Archive for the 'anecdote' Category

Big Raccoon

November 12, 2013

Last night I realized I had left a garbage can open outside.  It was full of bags of paper towel wet with cleaning solution from my having stripped the old finish off my kitchen floor, and I though ventilating ammonia was a good thing.  But then I learned it was going to rain in the early morning hours, so I intended to cover the can before I went to bed.

I forgot, until I was falling asleep, so I got up, went downstairs, and was about to step outside (I had left the can right near the back door so I could conveniently add to it as I cleaned).  Then I saw a dark thing on the back lawn.  I didn’t have my glasses on and I thought it might be the bird bath, but it moved.  Then I saw it scamper after another, smaller and much lighter critter.  I don’t think it hurt the other animal.  Anyway, the larger animal walked onto the patio and it was a very large raccoon, I mean really big.

The raccoon walked up to the backdoor and looked like he would have come in if I had opened it, but I didn’t.  I watched it until it wandered off towards the garden.

I covered the garbage can early this morning, but it was raining already.  Still, I’d rather have water in the garbage can than an encounter with a raccoon up close, especially one involving an open door to my house nearby.

There’s a tradition of thinking of ourselves as a house, with our baser characteristics as residing in the cellar, our higher selves in the attic.  I have dreams about large attic spaces I rarely use.  I once dreamed, when I was a child, of a side room I didn’t know I had, after visiting the Guggenheim Museum in New York City and being struck by the layout there.  Anyway, having an intruder try to gain access through an open chakra I don’t think is too unusual, so I can put that together with this episode if I want to.  Or I can read it as a reminder to take care of the garbage before I go to bed at night and the nocturnal animals come out.



November 2, 2013

I don’t know how original this joke is to the young man who came with it to my door last night, but I really liked it (once I got it) and it had Jordan laughing out loud when I told it to him this morning.

The guy was my last trick-or-treater of the night, and he was carrying a Rice Krispies box.  It had some kind of hatchet or weapon protruding from it.  I asked him what it was.  He said it was his “cereal killer.”

Ms. Clean

August 12, 2013

As in Mr. Clean,” the cleaning product avatar.

Yesterday I was wrestling with a moldering wardrobe trunk in my mother’s basement,  She had gotten it for going away to college, upon instructions from the college.  It has a section for dresses and gowns, which had been listed as needed, too.  I used the trunk one summer for camp, even though it was less of a good fit for the clothing we were told to bring.

My mother wants to hire someone to remove the trunk, as well as a couch and a few other large and bulky items she will never use (such as a car rack).  I wanted to make sure there was nothing in the trunk before she has it taken away.

It’s lying on its side in the basement.  The latching mechanism with the lock didn’t seem to want to budge, so we brought down some keys.  However, it turned out not to be locked — with a screwdriver, I was able to pry up the piece.  The other latches worked, and I opened the thing.  I had to drag it away from the furnace to do so, because I needed to have enough room to open it up flat.

Then I used the key that was tied there to open the locking mechanism securing the drawers.  Opening the drawers was a challenge because they had become warped.  But I was able to open all of them enough to see that there was nothing inside.  On the other side, where the gowns go, the wooden hangers were still there — and intact!  Maybe they are cedar?  That compartment, too, was empty.

Now I had to close the thing up.  This took some doing, including making sure the top lid was in place while I picked up the hanging side and and tried to get all the parts to settle into each other completely.  It didn’t work the first two times I tried, and I tried closing the thing the other way — picking up the drawer side.  Doing that revealed all kinds of mold on its back.  And putting that side on top didn’t help get the sides to mesh, so I reopened the thing.  My mother pointed out the key needed to be removed, and, while the trunk still wouldn’t close, it gave me the idea that it wasn’t the hanging bars that were interfering by sliding out, but rather the top drawer not closing flush with the structure it fits into that was preventing closure.  To close the top drawer completely again, I needed a hammer.  I think it wasn’t closing flush because the boards had become so warped.

Anyway, I banged, the drawer moved, I closed the trunk completely, latched the two side latches, left the locking latch hanging loosely, and then shoved the trunk back into the space between the stairs and the furnace.


