Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Helmet Head the Squirrel and some 'golly gee whiz' nice flowers

I woke up Saturday to construction noise BUT a sunny day. So, good day to see the squirrels. Maybe squirrel mothers were a) desperate for food for childbirth or b) desperate for food for babies. I got dressed with help in a corset with my Lip Service hoodie and arm warmers. Here I am reading Tea for Two (thank you the person who got this for me a present, it is a very nice Boy Love story about an overly active guy who gets sent to the Tea Club as detention, and meets the refined President. The reactions to the traditions of the tea ceremony are laugh out loud, and his attempts to become refined and dignified and good too. We find that the President has been taught to act as an adult and be distant and refined since a child, and this ‘wild child’ is teaching him how to smile – he hasn’t worked up to a laugh yet, that might be in book 2!). I just talked to Cheryl and she recommends it too. The lesbian side story at the end of the book about the sisters has no influence (lie!).

We saw a lot of people, a couple 2 to 4 year old boys chasing squirrels with sticks and lots of crows (like hundreds). So not a lot of squirrels, and the ones we saw were mostly young and twitchy. Now, looking at my face, does my desire and focus to feed squirrels make me look like a squirrel? Same teeth and hand positions. Odd. Despite the giant squirrel in the wheelchair they came and took peanuts anyway. But one grey squirrel kept retreating up a tree nearby, going out on the branch and then eating his peanut while pulling off bits and dropping shell bits on me. I am not sure if this is squirrel humor or not? When we visited the the Hoh Rainforest, we saw young black squirrels swinging around on the moss. And the rangers said we were lucky as they, due to the uniform, get pelted with cones from the squirrels when they walk in the woods (cheeky squirrels).

Despite the fact that it snowed yesterday, SATURDAY was sunny and Linda stole the camera while Cheryl and I enjoyed a break and a chatand went off to take pictures of the flowers that have come up (hope they are still alive after the snow). I could use some help from readers as I show you this, um, blue (purple?) flower that looks nice. And over here are a bunch of yellow flowers that had come out into bloom (I know roses, carnations, lilies, daisies, lots of flowers, okay, it just turns out there are a few hundred flowers around where I live!). She also took a picture of me beneath the Sakura tree.
I found another squirrel who was brave enough to go through the crows and kids to get a peanut, who then acted like I did not bring the high quality peanut she usually demanded. She however was not the oddest squirrel of the day. Hands down, that would be Helmet Head, a squirrel who seemed to think that life was made of American Football (there are also some males during football season who seem to feel this way, if beer is included). Helmet couldn’t do a straight line if his hunger depended on it (guess he never learned a 10 yard buttonhook), but rather did complex feints to the right and left, bobs and weaves just to go an inch forward. So, after a series of blitz attacks, Helmet had reached the goalposts (you can see him standing up by the tree). I am holding out a peanut maybe 2 feet away, pretty easy right? Haha, that’s because you don’t see life as fourth down on the 30 yard line! Helmet leapt IN THE AIR forward, the velocity skidding his body forward over the scattered nettles.

Helmet is only a foot away, but instead of coming forward, in a blinding bob and feint to the left he then leapt to the right, completely fooling the opposition! (I am still holding the peanut out with sort of a dazed look on my face since Helmet I think got a few too many hits on the head). Arriving, he spins,and instead of going right or left, he does a shuffle step and bounds pretty much EXACTLY where he was before. Only now, with the momentum carrying him forward he immediately launches into the air again and leaps left atop the peanut which, after watching this squirrel burn up about 5 times the energy in the peanut, I have dropped.
Helmet is VICTORIOUS, touchdown! And though only 4 or 5 leaps to the left and right, he managed to get 18 inches forward. In true Helmet Head style, after the peanut is safely tucked in his teeth he bounds, getting some significant air time as he bounces a rebound off of the side of this tree to make his getaway. Good luck Helmet!

