Yes, Thanksgiving was fabulous, time with loved ones, much to be grateful for, the perfect three-stick mashed potatoes, all of that, but the other highlight of last week:

Something ate the top of one of Bag Lady’s outdoor garbage cans.

I emerged from the house one morning to find a palm-sized hole and black plastic shavings everywhere. The muddy paw prints left behind were . . . raccoonish? Maybe? (I’m no Ranger Rick.)

My disdain for said garbage cans is longstanding and well documented, with its arrows instructing the garbagee turn both left and right to open the locking mechanism and neither actually working. Instead, when you’d like to set a bag in, there’s always cursing and flailing and it’s all the height of indignity.

Exhibit A: Bag Lady’s mysteriously gnawed garbage can.

Sonnets* have been penned about their awfulness.

Hark, what lie atop that can so vast,
A lid of ill repute, an inoperative pain in the —


*Maybe that’s a sonnet? I’m also no Shakespeare.

Now, suddenly, a determined raccoon/wolverine/cougar has come along to dispatch one for me and I can fully justify replacing them with a set that, gasp, actually opens at first attempt! It’s a Thanksgiving miracle.

Wild about your cans? Recommendations welcome.


Maine’s plastic bag ban is five months old and yet I’ve still not successfully retrained my brain to bring a reusable bag into nongrocery retailers.

Enter Books-A-Million.


Bag Lady was in the Auburn Mall last week and made a fine gift purchase only to be offered a bag at checkout not for the you-need-to-start-remembering usual 5 cents but the you-will-never-again-forget price of $1.35.

Not wanting to continue my shopping walking around like a dork holding a book, I bought it. The bag is cloth, book-sized, with very low odds of ever being used again.

Lesson learned and nicely played, BAM.


Shopping Siren and Bag Lady embarked on a major clean-out and downsizing two years ago after discovering our purses collectively weighed nearly 10 pounds, more than half of that BL’s.

The situation has kicked up a notch.


My purse now weighs enough to register as an unbuckled passenger in the passenger seat of my car. There’s dinging every minute or so. There’s frantically trying to reposition it to make the noise stop.

And yet there was not room enough to hold a book?

No, there was not.


Maybe it wasn’t a raccoon/wolverine/cougar that destroyed the lid! Maybe it was Bag Lady’s not-pet skunk, Mandy, with the gorgeous long locks, last spotted on the perimeter of BL’s lawn slowly backing away with a burnt grilled cheese in her mouth.

I know. There’s a lot to unpack there.


Googling around finds that skunks on a mission can pry a lid off but they aren’t frequent chewers, so we’re right back to square one with the mystery culprit.

Hark, what foul beast lurks in the night,

Just don’t eviscerate my next cans, all right?

It’s no use. Turns out I am a dork.

Bag Lady’s true identity is protected by a pair of stylish, sweater-wearing Doberman pinschers (who, hark, er, bark at the garbage cans every time they’re knocked by the wind) and the customer service counter at the Sun Journal. You can reach her at

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