But here’s the remarkable thing.  While my hands were indeed dirty, neither my white tee shirt nor my jeans had gotten dirty at all.  I was surprised to see this when my mother pointed it out to me.  She had seen me wrestling with the trunk, and I know I had my legs up against it at times, in order to get an angle adequate for maneuvering it and its parts, and maneuvering them safely, given my height (short) and strength (not too shabby but I’m no athlete).

So I like that my encounter with the trunk left me only with dirt on my hands, which I was able to wash off easily with just soap and water.

I always wondered if Mr. Clean’s cleanness in the face of dirt could be real.


July 7, 2013

This morning I noticed birds on the back lawn, and then I noticed something making its way up the Buddha statue.

I thought it would turn out to be a bird, but I don’t think it was a bird.

I didn’t have my distance glasses downstairs, so I couldn’t really see it clearly.  And the wild rose in front of the pear tree stump on which the Buddha sits has grown quite large and bushy, so the animal was partly obscured by that.

Whatever it was was now on top of the Buddha’s head.

I opened the screen door, so that at least I wouldn’t have that visual impediment, and some birds flew up off the grass.  What was on top of the Buddha did not fly off, but rather sort of slid or slithered down along the statue and scampered off towards the compost heap and disappeared under the hedge.

I suspect it was a chipmunk — it was that sort of size.

A cat can stare at a king, a chipmunk can sit on the Buddha’s likeness.

Daytime raccoon

May 9, 2013

I came home from a long day yesterday, but it was still daytime, and after putting my car in the garage, I discovered, halfway to the house, that there was a raccoon at the bottom of my steps, blocking my way to my front door.

The raccoon looked at me, I looked at it.  Then it went off towards the garage, moving behind some shrubs along the house.  As I went up to the house, I saw it at the foot of the pine tree next to the garage.  The raccoon was up on its back feet, its front paws on the trunk of the tree, ready to ascend.  Again we looked at each other.  It started up the tree, I went into the house.

I discovered when I went in the house that Jordan had the screen door, which I think a raccoon could pretty easily open, in place in the back door.  The raccoon had not, apparently, tried to come in.

Jordan had dismantled a bookcase while I was out, and the boards were lying out back on the patio.  I have no idea whether the trash collector will take them.  Jordan says he told me he had planned to get rid of the bookcase (one Willy had made, nothing fancy).  I had understood him to say he was merely going to move it down the wall in his room and put a bin emptied of old electronic paraphernalia into the basement.  He’s getting a couch on Friday and so he needed to make some more space.

I am not happy with a daytime raccoon, I worry that it’s ill.  This one also doesn’t show enough desire to keep its distance from human beings.  I guess I’ll just have to be more careful than usual, and be on the lookout for it, so I don’t end up in a closer encounter with it than is safe for me.

The bit about the backdoor and the bookcase and the raccoon reminded me of a dream I had some years ago about a bear getting in the backdoor and terrorizing people at some place like a cafeteria in a school.  The variation yesterday in real life was more benign and well-ordered and mundane.  The dream-bear version had that distinctive aspect of dreams in which things are slightly out of control and surreal.  It included, too, a feeling of responsibility for rescuing and the feeling of being almost at wit’s end to do so.  In that dream, I gave the bear a bag of candy to distract to it, and he fell asleep eating it, and so he didn’t harm people, which was good because the professional rescuers took so long to find us.

I like to think that this real life mundane raccoon version of “vulnerability through a backdoor” indicates that whatever was bothering me, or needed amelioration, has been improved, dissipated, and been safely played out.   I do think there is a connection between dreams and the everyday world.  For me, I see connections through similar patterns in both or, in other cases, through a similar emotional response in both the dream version and the everyday version.

But I will still be on the lookout for the raccoon.

Facial expressions

October 12, 2012

In light of discussion of Joe Biden’s facial expressions last night, I got to thinking about an experience relating to mine that I had when I was in college.

My oldest friend from home had come to visit me (her college was on quarters, mine on semesters, so I think she had off while I had classes).  Ellen and I had known each other since before kindergarten and had been best friends in elementary school and stayed friends after that.  (She’s also the person who precipitated my marriage and did my hair for my wedding reception.  Which leads me to an even more digressive aside: she used to have the longest, thickest red hair, past her waist — it was quite something.)

