A small whine.

I used to think I would feel rich if, just once in my life, I could fly first-class to Europe. Those overnight flights are simply impossible to tolerate in a sitting position, and being able to stretch out in Delta One would be fantastic. But now? Now I think I’d feel even richer if we could do one of these trips without having to use Airbnb.

Which is to say: Alan’s trying to unclog the shower drain for the second time this week. And I’d like some coffee, but it would require me getting up to use the moka pot in this place, which makes one (1) cup at a time. Such an amazingly complicated process: Heat water in the electric kettle, disassemble the moka pot, tap a little coffee into the thingie, pour heated water into the bottom of the pot, plop in the coffee thingie, then get a towel or something to hold the bottom (because it’s hot now) while you screw on the top, place on stove. When it gurgles, it’s done. Repeat for a second cup.

Also: There’s no frying pan in the kitchen, just two pots. Also: It takes three flushes to dispose of one turd.

I’ll stop my complaining. I’m in Rome! And we finally found some good places to eat. Some Karen gave this excellent place one star because “they served my pasta in a beat-up old pot.” It was spectacular:

“My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions and loyal servant to the TRUE emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next.”

Rick Steves says the opening acts for gladiators were animal fights, “perhaps dogs attacking porcupines.” As you stand on the higher levels of the Colosseum, you can see its underground, because the arena floor is long-since rotted away. (A partial restoration allows tourists to walk out and give the Russell Crowe speech.) Alan, looking down on the hive of underground cells and passageways: “That’s where they kept the porcupines.”

We also saw the Vatican museums, culminating with the Sistine Chapel. No photos, because it isn’t allowed, but as an art-appreciation experience, I’d put it up there with the Mona Lisa: Too many people, guards barking NO PHOTO because some people either can’t or won’t read, and not a great deal of light, probably to save the artworks. Few places to sit, too. Honestly? Look at some well-photographed art books to appreciate Michelangelo’s genius, and enjoy them in a cafe.

Final complaint: And on the fourth day, I caught a cold. But the weekend lies ahead, what sounds like a delightfully cheesy birthday-of-Roma celebration, with games in the Circus Maximus. Go, Charlie Heston!

Posted at 5:57 am in Holiday photos |

31 responses to “A small whine.”

  1. Jeff Gill said on April 19, 2024 at 7:12 am

    SPQR 2,775!

    I’m just hoping for a good shot of the Forum, Nancy.

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  2. Deborah said on April 19, 2024 at 8:13 am

    I’ve come to the conclusion that for me it’s best not to try and sleep on international flights. I read or watch movies, if I doze off from time to time, fine. I’ll deal with the jet lag.

    We flew to France once first class, this was back when my husband had a gazillion frequent flyer miles from all of his business trips. And when I traveled internationally for work I got to fly business class. Really I can’t say that I got much more sleep than I do flying coach. It is nice to be prone though.

    If you buy a plastic cone and some filters you can make pour over coffee at the AB&B easy peasy. It might not be too hard to find them in Rome? Or maybe a cheap French press that you can leave there if you don’t have room to pack it back.

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  3. brian stouder said on April 19, 2024 at 10:38 am

    It all sounds wonderful! And, not for nothing, it looks like your weather has allied (magnificently) with your excursions! Thanks again for the updates and observations

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  4. tajalli said on April 19, 2024 at 11:59 am

    I’d be more than happy to lick that ugly pot clean.

    Some people just can’t be pleased.

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  5. Julie Robinson said on April 19, 2024 at 12:22 pm

    The white shirt seems unblemished by sauce. Mine would be splattered.

    It’s been a not great week here, but the sun is shining and I’m in the pool, so I’m not complaining. Onward and upward.

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  6. LAMary said on April 19, 2024 at 12:39 pm

    First time I went to Italy I caught a cold immediately. Went to bed when I got there. Woke up with a cold. I learned the Italian word for cold is raffredore.

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  7. annie said on April 19, 2024 at 12:48 pm

    my brother-in-law is a coffee fanatic. when we stayed with them, I’d come to the kitchen in the morning for coffee & have to wait while he ground the beans, sprinkled a precious bit of ground coffee in the french press, poured boiling water over while it dripped, dripped, dripped into the pot & after a lifetime,I had my small cup of coffee.

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  8. Dave said on April 19, 2024 at 1:27 pm

    Annie, our oldest son is the same way, a few years back, his wife got him a book about coffee and she regrets ever giving him that book. Drip, drip, indeed.

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  9. LAMary said on April 19, 2024 at 2:29 pm

    I’ve been using a Chemex drip pot since 1973. My sons use Chemexes too. You got a problem with that?

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  10. Sherri said on April 19, 2024 at 2:40 pm

    Anybody else notice how we’ve apparently gone from “college students are fragile snowflakes who don’t want to censor opposing viewpoints” to “let’s arrest college students for expressing opposing viewpoints!” practically overnight without a stop in between?

