Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Bureaucratic polka

Welp, I was hoping that by the time you read this, I’d be street legal, but that Virginia DMV has up its butt is truly wide and deep. Seems that it’s not enough that the name on my California driver’s license and my passport and my Social Security Card should match; the name on my utility bills have to match as well. 

So here’s my yesterday:

Drive a bazillion miles to Shirlington (including paying frickin’ tolls), get in front of a DMV employee and be told that if I want to go home, find some other utility bills that match within an hour, they’ll graciously condescend to allow me back into their appointment-only facility.

(I looked at her and said, “You want me to get Comcast to change my name in their bill in an hour?” All my bills, my mortgage, everything is under the name I’ve been using—and paying taxes under in seven states—for bleedin’ ever.)

Drive a bazillion miles home, realize that I left my tote bag at the counter. My tote bag with my mobile phone. And a book on (wait for it) mindfulness.

Drive a bazilion miles back, get the bag, drive a bazillion miles home and hop on a standup call where I learn that every single time ENG “fix” a problem with the product, they break something else.

Scour the Virginia DMV site for next available appointments and discover that the earliest out there are late December. Across seven or eight DMV locations, which I had to search separately.

(TBF, tho, the DMV both rang me and emailed me to tell me they’d found my bag. Of course, there’s no number for any DMV office where you can ring them. Just that one never-answered number in Richmond.)

So, I’ve got nearly three more months of having to look over my shoulder every time I go two miles over the speed limit. And I have go to the county election place next week to register to vote. That was my whole rationale for getting the license here at all. I am not going through this election without voting.


Monday, September 28, 2020

Gratitude Monday: Everyday special

Shortly after I moved to the environs of The District They Call Columbia for the first time (sheesh—more than 25 years ago!), my friend Suzi in the Research Triangle area sent me four cut-crystal glasses. She described going into Belk—one of the snootier department stores in the South, and picking out the stemware, referring to them as wine glasses.

The sales woman (whom I can well picture as having carefully-arranged greying hair, a tailored suit and tasteful jewelry) admonished her.

 No, deah, these ah watah goblets.”

Suzi—originally from New Jersey, and preferring beer to wine—replied, “No, [Bas Bleu] really likes her wine.”

The woman sniffed, but a sale’s a sale.

They’re absolutely gorgeous, and for a long time I was reluctant to use them except for special occasions. Only no occasion was ever special enough. So I’ve finally pulled them off the high shelf and have been using them for everyday.

Turns out they make the ordinary occasion special. And I’m grateful for that.



Friday, September 25, 2020

In for nasty weather

I still have not figured out why Cadet Bonespurs’ campaign team has chosen to bracket his super-spreader Nazi rallies with two songs you’d think they’d want to steer clear of. Do his goobers not understand the subtext of The Village People’s “YMCA” or John Fogerty’s “Fortunate Son”?

Actually—it’s not even subtext. “It’s fun to stay at the YMCA” against a driving beat? “I ain’t no Senator’s son”? I mean, we’re practically at the sock puppet level.

Well, I’m not giving either of those to you for my Friday earworm today. Instead, we’ll have Fogerty’s “Bad Moon Rising”. Because it certainly feels like that.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Convenience food

Oh, dear—Trader Joe’s has bake-yourself croissants. You pull one out of the freezer, let it proof overnight and bake in the morning.


Just before baking (it puffs up a little more in the oven): 

They come in chocolate and almond (currently, the People’s Republic store is out of the latter). They also have mini-croissants, which you pop straight into the oven from the freezer. 

They’re actually very, very good.

With my new freezer, I can really stock up.

Oh, dear.



Wednesday, September 23, 2020

White goods

 I’m not sure it’s the pandemic, but…

Yeah, it’s the pandemic. Starting in May, what with all the baking I’ve been doing, along with what a pain grocery shopping has become, I started looking for a real freezer to replace the 3 cubic foot one I’ve been using for the past two years.

