That pile in the basement …

Longed-for warmer temperatures have graced us this past week, eliciting the usual assortment of cliched remarks about the flora and fauna (crocus, daffodil, spring beauty, snowdrops, forsythia, redbud, chipmunks, baby rabbits, robins, wrens).

I undertake my version of spring cleaning: open the windows and let the breeze amass the swirling dog fur and dust bunnies into one massive fluff ball in a corner; hook up vacuum and suck up mass. I tidy and I rearrange; I sort my books and I file my papers. I stop and drink coffee and browse thru’ the Sunday paper.

In the March 20th New York Times “Museums” section, I stumbled upon Golden Age of Discovery … Down in the Basements by David Wallis. Who knew?, but some of our capital-C, Capital-I Cultural Institutions share my lowercase-d, lowercase-g domestic goddesses struggle of staying on top of STUFF.

Of course, what they discover when they go to their basement archives includes Picasso sculptures, rare war helmets of indigenous peoples, and notes from Famous People of History. I find adolescent journals, my grandmother’s account books and timesheets tracking my hours on a federally-funded redevelopment project.

ledger enlargedI’ve tossed the timesheets, but my Grandmother’s account books, with their tidy columns and itemized rows of expenses: they tell me a lot more than she ever chose to share, or I ever know to ask, about her daily life. She, too, struggled with the tension inherent in running a household and creative work. There are entries for groceries, laundry, coal, magazines, stamps. Charmingly, under “miscellaneous” there is, twice-monthly, 35 cents for roses; every three weeks or so is one dollar for “H’s candy” — her husband must have harbored a sweet tooth. There are no entries for weaving supplies though the outstanding feature of her house, when I was a child, was two huge looms. She traveled with a smaller table-top loom. She wove placemats, table runners, samplers, towels, decorative coasters, scrabble tile bags, chair coverings, bookmarks, napkins. You name it, she wove it.

I still use, daily, one of her woven bookmarks. I have always enjoyed it, and find it elegant. No polyester junk, but for-real, finely-patterened silk and linen threads. Having seen her careful accounting for the very real expenses of her daily life on this spring day, and the lack of any such entry for her artistic life, the bookmark becomes dearer.

Some of Gram's weaving

Some of Gram’s weaving

The work we do for love, the work we are privileged to do above and beyond the grunt work of daily necessity: that beauty lasts, to be held and felt and loved. On a breezy spring day, in a basement crowded with life’s leavings.

Let’s look for the treasures in our archives basements. Find whatever we’ve forgotten, whatever scraps of paper and memory may unexpectedly reconnect us, remind us, restore us, return us: to ourselves.

Do you hear what I hear?

Our two dogs are of varying intelligence and thus responsiveness to our commands. One “off” moves the smart gal from my lap, while the oh-so-lovable-but-slow canine continues to warm my thighs until dumped to the ground.

Their barking has become annoying:  yapYAPyapYAP until the source of  inspiration either disappears from view (other dogs out for a walk, meandering cat, saucy squirrel) or has been thoroughly sniffed (friends who come to the door). Our lovely neighbors, cyclists who pedal up and down the Virginia mountains for dozens of miles, suggested using their “dazzer” to control the barking.

The Dazzer emits an unpleasant sound, audible only in the doggie range. One zap and the smart dog understood and now ceases barking promptly when told, “no bark.” The other dog continues to bark despite the command — and will do so until the Dazzer is used. Which of course is unfair to the dog that was already quiet.

And, as it turns out, also a bit unfair to my younger son, whose youthful ears register the Dazzer. “Don’t you hear that little squeak when you press the button, mom?”

No, I do not. I barely hear Engineer Hubby when he asks me to pass the cream for the coffee. I know I’m not hearing the whining about soup and sandwiches for dinner again, right?

imagesSo yet again I discover the very real limits of my (aging) human senses, and, all kidding aside, am momentarily quieted. I wasn’t in awe of the 13 y.o.’s hearing, but it was in the neighborhood (see I know nothing for a dog-taught lesson in humility). I was awe-struck last Sunday when, twenty yards into the woods, both dogs sniffed snuffled snorted snurkled the leaves — speckled with bird poop, huh, look at that, my dull human brain noted — and then both mutts looked straight up and above us turkey vultures were circling, settling on branches, all with their wide, whispery wings. I know they’re carrion feeders and their heads are weirdly bald-looking but still: they are awe-some.

