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December 21, 2019
Carbon tissue print of the Christiansen house.

December 21, 2019

Today started with my feeling good enough to take Gunther half-way around the block on his daily bombing mission in my bathrobe.  He dropped his poops harmlessly in the alley on some snow, where I dutifully grabbed them up with a plastic bag. 

This, despite a lot of dog shit (I think from my neighbor across the alley).  He lets his two labs into the alley to defile my favorite part of the block.  I’ve had excellent experiences in alleys since childhood.  My friend Mike and I used to smoke our parents’ cigarettes in the alley.  We started fires.  We walked on chamomile when it carpeted the alley in the summer.  We taunted our enemies and threw rocks.  We picked flowers and gave them to our moms.  The alley was our domain.

In recent years I’ve met my neighbors in the alley and we’ve talked about science experiments with sulfur.  Mr. Don Christiansen used to be a high school science teacher in the little town of Stanford, on the way to Great Falls.  He told me a story about a couple of boys who—get this—made nitroglycerine!  Don advised the pair to use an eye dropper to mix the sulfuric and nitric acids and glycerine.  They did, and sure enough, they got a violent explosion that did them no serious harm, but made them cry. 

I always enjoy walking our alley, even with dog shit laying around.

You know, I’ve thought about strategies.  I could post ugly signs on utility poles.  I could shovel up the turds and fling them over his fence.  I used to move the excrement from the margins of the alley into the wheel trackways, but I’ve also scooped them and dropped them into a dumpster.  

Usually I work around the ugliness: when walking in the winter or weed-whacking in the summer.  I’m still undecided, but I believe I’ll do the kindest thing—to myself.  I’ll let it go, but I’ll continue to let Gunther harass the dogs through their fence.  He fiercely growls and barks, eliciting a like response from the labs.  When he tires of that, he poops in front of them.  Then I pick it up with the little plastic bag, the one I bought in quantity at PetSmart.

Mission done this morning, I laid down for a nap.

My beautiful daughter Clara called me.  I reminded her that she is bringing her family to visit tomorrow!  “No,” she replied.  “Monday.”  Then she checked her ticket.  “Oh em gee,” she said.  “It is tomorrow.”  She phoned later to inform me that everyone is organized to travel tomorrow.  “We’ll get in about midnight,” she said.  “You and mom will have to drink lots of coffee.”

I reminded her that my internist has, among other difficult orders, forbidden alcohol or caffeine.  “You will be lots of fun, then!” Clara said.

The past couple of weeks I’ve not taken any alcohol or caffeine and I have had more fun.  Example:  last evening we had a few people over, including two children.  While the adults all drank abundant wine, I sat at a card table with the kids and we drank lemonade.  My granddaughter shared my glass, much to my joy.  She is in junior high and ultra cool.  She’s always been fashion-forward, and careful with her affection.  The children talked about movies I’ve never seen, about music I’ve never heard, but at least I got to be with them.  Actually, it wasn’t that much fun for me.

When it was time to clean up the kitchen I was in the best shape to do it.  (The wine drinkers were talking large.)  I filled he dishwasher quickly.

Unfortunately, being sober the whole night did not help me to play Password.  I went to bed at 10:30.

I left P. and her friend Patty Anne to sit by the fire sipping port and talking about quilts.

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