"It was imprudent of us, in the first place, to become authors. We could have become something regular, but we managed not to.
We were lucky, but we were also determined." Roy Blount Jr

"I don’t change the facts to enhance the drama. I think of it the other way round, the drama has got to fit the facts,
and it’s your job as a writer to find the shape in real life."
Hilary Mantel

Friday, July 28, 2006

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly


An article of mine appeared on the opnion section of today's newspaper. It turned out awfully well, considering how quickly I wrote and submitted it!

There might be a nifty magazine assignment in my future...for a gorgeous glossy nationally distributed lifestyle magazine I absolutely adore. Or so says the editor, who proposed it a few days ago.

I never let myself believe in these things till they actually happen.


My hair was very bad. Emphasis on was. Went to the hairdresser yesterday, resulting in a vastly improved appearance. July was a month of seclusion on the Big Lake or the Little Lake. The dogs and the Chap love me even when my hair is, shall we say, yucky. But August is a busier month, and campaign season is on the horizon, and well…it was time. Maybe past time.

I don’t count the cost when it comes to the hair—although on the average day (or even the special day) the hair probably doesn’t much look like it.

The more interesting part of my excursion was going to the weekly local Farmers’ Market in the square. The lady from the German bakery was there.

Also bad: I bought a soft pretzel to make up for not eating lunch, and a raspberry cream cheese breakfast kuchen for the Chap and me to share. But to compensate for my badness, I also got some awesomely, exquisitely beautiful organic green beans.


At the Lodge, a scene of carnage awaited my return. Wally, our condo-building chipmunk who lives near the front door, was seated on the doorstep eating something.

Something that used to be alive.

Something that used to be a toad.

I never would've imagined that sweet Wally, who eats seeds from my hand, who raised four babies, who's part of our family, is a carnivorous monster..

She was gnawing on the toad's head, eating the brains out. It was fascinating and disgusting at the same time. And a reminder that Nature isn't always pretty.

We freaked out, wondering if the chipmunks were going to turn on us all and start eating our flesh. I was about to telephone Masako, a naturalist at the state university, to report this bizarre incident. But first I grabbed her book about New England wildlife off the shelf. And there it was, in plain print. In addition to seeds and nuts and the usual stuff, chipmunks also eat insects, and "small amphibians and reptiles."

None of ours had ever actually done this right in front of our eyes. And I can understand why they've kept it secret.

Here's Wally, digesting the toad.

This morning the headless, legless trunk lies forlornly on the top step where she abandoned it. I'll have to give it a decent burial.

Today I've filled the seed dish (which I'd neglected to do for a couple of days), in hopes of saving the rest of the toads out there in the world.


Busy afternoon ahead--driving into the city with the Chap for all sorts of activities and appointments. We'll finish up with dinner at a Mexican restaurant.

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