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  11. Dave said on April 19, 2024 at 2:43 pm

    We only have ourselves to please, Mary.

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  12. David C said on April 19, 2024 at 3:30 pm

    Europeans should be able to petition the State Department to take the passport away from anyone who travels to Europe and gripes about stuff being old.

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  13. Deborah said on April 19, 2024 at 3:58 pm

    I make pour over coffee every morning, and it’s decaf. I grind my beans fresh every time, I used to use a chemex but I broke a couple of them over time, now I use a cone with unbleached filters, put the ground coffee in that over a teapot that I haven’t managed to break yet. I pour the boiling water from the kettle over the cone, it takes 2 cone fills to get a full teapot full of finished coffee. In Chicago I do the same thing except instead of a teapot I have a tall stainless steel cylindrical pot with a spout that I put the cone and filter on and I use an electric kettle to heat the water that has a thinner spout so I can pour it over the grounds more accurately. I don’t think it takes that much time at all. We also have a couple of French presses in Chicago that we use when we have company. My favorite coffee in Santa Fe is one with hazelnuts in it and in Chicago I get my beans from Intelligensia which sells a decaf Mexican blend that is just delicious. It’s partly the ritual of the whole process that I enjoy. In Chicago I use a Braun bean grinder that is well over 30 years old. In Santa Fe I’ve gone through 3 new grinders in 11 years.

    When I’m in Abiquiu I used to use a hand grinder for the beans every morning, until we got a solar panel and battery, then I bought a used Braun grinder on Ebay like the one we have in Chicago. I do the pour over process there too but boil the water on a kettle on the wood burning stove. In the summer when I’m there I use a camp stove out back in the summer kitchen.

    My ritual while drinking my coffee is to do games on the NYT website, Wordle, Connections, the Mini and lately I’ve started Strands. After that I do Colorfle which one of the commenters here told us about. Sometimes I get so caught up with the games I forget to drink my coffee so I have to nuke it to heat it back up.

    I’m definitely not a coffee purist though because I drink decaf with cream with no apologies.

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  14. LAMary said on April 19, 2024 at 4:48 pm

    I grind my coffee too. Lately I’ve been buying Ruta Maya dark roast beans.
    Costco French roast is good too.

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  15. tajalli said on April 19, 2024 at 7:38 pm

    Got a Melita at Peet’s on Walnut in July 1973 – made a stopover for the month in Berkeley/SF while on the way to Hawaii and grad school. Still use it, sometimes I grind from whole beans, currently just get it ground from Trader Joe’s. Do a hashiwokakeru and a couple sudokus until the little grey cells engage.

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  16. Dexter Friend said on April 20, 2024 at 8:25 am

    I ground beans for years until I discovered Bustelo in cans and packaging.
    A couple years ago a Mister Coffee broke, no power. So for emergency use, I just took the filter holder, filled a filter with Bustelo, placed it atop the pot, and poured boiling water over the grounds. Now I only use the Keurig when I am hurried. I have a little coffee station upstairs, too, where I use a new Mister Coffee.
    I have had a new French press in its original box for about ten years. I’ll get around to it….

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  17. alex said on April 20, 2024 at 10:29 am

    We buy pre-ground Peet’s coffee and dump it into a plastic Folger’s container because it’s so much easier to spoon out coffee from that than from the bag. (Folger’s is our fall back coffee when the grocery store is out of Peet’s and we love those red plastic tubs for storing things, for use as paint trays, for all kinds of stuff.)

    We burn through Mr. Coffees at a rate of about one every two years or so.

    I used to have a French press and a grinder too, but the grinder ended up getting used for pulverizing marijuana.

    My favorite Peet’s flavors are Big Bang and Major Dick.

    Here’s wishing everyone a Happy 4/20!

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  18. Julie Robinson said on April 20, 2024 at 11:56 am

    Tea bags. That is all.

    Smoking weed never interested me, but my old and decrepit body thinks a gummie for pain relief might have merit. Especially nights when two Aleve and an ice pack aren’t enough to allow sleep. I haven’t looked into getting a medical card, but we’re voting on legalizing recreational marijuana this fall, so I may become a user after all.

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  19. tajalli said on April 20, 2024 at 12:07 pm

    Got a Krups coffee bean grinder in the early 1980s, still use it but for flax seed for my morning smoothie and for chili powder from Japanese red chilis (“muy fuego” on the package) since I can no longer find cayenne of any sort. Needless to say, I do a final wipe with rubbing alcohol to get out the capsicum oils before grinding more flax. Muy Fuego Strawberry Smoothie does not strike me for breakfast, or any time for that matter.

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  20. Deborah said on April 20, 2024 at 4:45 pm

    Julie, give it a try, I use gummies from time to time to help me sleep and for minor pain while trying to sleep. LB found a brand that is good for those purposes but I don’t have it in front of me because it’s in Santa Fe. I don’t bring it with me to Chicago (where I just arrived) because I don’t know if you’re allowed to take it on planes. Both NM and Illinois have legal weed but I’ve never tried to buy it in Chicago, meanwhile there’s a dispensary on just about every street corner in Santa Fe. the kind I use comes in 10 mg and I use half of that for any night I think I might need it. It tastes like candy.

