He Turns Down the Street

Cute little murder monster

Baby trash panda looks totally adorable when not lunging for me.

The raccoons have been gently evicted from the eaves of our house and relocated to a more rural locale. We hope for the best for them, but at least one did not have the best survival instincts. Fingers crossed, they live long, happy lives, full of delightful and mysterious leftovers. We hope so, but they couldn’t stay here. Pete found one of the babies inside the chicken run, nibbling chicken food, near very alarmed chickens, so that had to be the end of that.


I have one more week of American Sign Language class. Earlier this evening, I suddenly realized I’d acquired enough of the basics to tell a story. As you know, stories are my thing; being able to tell a story is kind of hip, kind of cool, kind of Charlie. Tomorrow, I’m going to tell a story in class, which would be much like tearing off my Foster Grants to reveal my superhero identity, but since I am a middle-aged person, I have zero doubt my young classmates will notice a bird, a plane, Superman.


Their Battered Dreams To Heaven

I’m three weeks into a six week college course. My co-workers joke that three weeks have flown by. To me, it feels like I’ve been at this for months, in a quonset hut in Antarctica, and, when daylight lasts six months, when did I last feed the penguins?

Agog, aghast.jpg

The look I get when I don’t know all the words to “The Devil Went Down to Georgia.”


My teacher pointed at me and asked why I’m not taking the second summer semester of American Sign Language. I said, “I didn’t know I could,” but I meant I think I might have a nervous breakdown. Next time you’re tempted to tell a toddler to get a grip, realize that language acquisition is no day at the beach.


Bound To Win A Prize

Our next door neighbor seems to be pranking his bank account. He seems nice enough, but he’s a puzzler. The front of his house appears to be collapsing, but his wife plants roses to climb a pricey arbor. A tenant accidentally set fire to the side of his house closest to ours and the neighborhood rallied around, but repairs were never completed. Siding flaps in the wind and insulation waves a friendly Hello!  Thus, it came as a tremendous surprise to us when a whirling crew of construction workers turned up to tear down the garage and rebuild it. They have been at it for days and they do good work.




The house looks awful, but that it still stands is so confusing. This detail is my favorite. The bulkhead door swung open one winter and the basement door wouldn’t have withstood an unswift kick. Nobody walked around the other side of the house to investigate roaring wind up the inside stairs for over a year. Finally, Pete picked up a stick and cinched it shut. This door has been locked this way long enough to celebrate lonely anniversaries.


I do not care much about property, but I worry about people whose motivations I don’t understand and whose actions don’t make sense. They jam my radar. I can’t work out why a guy would buy a house, let it crumble and rebuild his garage – unless what matters to him is at the end of his driveway. If I had to guess, I’d say he’s preparing for an inevitable divorce.




The Darkness of Everybody’s Life

The American Sign Language class I’m taking involves improbable amounts of studying, possibly because I’m not a child prodigy anymore. Even so, spring is in the air. Strawberries are in the markets and leaves are on the grapevines. After work today, Pete and I stopped at the secret organic garden one town over, where we have permission to trim the grapevines that are slowly turning a garden gate into a fragrant wall. Pete brought my left-handed scissors, but the gates were seven feet tall, leaves were mostly out of my reach and Pete’s pruning shears won the day. We stuffed our tools and unusual produce into the trunk of Pete’s car and drove home.

seasons greenings.jpg

This evening, Drusy went missing for more than half an hour. I should say we realized we hadn’t seen her in some time and frantically searched the house for her. She is so tiny she had tucked herself into a little corner under Pete’s desk in the attic and fallen asleep. Pete crawled around with a flashlight while I struggled with panic. When he found Drusy, she seemed impatient with us for disrupting her beauty sleep.

The task at hand, however, was more pleasant. Before I go hog wild on weeds, I like to find good instructions. This lady seems pleasant and methodical, so I took <a href=”http://www.maureenabood.com/2013/06/05/how-to-identify-clean-and-store-fresh-grape-leaves/”>her advice.</a> I cut leaves off vines, grouped them by size, wrapped them in cellophane and froze them in freezer bags, careful to label them precisely. It’s a drag to find an unlabeled freezer bag in January and toss the contents, but sometimes I do make mistakes.