Then I read about the the concept of rewilding — as articulated by George Monbiot in this interview in the fine magazine Orion. He notes that humans are perhaps the most domesticated of all animals, living out our days in relative comfort despite having been designed to survive in a world bloody in fang and claw. We do not often experience the heart-stopping awe that is ours when we wade into the world sans civilized expectations and protections.

I don’t disagree, and/but I when I pause to look at my now-almost-six-foot son, who started as a mere eight pounds; when I see my Grandfather’s wild hair atop my younger son’s head; when I notice EH’s eyes look like his father’s, then I am momentarily awed.

These small details are invisible in the scope of things (the new Cosmos illustrated this for me: I had no idea we (think) we know as much as we do about the universe. The Local Group?) We are, relatively speaking, so very very very tiny. Eensy-weensy. How awe-some is that?

As I near fifty years old* (fifty years! A microscopic pinhead of days in the universe!), I find it easier to remind myself to switch from the daily-annoyances-perspective to the holy-cow-isn’t-this-amazing-perspective, especially when the dogs are pointing out the limits of my nervous system or the scientists my lack of knowledge. (Full disclosure: my family will disagree that I *ever* switch out of annoyed mode, as I nag them nigh unto death about putting away dishes, clothes, shoes, homework, etcetera.)

NASA photo

NASA photo

But what a wonder! What a happenstance to be alive in this time (whenever it may be), in this place (wherever it may be), with this consciousness (however it may be limited by no-dog-nose capacities).

All I can do is write it down. Badly, baldly, awe-struck-ed-ly, make-up-words-ily. What a ride. Buckle up and look to the heavens and tell us what you see.

* This post dovetails nicely with WordPress’s weekly writing challenge, about “The Golden Years” at their site, The Daily Post

Life’s squalls

My writing has been  irregular since December of last year. I’ve been down with some sort of virus that knocked me on my tuchus for four days. Followed by The Snow of the Year. Plus it’s been cold for our neck of the woods, and the kids either weren’t in school at all or their school start time was delayed for all of January. By February I began to feel itchy, like, mmm, I need to take a couple of hours away from the house. Like, my children, I love them but could they please leave me the heck alone. (I’m here to testify: that thing kids do when they’re toddlers, of knocking on the bathroom door the EXACT SECOND your butt hits the seat? IT HAPPENS WHEN THEY ARE TEENAGERS, TOO. I fully expect this will continue no matter their age. When they leave home, I will go into the bathroom and the phone will ring with their call.)

After The Snow of the Year, the 13 y.o. got sick. Then the hubby got sick.  The night before hubby left town, one of our dogs tried to show a skunk who really owns the yard. Hubby left town and the 16 y.o. got sick. You get the picture. And then I opened my calendar and began calculating the percentage of days I’d scheduled for writing work that had been nibbled to oblivion by circumstances beyond my control.

When a Howard starts figuring percentages, it is a matter of hours before there is an Explosion. Before the carefully shellacked veneer of civilized behavior shatters and lethally-sharp shards spray in an alarmingly wide circle.

Explosion-Image-by-US-Department-of-Defense-300x225The detonation occurred this morning, in part because of the story I told myself about how I would, finally, be writing: BOTH kids were going to be in school! My husband was going to work! PLUS hubby promised to dispose of the skunk carcass that I spied from the back deck (the skunk does not, it turns out, own the yard. Only how the yard smells).  I could return from morning carpool and have three entire hours to myself, a spacious expanse of time: I could walk the dogs, play Domestic Goddess,  journal and review the latest short story draft, and have an extremely luxurious 30 minutes in which to shower and dress for my meeting. Fantastic.

Except on the way to school our neighbor’s dogs were running loose so we stopped and corralled them, putting us a precious five minutes behind schedule. And on the now-congested drive to school the 13 y.o. asked, “weren’t we going to get my allergy shots this morning?” Yes, we were, and we really needed to since we were already two weeks overdue and I would never forgive myself if he got a sting and due to my desire to write he had a fatal reaction (yes, that’s really how I think).

coffee-mug-everyday-enviro-splWe arrived at the shot clinic 10 minutes early and were the only non-employee car in the lot. We went for a fortifying cuppa coffee and a snack. We returned 10 minutes later and there were SIX other could-die-by-beesting patients who’d arrived in the interim. I got him to school an hour later. He’d left his hoodie at the shot clinic.  I said, in what I hoped was a mostly-calm voice: “I’ll call them to put it in the lost and found but I can’t get out there again today.”

