Sometimes, I decide I need something. Something better than what I already own. Like … for argument’s sake … a new coffee machine.

When we were leaving for vacation two weeks ago, we’d driven a few miles before we realized we hadn’t turned off the coffee machine. It’s a very basic Mr. Coffee. Add coffee, water, push start. A few minutes later, coffee is ready. Maybe not THE best coffee on earth, but pretty good, strong, and it’s stays hot until you turn it off. Manually. By pushing the “off” button. Which is what we had forgotten to do.

To be fair, I thought Garry had turned it off and Garry thought I had turned it off. There was no one at home to call except the dogs and they don’t do coffee. Or electrical appliances. We drove back, turned Mr. Coffee off, made a u-turn and were back on our way.

We’ve gone through a variety of fancy coffee makers. Some came with a thermal carafe. One of them ground the beans, then brewed coffee. We’ve had coffee makers famous for producing exceptional coffee. Or making coffee faster, and/or keeping it hotter.

The grind and brew machine — don’t remember the brand, but it was expensive — was such a pain in the butt to clean, we gave it up after a couple of weeks. I notice it is no longer offered for sale. Another great idea down the tubes. We went back to our basic, dependable Mr. Coffee.

A classy Melitta which had the reputation of making a superior brew failed to impress us. It was okay, but nothing to write home about. A few months after we got it, it developed a leak, flooded the kitchen. I am amazed at how much water 12-cups can seem to be when it is sloshing around the floor. Not to worry. I re-installed Mr. Coffee.

A couple of years ago, Mr. Coffee seemed tired, so we purchases a 12-cup Black and Decker coffee machine. It promised to brew coffee faster while keep it hotter. It did both. Except the coffee was awful. It is the only coffee machine I threw in the trash when it was in fine working order. No one wanted it. I popped over the Wally World and bought a basic 12-cup Mr. Coffee.

After the incident in which both of us forgot to turn off Mr. Coffee, I was inspired to try a different solution. I bought — through Amazon — a lovely 12-cup Cuisinart brewer with a thermal carafe. Guaranteed to keep the coffee hot all day without leaving the electricity on. It arrived yesterday. I immediately unpacked it and made a pot of delicious coffee which, as promised, stayed very hot in for more than 6 hours. I was impressed.

I set it up for this morning. When got to the kitchen, I pushed “on,” but my beautiful new coffee maker just sat there. Silent. None of that comforting hissing, dripping, brewing sound. No wonderful scent of coffee. After 30 seconds, it turned itself off. I reread the directions. On the Microsoft theory (when it doubt, reboot), I unplugged it, counted to 20. Plugged it in again. Turned it on. Waited. Nothing.

My son came upstairs. Read the instructions, then did the same thing with the same results. Nothing. “It’s broken,” he assured me.

As it happened, I had a spare (brand new, still in the box) Mr. Coffee in the closet. I had bought it on sale almost a year ago because I could not contemplate a morning without coffee.

As soon as I can pack it up and get it to UPS,  fancy pants Cuisinart goes back it goes to Amazon. I talked to the rep there and she asked me if I wanted a replacement, but I don’t. Given our track record, I’ll stay with Mr. Coffee. It appears to be the only coffee machine we will ever own which makes good coffee with no fuss. No problems, no complications. Easy to clean, cheap to replace.

Our coffee machine is a basic 12-cup Mr. Coffee.  Accept no substitutes. We just have to remember to it off.


Circuitous Paths – A stranger knocks on your door, asking for directions from your home to the closest gas station (or café, or library. Your pick!). Instead of the fastest and shortest route, give him/her the one involving the most fun detours.

I guess this is someone’s idea of funny. I think it’s cruel and mean-spirited. What in the world is funny about sending a stranger all over the place when he or she is lost? Isn’t being lost bad enough?

Nice people you have up there, WordPress.



Cee’s Black & White Challenge: Reflections and Shadows


The bare branches of the cherry trees make a shadow show against the gray stone. Hard to tell where the branches end and the shadows start. The church is on Main Street in Amherst, Massachusetts.

amherst stone church shadows BW


The water of the Blackstone River formed strange reflections. Abstract though they appear, they are actually distorted reflections of trees along the banks. The pictures were naturally almost black and white, so it took very little to complete the process.