                  July 20

29. Visit Plymouth Rock                     July 27

30. Make pickled carrots                   July 29

31. Read Invisible Man                       July 30

32. Visit Lovells Island                       July 31

33. Have a Ward 8                             August 2

34. Watch poetry slam at Cantab       August 15

35. Visit FL Olmsted Site                      August 17

36. Visit Constitution Beach               August 22

37. Watch Stagecoach                          August 24

38. Eat at Breakfast Club                    August 31



Must-Read for Bostonians


This article about Boston’s public transport system will strike fear in the heart of any Bostonian who uses public transportation. I am now grateful whenever I reach a destination on the T in one piece. This system is running on a wing and a prayer*.


* I don’t use this phrase nearly enough. It makes me happy because it reminds me of the lyrics of The Greatest American Hero theme song.