Turns out that all of America was also looking for freezers, and there were none to be had. (Remember—factories shut down?) Finally, after two months of calling a local appliance shop every couple of weeks, I ordered a 17 cubic foot upright, paid my money and got put on The List.

It came in two weeks ago, and last Friday it was finally delivered.


(Back around April, I was chatting with a friend about all the baking I was doing, and how I had no place to put it all. She made me promise to call her before I bought a chest freezer. Well, in fairness, this is not a chest freezer, so when I sent her these pix she called me a survivalist. Whatevs.)

It’s excessive, I know, but I feel so much more secure now that I have frozen Lebensraum. This week I’m going to Costco to stock up on butter, crab cakes and pot pies. I’m also getting electricians in to split my single kitchen circuit into two. I’ve already blown the one a couple of times (microwave, mini-freezer, toaster oven, refrigerator, wine fridge all drawing juice when I turned on the George Foreman Grill; didn’t even have the dishwasher running), and I do not fancy the prospect of 17 cubic feet of crab cakes and butter going bad.

What can I say: 2020, man.




Tuesday, September 22, 2020


 The very instant I saw “You wanted this” on this envelope, I knew I didn’t.


I was right.



Monday, September 21, 2020

Gratitude Monday: Righteous one

It is somewhat difficult today to haul up gratitude, given not only the loss of Ruth Bader Ginsburg as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, but also the probability that the Kleptocrat and his Repugnant senatorial lackeys will jam through the confirmation of some Kavanagh-level troglodyte ideologue to replace her. 

I mean—I have no words to express my sadness, fear and rage.

So what I’ll focus on Ginsburg’s grace and courage, her meticulous arguments as an attorney and her sharp questioning of lawyers as a Justice. Her 27 years on the Court were preceded by an impressive career as an advocate against gender discrimination. So many people—women and men alike—owe her a debt of gratitude for the work she did for decades. She personified the term “public service”.

As far as I’m concerned, she is indeed a Tzadik, and her memory is a blessing.



Friday, September 18, 2020

Almost lost my mind

It certainly has been a week, hasn’t it? One of those weeks where I just can’t even.

(This applies to work, but especially to the utter shitshow that is our current administration and its Republican enablers.)

So the Shirelles singing “Mama Said” seems absolutely spot on.




Thursday, September 17, 2020

Packing heat

 I’ve mentioned that I love candles, and that IKEA is a great source for them.

Well, after my last post on the matter, I discovered that IKEA was having a sale on tea lights, so I placed an order for them, and a few others. I did not feel like schlepping down to Potomac Mills, and pandemic and all, so I just had them shipped.

They do a good job of updating you on deliveries, so I knew when the shipment was coming. But when it did, I was surprised to see a carton big enough to live in:

I mean, I didn’t think I’d bought enough candles to fill a 32” x 17” x 14” container. I wondered what else those Sons of Scandinavia might have tossed in.

Well, no—it turns out they just wrapped the living daylights out of my candles. Here’s the packing material after I unraveled it all:

Here’s the actual haul:


I think I’m pretty well set for a few months.




Wednesday, September 16, 2020

One day at a time

Ya-hay, folks! 

Following my terrible, horrible, no good, very bad Monday, I have good news. The plumber did indeed restore hot water to my tub/shower, and he did it without damaging the existing tiles. In fact, the new installation delivers a much more powerful gush of water, and I’m so happy. 

At work, we also restored our email deliveries, to the relief of everyone who relies on the information they bring to internal and external customers. There’s no guarantee that this will continue—this delivery system is held together by chewing gum and picture wire, but at least it’s working for now.

And—speaking of workarounds—we have one for internal access to the new hotshot application.

Of course, tonight I’ll be working until 2100 for a call with people in Asia/Pacific. But I don’t guarantee that I won’t have a slurp of wine in me by then.