"Every party needs a pooper and that’s why they invited me, ‘Party Pooper! Party Pooper!’" – that is the odd song which means we went home after this because I had frostbite in two of my fingers. But I got to see the outside world (it is big and has a very high ceiling!). At home, we worked on the postcards for this week for part of Saturday and Sunday and did 60 postcards. That is a good number, sixty! (of course 61 sounds MORE impressive...but sixty is good too). Thanks to several donations of postcards from different people over time, I was able to meet some rarer requests. Thank you very much for both the requests and the assist with the postcards. This week due to some connectivity issue, both Cheryl and I were taking more time and being a bit more careful with the cards, so these are really postcards of deliberate care (after dropping lots of things, from toothbrushes to drinks, making sure I wasn’t stamping on my fingers instead of the postcard was a high priority).

So, was it a good weekend where you were?


Linda McClung said...

What a cute picture of you reading Tea for Two. You were looking really hot that day!

Touchdown! I couldn't believe the jumps Helmet Head made in order to get the peanut. I'm glad I took a little movie of it so you could replay the scene, because it would be indescribable. You did an awesome job cropping the pictures and writing the dialogue - it was very humourous.

I remember that squirrel in the tree. Not only was he dropping his shells, he was also chattering in a ticked off sort of way.

We were so lucky having such nice weather last week. It was a real shock to the system to have snow yesterday. Brrr! Fortunately it melted once it touched the ground. It was weird because we didn't have any at our apartment, but 2 miles away the snow was settling on the ground. Have I said lately how much I like living so near the waterfront?

JaneB said...

Such cute pictures!

Where I was, the weekend was a bit of a blur. I slept a lot, and I went to the old-fashioned sweetie shop and bought a paper cone of candy I used to have as a kid (sherbet pips), and got used as a cat climbing tower. Squirrels are probably lighter and have shorter claws...

Neil said...

Ah, you look so wonderful in that corset, dear Internet Niece.

Squirrels have been visible here occasionally, but it's still mostly winter, and they aren't very busy yet. LOTS of snow still on the ground. I saw some strange tracks in the snow a couple of weeks ago that turned out to be the signs of a squirrel jumping along the snow, then slowing down to run, from one tree to another.

As for my weekend, there were a few moments of sun on Friday, and it was sunny for part of Saturday, but it has mostly been cloudy and foggy here. More fog in the last week than I can remember for years.

The postcards are beautiful. Sixty is a good number; don't mess up the numbers by passing out!

Love and zen hugs to all three of you!

Dawn Allenbach said...

Sounds to me like Helmet Head had been receiving some caffeine or maybe crack from someone else. Skittish much?

I'm horrible with flowers, too, but the yellow ones remind me of Alstromerias -- quite popular in florists' shops in shades of heather with spots.

My weekend was pretty tame. Saw my newborn second cousin Friday. Got some fish fin pictures in the mail Friday and some weight and length data on Saturday. Watched a new program from Celtic Thunder on PBS Sunday night (it's spring pledge drive time, so they pull out all the entertainment big guns).

This coming weekend brings a baby shower for a woman in my parents' church and maybe a visit from my friend Jonikka. The weekend after, on the Spring Equinox, is Jonikka's wedding.

But tonight I am going to dinner and a concert with my friend Lynlee. She's taking me to see Great Big Sea, a Newfoundland-based folk group who apparently perform a mixture of Irish and English traditional tunes and more modern ones. Sounds like fun.

Victor Kellar said...

We're actually having some uncharacteristally spring like weather here in Toronto as well, it's been a very mild spring over all

Terra is very fond of squirrels. No, not fond. Obsessed, in her border collie way. She lays in the picture window and watches them scurry across the power lines and bounce across the lawn, her head jerking with every move they make and making this soft, low whining sound deep in her throat

When on leash I know when she spots a squirrel, the leash goes tense, her head lowers, her shoudlers hunch up. She's good on leash, she won't lunge but every muscle in her body tenses as she thinks about

Off leash in the park her whole body flattens, the tail curls and the head drops even lower. She doesn't run at the squirrel like a hound or freeze into a "tell" like a pointer. Terra is a sheep dog, a "header" which means she uses her stare to control her quarry. So she slowly creeps forward, ears flat, her vision totally fixed on the squirrel ...

But these are big city squirrels. They're tough. They probably have lawyers. So they just watch her as if saying "hey border collie, I'm not a sheep" and then they calmly saunter away. Terra is totally baffled by this, but it never stops her the next time around.

wendryn said...

I'm so glad you got to see the squirrels again! Helmet head sounds quite funny!

I'm really glad to see you enjoying things. That's important.

