Best! Week! Ever!

Last Thursday afternoon, my friend Kim had just arrived for a visit with me and the dogs. I went out to let her in from the guest parking area, and as we returned to my apartment we could smell what we thought was incense. Within minutes, I was calling 911. We grabbed the dogs and ran through a hallway filled with dense black smoke to safety. The whole episode was swift and terrifying. But we were fortunate; no one was hurt, or worse.

Several apartments were destroyed in the fire, which started in the unit adjacent to ours. The fire burned up, but the smoke filled our place, coating every square inch of everything with acrid soot. Walls, floors, furniture, clothes, rugs, art, electronics… the smoke found its way into closed closets and drawers. But again, we’re fortunate to have insurance that will cover the restoration or replacement of these things.

We stayed with friends for a few days over the weekend. Their upstairs neighbor just happened to be spending this week with family in Boston, so here we are, taking care of her chocolate lab, Luna. Our dogs Charlie, Bernardo and Tiger are rolling with it – but I know they are wondering, What the hell is going on here?!

That same thought has crossed my mind once or twice in the last few days. But we managed to find an apartment to sublet for October and half of November, just a few blocks from our smoked-out mess of a home. And hoping that will be enough time to get it all shipshape. There have been a few other mini-dramas along the way, but I am too tired to conjure them for you tonight. Perhaps another time, when I can see more of the humor in it all.

Today was kind of funny, though. I was scheduled for a colonoscopy and was tempted to cancel, but the prospect of being zonked out on high-grade anesthesia was too good to pass up. I asked them if they could wake me in November.

Some wisdom I earned this week that I can now pass along to you:

1. If you smell smoke, get out. If Kim and I had waited even one more minute, it might have been too late.

2. Things are just things. We all know this. When we are reminded, it can be an oddly comforting lesson.

3. If you are old enough to be needing a routine colonoscopy, stop worrying about it. I would rather have ten colonoscopies than one teeth cleaning. You do the ‘cleanse’ the night before by drinking a month’s supply of laxatives mixed in a gallon of fruit juice. Catch up on your favorite Netflix series and be prepared to hit the pause button. Frequently. The next morning you go into the hospital, lots of very kind people fuss over you, and the next thing you know you’re waking up and being given some cookies and apple juice. It’s over. And then you can pig out on lunch – you’ve earned it.

Best week ever? Hardly. But the thing I was dreading wasn’t so bad after all. And the dreadful thing could have been far worse.

The End (so far)

Rabbit Rabbit Redux

“Huh?” (then click here)

Rabbit Rabbit

Are you superstitious?

If you answered, Superstitious? Me? No. No! What a lot of rubbish, that! – then you would make a lousy Englishman, in spite of your veddy British affectation. The English are great believers in luck.


We’re all a little superstitious, aren’t we? Every human culture has deeply ingrained reflexes based on our most ancient fears and beliefs. We may no longer subscribe to (or even be aware of) their origins… but these very old habits are the hardest to break.


There is also very little to be gained by purging your programming of these harmless subroutines. Especially the ones designed to bring luck. Who doesn’t need a little extra luck now and then?

Since there was a time when the sun never set on the British Empire, English superstitions found their way into other cultures all over the world. Now, you could make the case that the English must not be very lucky, as they lost or gave away most of that real estate portfolio in the last hundred years. Let’s face it: they’re down to the ‘Home Island’ plus that nasty bit of horseshoerocks down by Antarctica they call “the Falklands” (known to most of the world as los Malvinas). And now even Scotland is running for the exit… So why would anyone put any stock in England’s good luck charms? What good are they? Well… I suppose one could argue that – but for a little bit of luck – the English would be sprechen Deutsch today. Right then! Off you go.

I woke up this Saturday morning when Bernardo jumped up on the bed and joined Tiger who was already snuggled under the covers. “Good morning, B!” I said as I scratched his head with one hand and grabbed my phone with the other. And there it was, right next to the (always sunny) weather icon: 1 FEB 2014.

Aaaaarrrrrgggggh! Too late! But I said it anyway – just in case it might somehow apply retroactively. “Rabbit rabbit.” I think I learned this from my friend Laird when we were kids. (She is a powerful witch and has taught me a great many things along the way, so I hang on rabbit-710to her like a talisman.) On the first day of the month, if the first words you say aloud are “rabbit rabbit” you’ll have good luck that month. There are variations on the theme: Say “rabbit” thrice, or “White rabbit”. But the key ingredient is rabbit. “Duck Duck Goose”, for example, won’t work.

More often than not, I fail at this simple spell. But sometimes, I get lucky and remember to say it first. And that’s as good a way as any to start off a new month. Now, I need an alternative good luck charm for February. I might be tempted to make a rather ribald remark about touching wood. But this is a family blog.