I was busy barbequing chicken kebabs late this afternoon when my wife came over and announced a minor crisis: "I think there is a tick on the bathroom mirror". I took a look at the creature and confirmed her tentative identification. The patterns on the tick's back looked unusual, so I left to get my camera and a vial of alcohol.
A quick search on the Internet identified it as a female American dog tick, (Deracentor variabilis). It definitely looks different than the deer ticks that I am more used to seeing around and on me.
I haven't the slightest idea where it came from and how it ended up on the side of the bathroom mirror. It is now resting in alcohol.
Photographs of and information about American dog ticks are available here. here and here. They apparently transmit Rickettsia rickettsii, the bacterium that causes Rocky Mountain spotted fever in humans. Just what we needed.