Anyway, during the course of the visit, we went to visit a second cousin of hers who also attended the college I did.  I don’t think I had ever met J. before, but I had gotten to know Ellen’s first cousin, Diana (another redhead; then again, Ellen’s entire family had red hair) over the years when she visited Ellen’s family.  (Diana also turned up living across the street from Willy and me when I was in law school.)  In the course of the conversation in J.’s rooms, J. started saying some things about Diana.  I don’t remember what I said or didn’t say, but I do know that on the way back to my residential college afterwards, Ellen said, “Diana, you really need to be more careful about your facial expression — everything shows.  Your reaction to what J. was saying about Diana was written all over your face.”  Something like that.  (Of course, I had been rather surprised that Ellen hadn’t leaped to Diana’s defense during the conversation, since I knew how close they were, but I figured it was Ellen’s call how she wanted to handle her family relationships.)

Ellen was studying acting, so I figured she knew what she was talking about.  I don’t think I necessarily took her advice or have taken it since, but it did and has made me more aware of what people may be reacting to in me.

Rainbow, courtesy of Washington, D.C.

September 27, 2012

I am in the midst of multiple family medical difficulties, trying to locate my gratitude to the universe for the challenges to develop my (coping) skills.  I was thinking about how there’s always spiritual help, I just need to reach down deep enough with my heart.

As I was thinking that, I turned from the kitchen sink and there is this beautiful rainbow cast against an old cast iron stove on the other side of the room.  I spent a few minutes trying to figure out through what the light is being refracted, and it’s the Lucite block encapsulating the U.S. Capitol and Washington Monument in a little souvenir on the windowsill that my kids brought me back from a trip down there.

I could use the hopefulness of a rainbow today.  That it comes courtesy of Washington in a way is kind of interesting.

More wildlife

September 14, 2012

Raccoons, at the back door, standing up on their hind legs with their front paws on the glass.  Was not even eight o’clock at night.  Jordan said it was because they heard me taking out the garbage to the street.  I know I contribute to their interest in staying around here by having an open compost heap into which I throw fruit and vegetable scraps as well as some garden and yard waste.

One raccoon was pretty big, the other somewhat smaller.  I’ve seen them before, but I don’t know where they live.  As long as it’s not in my house, I’m pretty okay with sharing the property with them, the skunk, the squirrels, the moles, a snake, and the bunnies (whom I haven’t seen this year).

I was a little surprised at their coming up to the back door like that, seemingly without any fear.  I think they would have walked right in if I had opened the door.

“Mystic Pizza”

September 2, 2012

Jordan had this at a friend’s house and liked it enough to ask me to look for it at Trader Joe’s next time I went.  It wasn’t there, but he brought home two from Roche Bros. this morning, after visiting the same friend again.

Interesting that there was a Roche Bros. market at that shopping plaza we stopped at to look for a reading pillow the other day, the one I felt prompted to notice at the traffic light.

I guess you never know when you’re actually in the right place but looking for the wrong thing, near what you want but don’t realize it — my experience is that things come into focus through repeated iterations of a pattern.

Unfortunately Jordan doesn’t want to heat the pizza yet — I’m a little hungry and impatient to taste it.

Shopping with “the Force”

August 31, 2012

My younger son tends to roll his eyes when I even look as if I might say some thing of a spiritual nature.

He’s a dedicated fan of Star Wars, though, and says things in jest like, “I sense a disturbance in the Force” when he hears someone coming.

So today we go out in the car, shopping for one of those reading pillows for him, and the first two stores we went to were sold out of them.  I suggested a route home along which we might pass other stores that might carry such an item, but I didn’t really want to go chasing particular stores if we were likely to encounter spent inventory — I figured we’d order one on line when we got home.

He agreed, and I asked him to keep a look-out for plausible stores.  At one point we were pulling up to a traffic light and I felt prompted to turn to look at what was the occasion for a traffic signal.  I saw a store in the distance tucked away in a mall there and said, “Oh, there’s a store.”

Jordan asked, “How did you know to look there?”

And I said, “I felt prompted by the Force.”

This time he didn’t roll his eyes.  Of course, that store was sold out, too.