Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 Metrics: Gas Mileage

Over the last year, we drove our 2008 Toyota Scion a total of 15,407.2 miles, down a bit from 2009's total of 16,737.6 miles. Over the year, we burned 481.27 gallons of gas, averaging 32 miles per gallon. The gas cost us $1,313.19; or $2.72 per gallon on average. By contrast, I paid $3.02 for a gallon today.

Gas mileage varied more this year than last.The best we did was between September 5 and September 22, when we averaged 35.6 miles per gallon. Most of that was highway driving -- to and from the airport for travel to the 2010 NSGIC conference.

Two time periods were tied for worst gas mileage, at 29.2 mpg. One was between January 28 and February 3, when it was fairly cold (with a little snow). The other low-point came immediately following the high-point. Between September 22 and October 5 we also averaged 29.2 mpg, but I have no idea why.

The metrics above are for the period between December 31, 2009 and December 31, 2010. They are derived from my gas mileage log, which is maintained as a Google spreadsheet. I also record mileage using Matt Haughey's, which tells me that my long-term average mileage -- since the summer of 2008 --  has been 32.1 miles per gallon.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Restaurant (Ristorante) Review: Luca

Karen and I headed over to Millsboro this evening to try out the new Italian restaurant - Luca - that opened there this month. We'd both noticed it driving through town and decided to check it out.

Luca is a small place, in the old Delaware Trust Co. bank building, from  1916, at the corner of Main and State Streets. It has been lovingly finished inside, with pressed-tin ceilings, hardwood floors and a bar designed to look like a teller's counter.

The old bank vault has been turned into a private dining room. This evening, a group of about 8 was in there. That was a little tight, but the vault looks like a cool place to eat.

The food, admittedly based only on two data points, was great. Karen had a ravioli dish that looked both light and rich. She was impressed. I had a rolled pork-loin dish that was really outstanding.

I am ready to return and try a few more dishes.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

A Snowy Day

Delaware is getting hit with a minor blizzard this Boxing Day. It's one of those Nor'Easter storms that hugs the coast; the snow started from the south and east and is working its way up to the north.

We spent last night in Bethesda, Maryland. We'd had Christmas Day with my family there and planned to spend today in Upper Marlboro with most of Karen's family. The changing forecast for the storm tortured us for most of the day. When we went to bed last night it looked bad and this morning conformed it. We had to leave early.

We made a quick stop in Bowie to drop off gifts with Karen's sister and left for home at about 10:30, with a few snowflakes starting to fall there. By the Bay Bridge, snow was falling heavily enough to obscure the horizon. By Denton the roads were wet and by Bridgeville they started to become snow covered. 

It was east of Bridgeville that we crossed some sort of border and into the heaviest part of the storm. The roads became thickly covered and our speed steadily decreased. The ride from Georgetown over to Lewes was slow and slippery with nearly white-out conditions. 

But we made it. there's a fire in the grate and warm blankets all around.

Monday, December 20, 2010

My Blessings

mahaffie family portrait
Originally uploaded by mmahaffie
Forgive me for counting them for a moment. From left to right:
  1. Colleen. Turned 19 today. Doing well as a freshman at Villanova and showing new talents every day.
  2. The Lovely Karen. My wife of 22 years. I'm amazed she said yes.
  3. (I get to put on funny outfits and be someone else on stage every once in a while)
  4. Christina. Just astounded us as the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker.
    I have three beautiful, talented women in my life.

    Wednesday, December 8, 2010

    It's a Conversation Starter (Sometimes)

    FlashI wear a pin with the Grateful Dead's lightning bolt logo on the lapel of my winter jacket. One of my daughters gave it to me for Christmas a year or so ago and I've been wearing it proudly ever since.

    It gets occasional notice, usually from another deadhead passing by (there are a few of us here in Lower Slower Delaware). But sometimes it leads to cool conversations with less likely people.

    This morning, as I sat in the waiting room of my eye doctor's office, an elderly woman sitting across from me asked about it. When I told her it was the logo of a rock band, she told me the story of teaching her grandson to play the drums. He's now 25 and delights in announcing who taught him when his rock band plays.

    Sunday, December 5, 2010


    I'm searching for the right hipster/German word to describe my reaction to news yesterday that News Journal reporters Chad Livengood and Maureen Milford had won first place for beat reporting in the third-quarter Awards of Excellence contest of parent company Gannett.

    My first thought was congratulations (Glückwunsch), but then I read the award text and realized I had to shoe-horn in a dose of irony (Ironie, ironically):

    I'm fairly sure we don't have a Chateau County in Delaware. There is "Chateau country," though. It's a rich-folks subset of New Castle County.

    Saturday, December 4, 2010

    When Hobbies Collide

    I like beer. I like to take pictures. I like to record the minutiae of life. Therefore...

    Over the years, along with Lewes, Dover, nature, vacation sites and events in family life, I've been taking pictures of beers I've enjoyed. Not all of them, but beer on vacations and special occasions, beers enjoyed for the fist time, and sometimes when I just feel like it. It often embarrasses my daughters, but I like it.