“I don’t get to go outside, anyway, mom, that’s fine,” he said. Reminding me that I really should be trying to improve our educational system so that our children come in regular contact with the environment.

I returned home. Two texts from the engineer hubby. Who couldn’t find his keys and thus drove the car that I left my headphones in, so my effort to listen to books whilst walking the dogs was a goner. That’s ok, I soothed to myself. You’ll be in touch with the environment. Listen to the birds, feel the fresh air. Which was gusting mightily, making the phone call with hubby less-than-audible. We needed to get some papers notarized.

crop_nibbling_juv_yuma_ant_sq_DSC_0026I lost it. “I canNOT have another day nibbled away,” I wept between post-virus-out-of-shape puffs on my way up the hill, dragging the poor dog who really wanted to stop and sniff the wonderful environment.  “It has been three months since I had a regular week of writing. I cannot do it!”

“OK. We don’t have to do it today.”

Oh.

I am both embarrassed by and relieved by my explosion (which, to be honest, in my lexicon of explosions was more a loud bang than an explosion). Embarrassed because I am, after all, a grown woman with every first world convenience at her fingertips. Relieved because now that I have, yet again, exploded over my edge of frustration, I will find it easier to honor the hours I’ve carved out for myself to write. I will let the dust bunnies breed like the rabbits they are, and the laundry form a new land mass in the upper hall.

Why do I continue this dance? Why not just always stick with my plans, knowing that a little bit is always better than none? What the heck?

The heck is: I perpetually cajole myself with self-talk like, it’ll only take five minutes. I have five minutes  to load the dishwasher/throw in the laundry/stop at the post office.

My cajoling isn’t inaccurate: I do have those five minutes. But those moments are also the ones I could edit a page of a draft, start a blog post, type up my story ideas, eavesdrop on a conversation, describe the day in my journal. Why do I make other choices? Am I afraid of success? Inherently unmotivated? Middle-aged and complacent? All of the above?

I’m not that interested in discovering why, precisely, I fail to honor my commitments. I am more interested in acknowledging that I’ve stopped honoring them, and then getting back to ‘em ASAP.

Our  “endless numbered days” are dwindling. The world is spinning too damn fast. If we want to write, we better sit down and do it.

Outside my window the gusting wind has increased; the disease-thinned hemlocks, and the 100+ year old boxwoods are buffeted into a riotous evergreen dance. Move!, the wind insists. Gracefully if possible, but mostly: move!

Fifty things …

… I’m proud of. Listing these out is an exercise Julia Cameron recommends in her book The Right to Write. My writing group tackled it last week. As my fellow writer and blogger Andrea Badgley was reading Cameron’s instructions aloud, I thought: no problem! This will be easy! And fun! Things I’m proud of will certainly make me feel good about myself. Whee!

I numbered from one to fifty in my notebook.

x4001And freaked out. The following is a Whitman sampler of my thoughts in the nanoseconds before I forced myself to start writing: I have done nothing. Getting married and having children was a mistake, I’ll leave nothing behind when I die. Wait, I’ll leave my children. So perhaps they were a good idea. Unless bad luck strikes and one or, god forbid, both of them die before me. Could happen. 16 y.o. is on track to get his license. Sweet holy mother of everything. That would be terrible. What have I done, what have I done, what have I done? I’ve  not written a book. I can barely keep up with my blog! I am getting old, it’s getting too late. ALL IS LOST: I can see the burning lifeboat analogy of my life surrounding me and [spoiler alert] that hand at the end is a dying man’s fantasy.

At which point I managed to come up with a few tangible bits and pressed on; remembering Cameron’s admonition that these can be small or large things, I included my five-layer orange mandarin cake and the soft spot I hold for animals.

This exercise took us about 15 minutes. Then it was time to share. I’d not planned on sharing, and said so very quickly. But when my fellow scribblers shared their fifty things, I was both humbled and inspired.

What various paths we’ve taken, and how many of our footsteps have left behind a wee violet or sprig of evergreen. I shared my list last, and my voice was shakier than I’d have liked and I did not make eye contact with anyone while I read, but I managed to say all my fifty things out loud. Even the ones that I was embarrassed about (I am, narcissistically, proud of my sense of style in the wardrobe area. I experience what my “pure” self tells me is, essentially, sinful pleasure out of choosing my outfits).

