Tall tails
Friday July 24th 2009, 3:03 pm
Filed under: Crohn's flare,Wildlife

To answer the question–yes, the surgeon encouraged me to go ahead to Sock Summit if I wanted to first: go live your life! The answer was I would dearly love to, but with Richard shaking his head reminding me of the reality of what the Crohn’s is doing right now, there was no way.

Thus I got a phone call this morning from the hospital. Wednesday the 5th it is. (Ed. to add: you know you’re a knitter when you interpret that as one Knit Night away.)


I’d be curious to know if other city dwellers have noticed these patterns.

I finally figured out what was missing when I finally saw one doing it. I don’t know if it’s an urban squirrel thing, ie behaviors stemming from the lack of predators, or a young squirrel thing.  But based on what I’ve seen, it’s definitely the former.

I knew it was important to train our local population from the moment they discovered our birdfeeder, and, playing the wild woman at them, I did–none of the squirrels tries to climb to or leap on it anymore, and if they see me coming, even from inside, they don’t amble away from the birdseed on the ground, they flat-out RUN. Especially ever since the day one fell off the awning onto the concrete in its mad scramble.  Ouch.  (It recovered quickly.)  I guess word got out.

The thing that has changed is this: I’ve always thought squirrels were cute. And part of why I thought they were cute was the way they eat: picking up the bit of food and then sitting up alert, nibbling away with it held to their mouths while their tails are curled tightly up against them shaped like an effort at a treble clef.  Constantly looking around, constantly being alert to their environment. Tuned in. Twitching the end of their tails at the slightest sign of danger to warn others, first just a bit while it’s curled up against them, then, as the sense of danger intensifies, in bigger twitches with their tails spread out like a flag in the wind behind them just before they break out into a run for the trees.

Our squirrels didn’t do that.  No sitting up. No curled tails at all.  No twitching. They just moseyed along, noses to the ground, tails listless and flat, chewing as they went, and that was that. Never sitting up at the table using proper manners. Never holding the food up to their mouths in their paws.  Never warning other squirrels, whether from the trees or on the ground or anywhere ever.

Now that ours have learned to be afraid of me, they’ve started to take note of their surroundings, to sit up a bit, to even curl their tails. (And it looks like a bad comb-over on one that has a particularly thin tail.) Only sometimes and usually only halfway up, but they’re getting the idea. One actually twitched his–it was so strikingly unusual, and shouldn’t have been, that it grabbed my attention immediately.

Sitting up and eating with paws to mouth rather than skulking like a rat–now you’re getting there! Warning others of dangers rather than only thinking about yourself.  Acting more like a member of a community.

I feel like I’ve sent my squirrels to finishing school or something.

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Okay, so August 5 it is. I know this is nothing to look forward to with eager anticipation, but …IT WILL FINALLY BE OVER AND DONE WITH! (We hope).

As to the uncouth squirrels, they could take lessons from my cockatiel, Pepper, who takes a bit of food from his food cup, holds it in his left claw, and chews on it. Quite a sight!



~ I planted some bird seed. A bird came up. Now I don’t know what to feed it.

~ I had amnesia once–or twice.

~ Protons have mass? I didn’t even know they were Catholic.

~ All I ask is a chance to prove that money can’t make me happy.

~ What is a “free” gift? Aren’t all gifts free?

~ They told me I was gullible…and I believed them.

~ Teach a child to be polite and courteous in the home and, when he grows up, he’ll never be able to merge
his car onto a freeway.

~ Two can live as cheaply as one–for half as long.

~ Experience is the thing you have left when everything else is gone.

~ A flashlight is a case for holding dead batteries.

~ If swimming is so good for your figure, how do you explain whales?

~ My therapist says that I’m too vengeful. We’ll just see about that!

Comment by Don Meyer 07.24.09 @ 4:31 pm

Bwahaha! I love it. Squirrel finishing school. I have a few students who could use that finishing school 😉

Comment by Jocelyn 07.24.09 @ 4:42 pm

Ooh…. you’ve put the fear of Alison into ’em! 😉

There’ll be other Sock Summits (if Steph and the rest recover their sanity after this one). There’s only one you. Get fixed.

Comment by Lene 07.24.09 @ 4:42 pm

A little furry army of Paul Reveres twitching: “The Alison is coming! The Alison is coming!”

Comment by LynnM 07.25.09 @ 3:01 am

Prayers will be with you on the 5th. More important that you take care of you.

Stupid squirrels. They run in front of your car, then change their mind which direction they want to go…lol. I have not seen one of those cute little red squirrels in years.

Comment by Joansie 07.25.09 @ 3:34 am

I know our health is one of our most precious possessions, but, I was so hoping I could meet you and have you sign your book. Next year! My sister and I will take you with us to our classes at Sock Summit 09. It’s our “Leave husbands at home and take a once in a lifetime knitting vacation” – maybe now we have a reason to plan to go next year – Love that……………. All the best with your surgery, you are in my prayers.

Comment by Melanie Zahara 07.25.09 @ 8:28 am

Squirrels, a pleasantly pesky diversion!
Send me some..I’ve no trees that interest them.

Ah, the fifth, thank you for letting us know.
You’ll be in our thoughts and prayers.

Comment by Toni Smoky-Mountains 07.25.09 @ 8:32 am

The 5th it is then! Good.

And my girls have other ideas on how to fix your squirrels…

Comment by Channon 07.26.09 @ 6:59 am

Sending more positive vibes and prayers of peacefulness your way.

As for the squirrels, I find them cute as well. But then again, I don’t have a garden or fruit trees they can damage. lol

Comment by Suzanne 07.27.09 @ 5:46 am

Good, now we need to teach them a job that’s more useful. No messing up our phone signals anymore, how about cleaning the yard?

Comment by Alicia 07.28.09 @ 8:50 am

Your squirrels have puny tails. teensy, skinny things! Unbelievable.

I rescued a frog in our apartment last night. No idea how the poor guy got in there, but the cat was *most intrigued*, and he did his very best bump-on-a-log impression. It would have worked better if he hadn’t been on white linoleum at the time. Good times.

Also — Lucy and I have been saying prayers a lot. You have been included in them, no surprise. Also, Mama has been working on correcting her own language a lot. This resulted in a funny moment when I said something to the effect of “Let’s ask God to watch over our friend, Alison,” and Lucy popped her thumb out of her mouth, opened her eyes, and said (with a very prudish little look, if I may say so myself), “Gosh, Mama.”

Love you much, lady.

Comment by Kristine 07.28.09 @ 11:50 am

Best wishes for a speedy recovery. Heal fast; visualize those cuts as blood vessels knitting up into healthy tissue. Sock Summit will happen another year for you.

Comment by Betsy 08.02.09 @ 10:51 pm

Alison – sending you much love and pain-free healing from Rockville, MD.


Comment by soozie b 08.05.09 @ 9:14 pm

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