Never judge a racoon by its attempts to kill you in the night

music to read by :: Drunk (Ed Sheeran)

You’d think that everything about this photo is staged, and you’d be partly right. Except that the guys are real, the racoon is real, and we really were out out in the middle of nowhere. That guy in front? He’s not really drunk.

I can’t speak for the racoon.

The racoon. Or “Vito”, as we came to call him.

Vito came to us in the middle of the night, making his scary racoon noises and trying to claw his way through the roof of our flimsy in the middle of the woods cult horror film cabin. This was mostly three years of therapy forming for my friend who, earlier, had lost the toss for the top bunk. The bunk situated a foot from the roof. The bunk now firmly below where this wild maniacal racoon was trying to claw through. Screeching. Howling. Probably wielding an ax or some such thing.

The racoon finally gave up, or lost its knife or something, and moved on to the second cabin where he went to town on the door. We held a brief discussion as to whether or not to go to our friends’ aid, but decided our bunks were safer. Seriously. Never leave the bunk, or go out alone when being attacked by things in the woods. Basic safety, people.

I’m not sure how long the screaming went on for – I think I nodded off around dawn –  but when I rose for breakfast I found my camp mates hanging around drinking coffee and shooting the breeze with the cutest wee little racoon! Turned out our midnight killer was just a babe in the woods, had spent the remainder of the night sleeping at the foot of our camp mates bunk, and had no intention of leaving our company. And he was hungry.

So my husband dug deep, reached for his inner racoon and went frog hunting.

Vito hung with us the whole weekend. We made sure he was fed, but not with our food. We hunted (frogs) and gathered. When it came time to leave, we had many mixed feelings. Wolves were abundant in this area and it seemed he had no family and was still really quite young. We were also in deep woods. The kind you off-road to get to; where “cross the bridge” on the directions really meant, “balance your car tires on two the boards and attempt to drive without falling off”.

In the end we left, but two of our group returned the next day and found him hanging in the camp. The had brought a cat carrier, so gathered Vito up and brought him to town to the wildlife rescue centre , where he was fattened up and later released to the wild.

I just hope they took away his machete.

Oh yeah … support your local wildlife rescue centres. They do good work.


Hello November, the month that follows September….

music to read by  :: November (Tom Waits)

…because if November followed, say, some made up month like – oh, I don’t know – October, it would mean that I accomplished nothing of import, that I slept and watched the rain, knitted while leaves fell, and generally sat around; that I missed some yoga, and painted nothing. No pots, no blood, no stuff at all.

So, November. As you blow your below zero temperatures across the 613 – and don’t think I didn’t notice that snow – let’s pretend we are tucked in, all nice a cosy, back in Jaipur, back in the Samode Palace having tea with the sun beating down on our heads.

Samode Palace


Sometimes, simple is best :: rice and falafel

music to read by :: Piya Re (Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan)

Many moons ago, we found our way to Egypt and spent some time hanging in Cairo, Luxor, and Aswan, with a sail up the Nile, sleeping on a felucca, not to mention swimming. Yes, we swam in the Nile. Yes, it was February. Yes, it was cold. And yes, it was clean, as we were not swimming anywhere near a large urban center. And frankly, we stank.

Giza Plateau, photo par moi

We ate in fancy restaurants, hotel restaurants, were cooked for by the captain of the felucca, ate on a barge, and even ventured into a Kentucky Fried Chicken run by the blind. For the record, it was the best chicken I ever ate.

But my favourite meal was some type of  ‘peasant’ food consisting of rice, lentils, beans (?), sauce, hot sauce, and who knows what else. We ate it most days in Cairo, tho getting it meant running across 8 lanes of Egyptian traffic, waiting in line with locals, and then pointing, as the workers didn’t speak english. Our hotel staff laughed at us as they could not believe we north americans would rather eat ‘peasant’ food instead of in one of the more trendy restaurants.

Sometimes, simple food is just better food. Continue reading