Why was that exercise so hard? The feminists might say women have been taught not to take credit. Enh. Maybe that’s part of it. I think it has more to do with the inherent challenge of being the “active witness” to our lives and the world around us, as Cameron says this exercise forces us to do. It was scary to think that marriage and kids might have been a mistake. Maybe they were, maybe they weren’t, but regardless: this is my situation. It’s a situation of privilege and luxury, relative to the rest of the planet’s population and I am grateful, every day. But acknowledging my privilege doesn’t absolve me of my responsibilities, nor does it erase my own human neuroses, or brokenness or whatever-word-works-for-you.

I think it was hard because looking closely and without judgment at what’s in front of us isn’t easy. Starting this process by passing judgment on what we are proud of — and being real about even those aspects of ourselves that might be less-than-selfless (I mean, clothes, really? C’mon!) but that gives us a recognizable flush of pride — that takes a bit of guts. Guts are a necessary part of being the type of writer I aspire to.

James-JoyceWrite down your particulars. No one else has to see them or hear them or know about them. But we must be able to at least see and acknowledge our own  particulars if we are to have a hope of connecting with each other.  Or, as James Joyce said (and not surprisingly, said better): In the particular is the universal.

My individual life may be small, and yes, it is hilarious and perhaps petty that I am proud of my ability to match colors, but I am aiming for the Universal. Far as I have seen, it’s what makes the merry-go-round ride worth it.

Play the game.

Blacksburg-BruinsThe floor is shiny blonde hardwood, with the high school’s mascot painted in royal blue and daffodil yellow — my son calls it gold but it’s daffodil yellow to me — the bleachers are also blue, but not quite the same hue. They’re more of a little-kid-swimming-pool blue. The basketball players’ shoes squeak loudly, not as piercing as the refs’ whistles but on the same high-pitched wavelength.

I’ve arrived late to this first home game, having left my writing group early to speed across our small community on a chilly night, my headlights sparking light from the reflective dividers on the four-lane bypass.  The lady selling tickets at the folding table nods me in. “There’s only two minutes left,” she says, counting the ones into a neat stack, orienting all the bills so that George Washington’s head faces to her left.

The gym is warm compared to the hallway; the court’s boundary line is painted only six feet from the doorway and I take the first seat I can, courtside, near a handful of fellow Bruin parents. The young men are pounding down the floor to the basket, sweat-slicked and panting. The opposing team fouls one of our guys and they both crash to the floor.

I twist my neck to sneak a peek at the score. Our team has lost every game this season save a final consolation game at a tournament. Usually the losses are by 20+ points. I’ll learn after the game that tonight’s opponent won the state championship last year, but I don’t yet know this. All I know is that they have a young man on their team who looks to be at least twelve inches taller than our tallest player. Holy cow! He’s HUGE! We must be lagging.

But the board’s chunky digits read HOME 43, VISITOR 40. Wow. We get a couple more points with the free throws; the other team lollops down the court and scores a three. I’m no sportswriter so long story short: at the final buzzer, the game is tied, 47-47. Overtime.

The tall youth from the other team gets the tipoff, passes it to a teammate. And then the teammate … dribbles. And dribbles. And dribbles.

Dribble is a good word for this team’s strategy of running down the clock. The second definition of dribble in my “very large dictionary” is “to slaver, as a child or an idiot; to drivel.” Definition #3: “To pass one’s time in a trivial fashion.”

Here we have a court full of passion, young men running themselves to their limits, learning how to be an effective team. We have coaches trying strategies, imagining plays, encouraging and demanding in turn. Parents driving kids to practice, bolstering morale, challenging their kids’ assumptions, supporting them. Everyone is putting in overtime in one sense or another.

And the other team stands there. Dribbling. Per the coach’s direction, I’m sure.

Remember, I don’t actually care about sports that much (as in: at all). But my hands started to shake, and my belly went into squirrelly knots. Play the game! You’re on the court! You’re able to run and jump and pass the ball and leap and think and yell and high five and turn on a dime and juke the other guy out: you are playing an exciting game at a level the vast majority of us NEVER did or will do. PLAY!

As the dribbling edged into its third minute, I pulled my little notebook out of my purse and commenced scribbling. From what I can read of those scrawls today, the gist is: here before us we have, essentially, everything one could wish for. Healthy kids, a great facility, an exciting, well-matched game in a safe community — no matter who wins or loses, we’ll most of us go to bed with full bellies in heated homes with hot water for showers. We have every advantage ever known to humanity.

