Tuesday, October 25, 2022


Remember the falconer at the office last month, the one whose job it is to drop by and scare off pigeons?

 She works with her husband, who was at the office tonight with his owl.

Sunday, October 23, 2022

More Than You Ever Wanted to Know About Moka Pots

I do love my Bialetti Moka Express. But every few years, it stops working. The actual mechanics of a Moka are pretty straightforward, so every time it stops working, I think "oh, just clean it out, change the gasket, we're done here."

But it never works like that, and I usually just buy a new one after a new gasket doesn't stop Moka from sputtering a sad little trickle instead of flowing smoothly. (Yes, I could buy a fancy espresso machine but my kitchen is small and I'm stubborn.)

Saturday, October 22, 2022

The Ancestral Quarry

Last Sunday morning, I left my mom’s house early and headed up Interstate 66 toward Dulles Airport. I still think of I-66 as the “new highway,” because it was finished after Star Wars debuted, after I was in junior high, after my parents split up, after the last time I would have gone with my dad to see Lost John Austin, the alcoholic quarryman moonshiner who had raised him.

When my dad died in January, my mom, sister, and I did a deep dive into the past, finding a geologic map that showed the location of the Austin-Barbour Quarry on Bull Run Mountain. Lost John and his BFF Lewis Barbour had owned this quarry. Lewis had lived walking distance from Lost John’s trailer, in a wood cabin with a stone chimney, farther up the rutted dirt and rock road, if you could call it that. I think there had been a Mrs. Barbour when I was small. I don’t remember when Lewis moved into the trailer with Lost John, who himself had been married to my dad’s oldest sister long before I was born, before she died of something preventable. Hillbilly life in the 1950-60s was just different, particularly if you were a mountain man with a distrust of doctors.

Sunday, October 16, 2022

Back East Again

After New York Comic-Con, I headed to my mom's house to meet Charlie the Envigo Beagle before going back to Burbank. Charlie is real cute, though he is a bundle of rescue-dog-anxiety. 

He was kind enough to learn to poop outside for me. Progress!