Weekend was pretty good, despite the nasty cough. Finally getting better.

Lene Andersen said...

Love the play-by-play. I almost stood up and cheered when Helmet Head got there!

And the cherry blossoms... Sob... Can't believe how much spring you already have. It'll be another 2 months before it looks like that in Toronto.

FridaWrites said...

What an athletic gymnast of a squirrel. I can't believe your trees are in bloom already--ours are just starting to bloom. I was able to go to the bookstore to look for an hour Sunday--found several things I want to put on hold from the library, as did the kids. Toot bought a book he'd been waiting for in his favorite series with his allowance. Books and looking at them didn't used to seem like such a luxury! Oh, they had big Skelanimals too, and a Skelanimals bag.

On Friday Toot had his annual Pinewood Derby with Scouts--much fun, except he was disappointed since he's won Grand Prize for the whole pack every year before (1st, 2nd, and 3rd grades) and this year did not even place in his grade. Apparently one axle was off. But learning to cope with disappointment and uncertainty is an important part of growing up.

FridaWrites said...

"didn't used to?" My brain, my brain...really was an extraordinarily brain-draining day. aaaaagh!

cheryl g said...

You looked good in your corset and hoodie. The black velvet is great on you.

You could tell the good weather had brought out the people with dogs and the children with sticks since the squirrels we saw were all very jumpy. You definitely had the most success getting them to come close.

The flowers were beautiful. The blueish star shaped flowers are a variety of hyacinth. The yellow flowers are a variety of rhododendron.I still say some of what we saw up and blooming is coming on a month early.

As for Helmet Head… I swear I could hear him going “Hut, Hut, Hut” under his breath the whole time he was doing maneuvers. Either he is a football player or he has seen too many commando movies.

Doing postcards when the hand use is compromised is always interesting but we still have fun and make beautiful works of mail art. Sixty postcards is a nice number to do. Even number lots are good.

Victor: love the idea of big city squirrels who have their own lawyers.

yanub said...

I saw sunlight over the weekend, but hardly ventured out, what with the desperate need to recover from the work week. This week I feel better, so of course, rain is predicted for the weekend!

I love the pictures y'all took at the park. The flowers, the squirrels, that weird chick with the skull lap blanket.... Seriously, the pictures are so good I can almost feel like I am there in the park with you.

deadrose said...

It's not the city squirrels with lawyers I worry about, it's the ones with shivs.

Many years ago, my boyfriend and I were sitting under a tree at the edge of campus, just relaxing. Nearby sat a blind woman who frequently busked on the Ave, eating her sandwich.

We were stunned to the point of immobility when a squirrel strolled up to her, obviously aware she couldn't see him, tugged a slice of sandwich meat out of her sandwich, and sauntered off with his prize.

Makes you wonder if the campus squirrels had been used in some unusual experiments!

FridaWrites said...

Victor, my border collie does the same--I didn't realize what the lying down/pulling behavior was until you wrote that. Border collies really seem to like other animals--they'll (attempt to) round them up, not chase them in the same way. They'll also round up babies and toddlers and herd them off in a smaller area--hilarious.

Neil said...

Dawn: How was the Great Big Sea concert? I haven't had a chance to see them, but have several of their albums.

Beth: You look very "at home" beneath the cherry blossoms.

Love and zen hugs,

Bonnie said...

The blue flowers are definitely a hyacinth variety. I have wood hyacinths and they look very similar but bloom 2 months later here. Since we're in different growing zones I'm sure your flower varietals are a bit different.

Why, yes, I am a gardener, can you tell?

The yellow ones actually look very azalea-ish to me. Are they on little twiggy bushes? (No, not that kind of bush)

Elizabeth McClung said...

Dawn: Great Big Seas is kickin! Yes, who is giving these squirrels caffine?

Squirrels are individuals, and I like the stories about the different squirrel muggings (not so much on stealing sandwiches from sight impaired, but since they try to steal whole bags from me, I think they are an equality theft unit).

Music Festival - I want one of those.

e said...

Hi Beth,

This was a great, fun post. I am so glad you got such nice weather, and the chance to be out in it with the squirrels. Our weather has been wet and cold, hardly the stuff to go out in.

I sent a letter, it should arrive anytime. I'll get caught up on your posts...Take care.