This approach to the game, I jotted in my shaking hand, is the Root of All Evil! Coaches, mentors, adults training our youth to use the loopholes to make nooses for the other guy. Stretching the technicality into a misshapen manifestation of the spirit of the rules. Think the mortgages/securities/financial industries schemes. Take the exception and use it for all it’s worth, screw the context, screw the other guy. Play it as safe as possible. Be comfortable. Don’t risk. Don’t engage in the game.

Sort of like my “safe” writing. Don’t say that, s/he’s still alive. Don’t imagine that, it’d cost too much money. You can’t write about that, you’re too old to count.

basketball_hoop-977This particular basketball game ended with (poetic) justice. In the second overtime (my shaky hands began to sweat profusely), our team scrambled and gained control of the ball after the tipoff. We didn’t stand there dribbling. We took it down the court. We pressed. We jumped. We passed. We rebounded.

We won.

Murmuring into my distraction

When I finish my self-assigned writing for the day and reward myself with a game of mah jong, I win the game. Not always the first time, but by the second or third time. As opposed to the hundredth time if I play mahjong before I write.

Mah jong has been a serious problem for me in the past; it’s eaten hours of my life. It’s just dumb luck I’ve not become addicted to anything more lethal to my system. And it’s eaten hours because when I think “just one more game. Just ’til I win.” Let’s be real: that’s not an actual thought in my head. It’s some neurotransmitter doing its thing.

But sinking into deep writing alters my sense of time, and apparently also expands my intuition. I seem to see the board better, and I’m pretty sure I’m not consciously thinking about the game, I just do the game … and when I win so quickly, I don’t want to hit the “play again button.” I want to return to my writing.

It’s like the track coach who my mommy friend with a runner-daughter gushed about: “He’s amazing. He’s convinced the kids that when they do well, the reward is to work harder.”

I’ve no doubt that her daughter’s coach is amazing. And I also don’t doubt that those kids are experiencing the deeply satisfying flow and shift in consciousness that comes from immersion in an activity that takes us out of ourselves.

Another manifestion of getting out of ourselves: Check out this link, which I found at the Good Men Project. It shows “murmuration” aka, free-scale correlation, and it is a pretty good representation of what it feels like when I’m flowing with my writing. Complete with the stunned giggle at the end. [First few seconds are still frames -- also like writing at the start: stop-n-go-ish.]

Show up, allow yourself to be in the moment with your writing. The reward may be more work, but what satisfying, laughter-inducing work it is. Ah.

The Yuletide 100

My writing craft group and I agreed that during the holiday break we would  jot notes about the holiday.  At least 100 words or phrases to capture the essence of the season.

I’ve resisted the list concept for most of my writing years: all those “list my life” books at Barnes and Noble. Listographies  for couples, for singles, for mothers and daughters. Barf. Like a list matters. Plus, is listography a word? (Not in my 1979 edition of the New World Dictionary! Oh, I feel so vindicated!) Regardless: making a list is just too easy! One must *suffer* for enlightenment!

You’d think I’d have learned by now that when my instinct is to sniff haughtily, a great Lesson is lurking. But no. I sniff away and it is only under duress — duress I PAY for in the form of a workshop or a book, or duress that is unavoidable (yes, I consider the holidays a time of duress) — that I grudgingly push open the creaky door of my Self  to possibilities.

My writing group adapted a Priscilla Long list exercise from her book The Writer’s Portable Mentor, and here’s mine. Not only was it a valuable exercise that I’m Officially Adding to my Writerly Toolbox, it tells a wee story. Happy New Year!

