Skwerls!

(c) Lillian Stokes, 2009
In the latest battles of the bird feeder wars between humans (i.e. me) and gray squirrels (i.e. them), the skwerls definitely have the upper ha- um, paw, greedy little cusses that they are.

I honestly don’t know, perhaps in a fit of impending middle-aged softening of the head, but a few years ago I started hanging a bird feeder or two. Joking (or not) aside, I like to see the various birds that come out – chickadees, blue jays, cardinals, other little birds I haven’t identified, since I’m not a serious bird person. We also have bunches of mourning doves that hang around, which I also don’t mind but they’re not as much fun to see as the others. The one I really don’t like to see, though, is the bushy-tailed gray vulture a/k/a the gray squirrel. They make a mess, they scare off the real birds, they hog the bird seed (especially the sunflower seeds), and they destroy bird feeders. So far we’re 1-for-4, with the latest in our arsenal being the Brome Squirrel Buster Mini. Without sounding too violent, though, I was thinking about something with an anti-squirrel missile launcher, but they seem to back-ordered or something.

After watching “Raccoon Nation” on Nature a few weeks ago, I wonder if our efforts to thwart squirrels is having the similar, unintended consequence of creating a race of uber-squirrels. Yikes, there’s a thought.

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Highlands Highlights

More Highlands highlights. I’m sure the photo, as amazing as it is, doesn’t do the real thing justice. Still, that I know someone who was there and actually stood there to take the photo makes it that much more real.

Waiting

Is it the hardest part? Sometimes, I guess, though dealing with what you’ve been waiting for may be harder, depending on what it is. Seems like we’re always waiting for something – the phone to ring, a letter (a what?), the outcome of an election, an occasion or holiday, or some other event – so you’d think that we’d always be in that tension. And so we probably are, though we experience it more acutely at certain times. Like after hitting the “submit” button on a college admissions application.

Now all we can do is wait.

O Say Can You See


It’s time for Puerto Rico to become the 51st of the United States of America. It’s time to put this particular remnant of American colonialism to rest and give the millions of citizens of Puerto Rico a full voice, the full benefit, and the full responsibility of statehood. Of course, this begs the question of what to do with other territories, like Guam and the US Virgin Islands, to name only a couple, but their populations are vastly smaller than Puerto Rico’s. In fact, if Puerto Rico were a state, it would rank between Connecticut and Oklahoma by population. I can’t imagine Nutmeggers or Okies being willing to settle for second-class citizenship; why should Puerto Ricans? And in the wake of the most recent election, though we have many other issues – like the fiscal cliff – to deal with, now seems to be a as good a time as any to have a broader discussion about what citizenship really means, not just for the residents of Puerto Rico, but for all of us.

Besides, we already have a flag designed. See?

VOTE!

For those of us in the United States (including those citizens who are overseas serving in the military or for other reasons) today is Election Day. No news there.That the campaign, not just for president, but for just about everything else, has gone on far too long, been far too expensive, and far, FAR too divisive? Well, no news there, either. Goodness knows there’s plenty to be dissatisfied with, and cynical about, and much about the system needs fixing. But today, as I have nearly every Election Day since I turned eighteen, I went to the polls, stood in line, gave my name, filled out my ballots and put them in the ballot box. It’s a ritual, one I feel should not be passed up by using absentee ballots (unless really necessary), standing shoulder to shoulder with people with whom you may agree or may not and being part of the process.

For all of you who have voted, and for all who will work long hours today making sure we could, thanks! And for those of you who have not yet voted, please make the effort.

New Isn’t Always Better

Speaking of close shaves, I have been doing a lot of reading lately about a quintessentially masculine experience, shaving one’s face. Of course, being married and having three daughters I know that shaving in and of itself is not the sole province of men but, in general, shaving one’s beard is. I also know that not all men shave their beards so, if you fall into that camp, feel free to skip the rest of the post, read on with curiosity about those of us who do (most of the time), or read on and become a convert to the clean-shaven.

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