Books and Rats and Bridges

Super Exciting Almost-Spring Days Make Me Incredibly Lazy


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show details Feb 19 (2 days ago)



On the subject of drawing. It has become so second-nature to just pick up a pencil and draw. I usually don’t have any idea what I am going to draw and I seem to go through periods of default settings – birds, oceans, skies, plants. I hardly ever (!) draw buildings. I wonder why. My drawings are a piece of cake to psychoanalyze, but perhaps I like shells for their Fibonacci spirals and not their calciferrous selves, their squishy insides so much less lovely. A coworker said that he’d struggled to draw a whelk for years, but that they always looked too anatomical, if you know what I mean. “Well, that’s your problem,” I said. “Have you ever tried drawing the other side of the shell?”

Things look like what they look like to people for a million different reasons. And that is why drawing is fun.

The lady with a haircut like mine and a two headed-pigeon (psychoanalyze that!) on her shoulder (previous post) was intended to be a Self-Portrait With Chicken on Shoulder. The hens actually will sit up on my shoulder sometimes. It is sweet and creepy.

…but, the erased chicken head became a second pigeon head and the lady was just someone similar – not me at all, but more fun to draw.

——Original Message——

From: Me

To: Me

ReplyTo: Me

Subject:Sent: Feb 19, 2010 5:25 PM


The air was alive with the sound of unseen wings of unseen things. Who wrote this sentence?  I wish I could remember who wrote it. I wish I’d thought of it first. Of course, there are only so many sentences that can be made. The new words we add can’t possibly keep up with all that we write and speak.

I had a conversation today regarding kid’s books and banality. Looking through the Yankee Doodle Literary Sampler I am astounded by some of the scary weirdness of early teaching materials.

There are too many books.


“Why are they talking about death in the ABCs!?” And thus, they were paying attention. Reading for literacy is much easier to learn when you actually find what you are reading to be of interest to you.



show details Feb 19 (2 days ago)



It is entirely possible that “unseen wings of unseen things” was said by Gene Wilder or Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka, so perhaps it was Roald Dahl who came up with this loveliness.



show details Feb 20 (2 days ago)


Well, I do have something to do:
Nobody was awake to close the door and the house was cold, the stove bright with fire, trying futilely to heat the whole neighborhood.

—–Original Message—–


– Show quoted text –
Date: Sat, 20 Feb 2010 00:19:10

To: Me<>

Subject: Re:

Feb 20 (2 days ago)

As I was about to go get my morning fix of new-day quiet and last night’s coffee.

One might say that to wake up and realize the front door was open and the house was cold might be more a sign of bad luck (I’m not even sure I believe in luck, but I think I might) – even more unlucky might be the discovery that Under, as I stood – coffee in hand – with the front door stupidly open trying to get the dog to come outside for coffee time, was not preoccupied into reluctance by a ball in a corner under a chair by my room, but by the presence of a RAT!

I calmly assessed the situation, wanting coffee badly. The rat, five inches from curved haunch to tapered nose, had clearly come into the house while the door was standing open through the wee hours.

Hmmm, what to do? When confronted with outside-dwelling, verminous creatures inside the home, my immediate response is to fetch a cooking pot.

So, I left the dog to worry the rat and ventured into the kitchen. The small-batch-of-noodles-pot would do just fine. (The large-batch-of-noodles-pot was used once to catch a mid-summer possum, calmly grazing dry cat food in the hall.)(True story.)

Imagine my possible sense of profound unluckiness when I discovered that Under (his ancient terrier genes in full rat-pursuit) had antagonized the rodent into seeking a better hiding place. And what better hiding place than my closet-shelves. Oh, nightmare of nightmares it could have been.

I left the dog, a broom, the pot, and the rat in my room. I retreated to the hen realm that is my front steps, to drink coffee and consider my options. Which were really quite limited.

Realizing that I wouldn’t have time to have a 1/2 satisfying cup of coffee if I delayed much longer, I set to work on the business of catching the rat.

The girl was asleep in my loft bed, having ventured downstairs at some point in the night. (Perhaps the barking dog and phoning neighbor and cold air had something to do with this?) (This, by the way, was clearly a night of unusual circumstance.)

I quickly abandoned the possibility of quietly catching the rat. It is impossible to quietly catch a rat in a room crowded with draped fabric, papers, toys, and books. Impossible. (And some part of my brain toward the back began exclaiming: “…this is terribleterribleterrible, a rat is in my room and why is there so much stuff under these shelves) I began by moving furniture, mostly so I was able to sweep the enthused terrier out from under the shelves of clothing. As I fished for Under with the broad side of the broom, I pulled out a tennis ball, the dog was momentarily distracted from the rat-pursuit by the blue-fuzzed tenny I had just extruded. And then! Oh, the delight when – on my next sweep – I swept the rat against the ball and it clung to it like a lifeboat or an enemy…

(The desperation of clinging is the same in a life saved or a life threatened.)

There was a slow-motion scrabble and rat dashed a quick retreat. I sighed and pulled the broom out of the chaos below the shelves and…

there it was…the missing bridge to the cello.

I don’t know how it got there. I had just moved the shelves a shy month before. Floor swept clean.

The cello hadn’t been near that area of the room until just a few daysaweek?ago.

And I had discovered the missing bridge prior to the cello even entering my room!

I’m not sure how it happened, but it was luck. Straight up.

To finish the story:

At this point, the rat had gone to the south wall of my room and Olive was awake. I put the cello’s bridge not with the cello, but on the mantle and calmly set about rat removal. I delighted the girl by placing a small boisterous dog on a loft bed. The terrier variable removed, the rat was easy to capture. I slid a fine piece of 3/8 inch birch cabinet-grade plywood under the upturned rat in a pot and carried the captive rodent out to the street. Catch and release.

Lucky day, huh?

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