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  21. Julie Robinson said on April 20, 2024 at 5:13 pm

    Deborah, good to know. We’ll see what the ortho guy says about my ankle. If everything internally is fine, it may be the way to go.

    Congratulations to Fort Wayne Democrats, who caucused today and chose Sharon Tucker as mayor, the first Black woman to serve in that position. I’m pleasantly surprised, though I note it took two ballots to get there.

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  22. Heather said on April 20, 2024 at 5:26 pm

    I take a gummy every now and then to relax and fall asleep. I don’t like feeling high so I take a half of the 5mg gummies I get, and they seem to work pretty well.

    You are not supposed to bring them on planes because you’ll be in federal airspace, but I’ve just stuck a few into another snack bag.

    I switched over to tea some years ago and have developed an expensive addiction to Mariage Freres. I do have coffee occasionally and mostly use a French press. I don’t drink it often enough to invest in a grinder or great coffee, but I find the house brands from Aldi are actually pretty good.

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  23. LAMary said on April 20, 2024 at 6:38 pm

    Gummies work. I like Dr. Teal’s Sleep Spray too. I’ve suggested it to other people and they agreed that it’s a big help for falling asleep. I use the Dr. Teal’s body wash and sometimes the body lotion as well. It’s a melatonin and lavender mixture. Honest. It works.

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  24. Dexter Friend said on April 21, 2024 at 3:09 am

    I asked my V.A. doctor, a 44 year old lady, about CBD stuff and she said she was not allowed to voice opinion. So far, it violates my sobriety regimen, which I guard with great care. I never found that smoking weed relieved any pain at all, and at times it freaked me out with paranoia-like awareness. Panama Red was what people treasured in the CONUS, and in Viet Nam it was Cambodian Red. Unless you are like at least 72, you likely never heard of Cambodian Red. Words cannot explain that high. It was INTENSE.
    Diclofenac wreaked hell with my body and I was taken off it…that worked, but at great cost to health. Now, just Acetaminophen for me.

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  25. ROGirl said on April 21, 2024 at 7:06 am

    I got my first gummies recently, started with 1/4 of one, got a pleasant buzz and slept well.

    The “eye resting” episodes involving the former president in the courtroom this past week may have been accompanied by gassy emissions.


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  26. Jeff Gill said on April 21, 2024 at 7:06 am

    Lemon & ginger tea in the evening.

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  27. alex said on April 21, 2024 at 10:08 am

    4/20 was quite a productive day for me, celebrating as I did with a good sativa. It’s a strain that helps one focus and stay on task, which is important when you’ve got an overwhelming list of chores and you’re tempted to put them off for another day. And now I feel so accomplished with my clean bathrooms and kitchen, laundered oven mits and kitchen towels, decluttered dining table, transplanted perennials, limewashed stonework. And it was such a nice break from the computer, although my phone kept blowing up with a group text from some of my fellow celebrants.

    I’ve used CBD gummies off and on and they do seem to help with anxiety and aches and pains. Some of my friends use THC gummies recreationally but I’d probably find them useful only for sleep. They really don’t do much for me.

    And today I’m at a complete loss as to where to start, so perhaps it’s time to do a wake ‘n bake.

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  28. Mark P said on April 21, 2024 at 10:20 am

    I used to take naproxen for my bad knees. One pill would give diminishing but reasonable relief for up to three days. Now at least two of my doctors say not to take nsaids because of heart and blood thinner issues. Acetaminophen does nothing for me, so I just have to put up with knee pain. Fortunately it doesn’t keep me from falling asleep, although occasionally one knee starts to ache enough that it wakes me up. Shifting my legs around usually helps.

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  29. David C said on April 21, 2024 at 10:55 am

    I haven’t been able to use anything but acetaminophen for years since I developed an aspirin allergy and when you’re allergic to one nsaid, you’re allergic to them all. I stopped taking acetaminophen when my doctor told me I have a minor liver problem probably from years taking it. I didn’t realize how little it did for me until I stopped taking it. My headaches last just as long with or without and it never felt it did anything for muscle aches.

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  30. susan said on April 21, 2024 at 11:43 am

    I have found that acetaminophen works really well if it has codeine in it. It’s a vehicle for narcotics. Otherwise, does zip.

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  31. Julie Robinson said on April 21, 2024 at 1:14 pm

    Acetaminophen does zilch for me, same for daughter. Elevation and cold help the ankle, but of course it also puts me out of commission. I found a wrap around ice pack with velcro fasteners that hold it on the ankle well. Mark P, that might be helpful for your knee. Cold on the back of the knee helps with pain relief, and cold on the back of the neck helps with nausea. Those last two are courtesy of the nurse who lives up the street.

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