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  1. 12 y.o. has two teeth pulled after last day of school.
  2. 12 y.o. vomiting, 2 AM.
  3. 12 y.o. sick first day of vacation.
  4. Amazon shopping.
  5. 16 y.o.’s girlfriend over for supper, to make treats for neighbors.
  6. 12 y.o. rallies to deliver treats to neighbors.
  7. Xmas tree purchased day after mini ice storm.
  8. Ice inside heated home = water. Duh.
  9. Entire first floor washed by melted ice.
  10. Kids dub ice “christmas juice.”
  11. Xmas tree trunk too big for 70′s-era metal stand.
  12. Engineer hubby drags tree to deck for trunk detailing.
  13. Engineer hubby shaving  trunk with pathetic little saw.
  14. Engineer hubby borrows Real Tools, updates Xmas wish list to include Real Tools.
  15. Tree tilts 15 degrees to the left
  16. To the right.
  17. More trunk shaving.
  18. Tree tilts 5 degrees to the right.
  19. Engineer hubby: I’m done. Kids: but the tree …
  20. CVS has one tree stand left.
  21. Tree top breaks off. No one cares
  22. Tree is vertical!
  23. Burned out Xmas lights.
  24. Xmas eve shopping at Dicks Sporting Goods: all Medium sized fleeces gone. Panicked call to Engineer Hubby re: 16 y.o.’s preferred basketball clothing. Does it matter so long as it’s in school colors of blue and yellow? Engineer hubby: you know there are different shades of blue. Me: Seriously?
  25. Two hours later: new fleeces acquired for all the men in the family. Restorative hot chocolate purchased for frazzled mama on way home.
  26. My dad and brother arrive; my brother tallest person in the house @ 6’2″.
  27. Tissue paper for wrapping.
  28. Cat on tissue paper.
  29. Curling ribbon.
  30. Cat claw stuck in my thigh after “playing” catch the ribbon
  31. Can only find one batch of gift tags. All gifts labeled with the same green disc.
  32. Dog treats laid out with Santa gifts on coffee table.
  33. Dog treats all gone.
  34. Dog barf Xmas eve at midnight.
  35. Six hours sleep.
  36. New bird feeders: one with copper roof glinting in the sun. Birds confused, pecking forlornly at deck railing.
  37. 16 y.o.: “This is great!” re: coupon book for movies, dinners out, “Dates” with parents.
  38. Bag of gluttony and regret: chocolates & electric toothbrushes
  39. Kids give me hot tea/cocoa coupons :) I redeem immediately.
  40. Settlers of Catan.
  41. Multi-handed solitaire.
  42. Blokus.
  43. Goldfinch.
  44. Mini Poppers: pig, monster, penguin, monster. Unknown-1
  45. Dogs eating popper balls. You’d think they’d had enough stomach upset. You’d think wrong.
  46. 16 y.o. visits girlfriend on Xmas day: a first
  47. Panettone
  48. Holiday-blend coffee from Milwaukee’s Colectivo Coffee.
  49. Turkey breast.
  50. Turkey breast with spine intact.
  51. Turkey breast deboning YouTube video.
  52. Dull knives.
  53. Scissors.
  54. Brining on back deck.
  55. Cold sunshine.
  56. Walking dogs.
  57. New scarf.
  58. Stuffing with sausage.
  59. Cranberry sauce by my dad. 3072908890_d2d0eb7ddd_b
  60. 16 y.o.: mashed taters.
  61. Toasted pecans.
  62. Frozen crust.
  63. Cook’s Illustrated cookbook: brand new. Corn syrup on page 720 by 3 PM
  64. Dessert wine.
  65. Port.
  66. Sauerkraut crock.
  67. Nine cabbages.
  68. Dill borrowed from neighbor.
  69. Virgnia Tech pillowcase over sauerkraut crock.
  70. About Time with 12 y.o. & Engineer Hubby. 12 y.o.: “That makes you think about life.”
  71. The Dark Knight Rises: surprisingly good.
  72. Sherlock Holmes, season 1 marathon
  73. The Full Monty: even my dad laughs
  74. The Last Emperor: like taking vitamins
  75. The Santa Clause
  76. All is Lost. Yikes
  77. Listing all colors for brown with writer pal Andrea Badgley day after Xmas.
  78. Basketball tournament in Roanoke for 16 y.o. Massive losses ’til very last game.
  79. Sauerkraut smells a bit funky.
  80. Old friend visits after New Year’s
  81. Old friend’s dog encounters skunk in backyard.
  82. Friend’s dog rolls on rug, runs through house.
  83. Friend to PetSmart for enzymatic skunk cleaner
  84. Friend’s dog washed on back deck with skunk cleaner.
  85. Temperatures dropping.
  86. Friend’s dog confined to crate.
  87. Friend’s dog depressed. Our dogs confused.
  88. Entire house smells of skunk; food tastes like skunk.
  89. Apple-cider scented candle lit.
  90. Sauerkraut smell obliterated.
  91. Rug removed to patio.
  92. Clothing washed with de-skunker.
  93. Friend’s dog washed repeatedly next day.
  94. Dog smelling better. Released from crate confinement.
  95. Joyful frolicking.
  96. Friend returns home.
  97. 16 y.o. to youth orchestra. Cello, case and music all smell like skunk.
  98. Xmas tree to fire pit, rug to dumpster.
  99. Sauerkraut funk again discernible.
  100. Carpool buddy to 12 y.o. on first day back to school: your hair smells like skunk.

Striped_Skunk_(Mephitis_mephitis)_DSC_0030