Mini Me?

Yesterday I test-drove a used but almost new Mini, which was quite delightful. I am toying with the idea of getting a second car since the Prius is in such demand these days with Rob’s and my both working in different locations (in opposite directions). Although I strenuously argued a few months ago that we could make do without even one car, my tune has changed. I love the idea of walking and taking public transportation when I can, but what I don’t care for is the idea that even more of my precious time can be stolen away in this fashion. I guess it all comes down to whether I want to spend two hours a day commuting or a few hundred dollars a month on more freedom. Do I want a home life with my husband or a bus life with eighty strangers, many of whom do not seem to smell very pleasant?

Well, anyway, I’ve asked them to hold the car for me until Saturday and I can decide then. I’d get an electric car if I could but living in the city as I do, there is no place to plug it in. I like the idea of buying a used car from a dealer, which is sort of the best of all worlds pricewise and securitywise. And I can see Minis hold their value because all of the used ones I’ve been looking at are only a couple of thousand dollars off from their new prices. Mileage is pretty good-not as good as the Prius, obviously. It’s clear I should look around and try to figure out some options, but my whole problem is that I don’t even have time to ride the bus, so how am I going to have time to shop for a car?

Any thoughts from those who may have already thought this through?


Where Ya Goin’?

Is it still 2008? Jesus god, is this the longest fucking year in the history of the universe? From my grandfather’s stories, I had supposed that living through a Great Depression would be so jolly, but now I know what sent all of those people jumping out of windows. It’s like when World War I went from being the grandiose “Great War” to just boring old “World War I,” sort of a prologue to the real action. Can we just call the Bush Era “Ginormous Clusterfuck II” and have it done with? Then all of the traditionally married couples can have another baby boom and screw everything up even worse for future generations.

I feel a little guilty writing here. I feel like I should be doing something else, and since I found my to-do list, I know exactly what that something else is. I also feel like I shouldn’t be so bitter and tense and furious all the time. I heard America’s Treasure® Maya Angelou on the radio the other day, and she was talking about how people shouldn’t complain or whine because that only makes things worse. I agree, but I also feel that complaining creatively can sort of defuse things. I can’t fool myself into feeling I’m doing anything remotely creative, but that is neither here nor there.

OK, something good: I downloaded the latest iPhone software today, and I really love how the Google Maps gives walking and public transportation directions and even tells what time the bus supposedly comes. This being Baltimore, the key word of any public transportation is “supposed.” But I won’t complain or whine. I’ve walked and taken the bus and light rail a great deal lately, and it’s all fine. Everything is fine. You can get there from here.

That was the motto of my old college: You Can Get There from Here.

Its unofficial codicil: But Where Ya Goin’? Nowhere!


Hey Your Glass is Empty. It’s a Hell of a Long Way Home.

Self-censorship! I am not going to write about what I want to write about because it is too frustrating. If you have been listening to me rant and rave for the past few weeks or months, you know what it is anyway.

And I’m not going to write about chupacabras, not today.

Well, lately we’ve covered my ongoing love affairs with the espresso machine and Matt Damon, so those are out (although let’s not pretend you don’t want to hear even more sordid details).

Long-time readers may recall my encounter with the Big, Bad Wolf while I was a child. I’ve been thinking about that lately, but not with any fresh insight that would call for further analysis.

It’s not like I have writer’s block. My fingers are dying to express themselves; I just feel curiously empty tonight. Lately, I’ve been filling up that empty space with booze, but I think tonight I’ll just play Bejeweled 2 and then go to bed.


The Tao of Espresso

I need about a twelve-hour stretch of time in which I’m not working to sort of relax and get some things done. I think this is called a “day off,” except the stuff I need to get done is work stuff. I never can seem to do this while I’m at work. What I need to do on my day off is the “fun” part of my job, like designing signs, strategic planning, and so forth. Well, to be honest, there are few parts of my job that do not have some sort of appeal, it’s just that I freak out when I have to do them all at once or when I’m so far behind I can’t do any of them.

I have lately discovered the simple joy of cleaning the espresso machine. I did it today even though it was supposed to be my day off. I went to work anyway and tried to accomplish things, then I cleaned the espresso machine and went home.

Here is how you clean a professional espresso machine:

First you backflush it, which means you send a cleanser up into the pipes to get the old coffee out. This is accomplished with the pressure that builds up when you block the hot water from coming out. After using the cleanser, you have to do the same thing without the cleanser to rinse it all out.

Once that’s out of the way, you take out the grilles that cover the drain pan where the excess water and espresso go. You wash the all of those in the sink. Our sink isn’t big enough for the drain pan, so you have to do one side at a time.

Then comes the general polishing. We have an organic all-purpose cleaner that we use to get all of the spatters, fingerprints, water droplets, etc. off the machine, especially the polished chrome back and edges.

And lastly, you reassemble the whole thing and stare, transfixed, as it gleams in the overhead lights.

It is ironic that I own a café and I don’t even like coffee, but I do like my friend the espresso machine.



I was just thinking about my husband and how good he is to me. When my sanity had occasion to nosedive in the past month or two, Rob stepped up and rescued me from the overwhelming travails of work and home. He is my hero.

Now I feel sort of bad about my ongoing affair with Matt Damon.


You’re Welcome

Yesterday I went to the polls and to work secretly wearing my Barack Obama tee shirt for luck, so it’s no wonder that he won so early and decisively. I had confidence-there was something like only a nine percent chance that McCain could win without the usual Republican illegal antics—but don’t you hate it when you have confidence in something and also a nervous breakdown at the same time?

In 2004 and 2006 I went to bed early and didn’t watch the returns, but this year I drank several bottles of wine and Facebooked and Twittered my anxiety across the ether, where it was reflected back by friendly voices who were in the same boat. I barely knew Facebook and Twitter were alive last week, but I now love them. If you’ve been wondering where I’ve been lately, you now have your answer: shooting pithy little sentences about my current activities into an oblivious world. I can even do this from my iPhone, which is very convenient if I happen to have a pithy thought while driving down the highway. Movable Type is so last century.

Anyway, in the spirit of President-Elect Barack Obama, who wishes to unify this great land (even the idiots), I have decided to unify my online activity, or at least make it more ubiquitous for you desperate hordes.

I am going to start mirroring some of my blog posts at Facebook and also post my Facebook and Twitter information here in case anyone wants to see what my typing looks like as I careen off the interstate.

Facebook: do an email address search for the address in the link below

Twitter (for me):

I don’t know what this is going to accomplish, but if my goal during this election cycle has been to make the world a better place, I would be a hypocrite to deprive you of as much of me as you can possibly get.