Monthly Archives: February 2022

Burning coffee and Liminal spaces

There is something strangely comforting about the rest stops on the major highways of the East coast. It’s something about the sameness or maybe it’s just the liminal spaces are there to be filled with a repeat of memories.

I have been in these spaces with every conglomeration of family and friends. I have been sick and well. I have burned my tongue of vending machine coffee and gone back for more even knowing that I will do the same damned thing.

\A much beloved coffee machine whose favorite offering is easy to see. Photo by Kate Ressman. 2022. Virginia rest stop.

I am an American and driving is part of our national identity. These truck stops are pauses. Spaces without real identity, but I can tell you that Chesapeake House is better than Maryland House and that Clara Barton doesn’t have the good vending machines.

I know that When I put two dollars into the coffee machine for lightener and sweetener that my coffee will come out not great, but good. Consistent. My first real memory off coffee is from one of these machines.

The bathrooms are universally either under construction or being cleaned so are always only partially opened. There are rarely lines, but when they exist they are usually related to the passenger busses if tourists or high school sports teams.

This is the rhythm of life. Of birthdays and Christmas, Thanksgiving and funerals, college commutes and road trips.

America thrives on a steady diet of motion and travel. And there is such beauty in the stream of traffic and life that pulses, stopping to rest for a moment. To have a picnic lunch or walk the dog. For toddlers just learning the ins and outs of bathrooms and crowds. Families and friends taking pictures to record a ridiculous moment at a rest stop that has a pretty sculptor a special historical sign.

And yet I know that I will never see these people again. We are part of the same stream, the blood in the arteries that separate and bring us closer together. But we are not friends. We are simply molecules sharing the same space for a moment. Maybe sharing a laugh or a smile. Being a little grumpy or tired, waiting our turn for the caffeine.

But sharing still a time and place. And I can never not love that.

Even when the coffee burns my tongue again.

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Books to Read: February 2022

Summer Sons – Lee Mandelo

Vita Nostra – Maryana & Sehiy Dyachenko

Psychology of Intelligence Analysis – Richard Heuer

Worlds in Shadow – Patrick Nunn

Hell’s Princess – Harold Schechter

Silent Spring – Rachel Carson

The UFO People <– the author of this book is a journalist with VICE

Influence – Robert Cialdini

Jack the Ripper: A New Theory – William Steart

7 Powers – Hamilton Helmer

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Sunday Night Music: Havana

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Books Read February 2022

Short Stories

  • Translated from the Original Shark – Briane Pagel
  • Lovecraft’s Monsters – ed. Ellen Datlow
  • Wonderland – Ed. Marie O’Regan, Paul Kane & Angela Slatter


  • Embrace Your Weird – Felicia Day
  • The Little Book of Hygge – Meik Wiking
  • Goodbye, Things – Fumio Sasaki
  • Year of Yes – Shonda Rhimes

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Quote of the Week – February 25, 2022

Let your life dance lightly on the edges of time like dew on the tip of a leaf.

Rabindranath Tagore

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Sunday Night Music: Hotel California

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A List of Things I Would Have Taken a Picture of If I’d Had a Camera

1. The perfect Mt. Fuji the foaming soap made in my hand. 

Obviously, I couldn’t take this picture because, repeat after me, “we do not take pictures in the bathroom.” This is not completely a hard and fast rule, of course, but I don’t like to use my phone with dirty hands. Especially not in this health-economy.

2. The beautiful texture that the repeated scraping of the door-lock on my bathroom stall made.

Please see the above reasoning for this. It was a lovely texture of silvers and greys, more shades than I can name and it sparkled in the harsh light of the public bathroom. One could see that the latch had actually been worn down as well and nestled tightly in the holder. It was wedge-shaped and worn by time and use. The distillation of time and change and entropy, but also belonging and the way we rub together to build something bigger. Two halves of a whole made of shiny chrome. 

3. The sunset as I walked out onto the top of the parking garage.

It was perfect timing as I walked out. The last warm rays of the sunlight were still lighting the clouds from underneath and the blues and reds were incredible. By the time I could have gotten the shot, it was gone. Like I said, it was perfect timing and I’m glad that I just experienced it as opposed to trying to capture it. 

4. The winter stars from atop that same parking garage.

The benefits of parking on the top of the parking garage include being able to see nearly to the mountains and all the stars from above the majority of the streetlights. The light of winter is crisp and cold and it was too biting to stand out and watch for long, but it was a clear night with a silvery moon and the stars were just rising. If I’d been a photographer, I would have set up a time lapse camera and tried to get a sense of it from my back porch. As it is, I’ve stored it away and will probably try to paint it some day, if only with words. 

5. The texture that my sparkly mask leaves on the back of my hand when I’ve been resting my cheek on it.

I work in an office as my day job, and I am required to wear a mask when I’m not actively eating. I have no problem with that. I do have a problem with boring black masks that make me look like I’m up to something. Instead, I have a series of sparkly masks. (Don’t worry, the sparkly layer is either glued on or an additional mesh layer on top of the others.) The back of my hand starts to get properly spaced little red divots in it though which makes me look like I’m trying to become a new Star Trek species, or I’m discovering my long-lost dragonborn roots. In any case, I never think to replicate it at home and pictures at work are also a no-go for many reasons. 

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Quote of the Week – February 18, 2022

The obstacle is the path.


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Sunday Night Music: Beaches of Cheyenne

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Quote of the Week – February 11, 2022

It is only the first step that is difficult.

Marie de Vichy-Chamrond

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