Not sure if we have adopted a squirrel or if she has adopted us.
It began with me spotting a medium grey squirrel bounding across the lawn. A somewhat unusual sight. Deer are more frequent visitors. Squirrel activity diminished with dogs moving into the neighborhood.
Or so we thought.
Upon spotting the bounding squirrel I mustered up my squirrel call. You know the one, that high-pitched ch-ch-ch the do. Yeah. She was impressed and came leaping right over to me. She look fairly surprised to find me instead of a swaggering grey suited critter of interest.
Since then she has shown little fear of hanging out in the yard with us. Costco is making a tidy profit from the bags of peanuts the hubs buys for her.
She will cautiously approach us and grab a peanut from our fingers. Rolling and measuring its worth in her mouth she will then deposit it in some part of the yard. Digging like a little terrier she pats it in place with dainty satisfaction and traipses over for more. I split them open because once open she tastes that peanuttyness and snacks right on the spot, inches from whern indoor th b f the f federal gregg geg for gu the gggy g of b no un noun bun nt in n ink in b min in see see e sawwwww swe wewew es swe de xmewwe swe was e I sit on the bench. Syringa, does truly work for peanuts.
Now we have a couple of new additions. A tiny sable squirrel who discovered the neighbor’s squirrel proof red ffcc ccfc f fcc cd c cc bird feeder could not deter him. He used our fence as a diner freeway until trashing the bird feeder in less than two weeks. He has moved on the freebie peanuts laid out for Syringa. She’s having none of it.
There tussles and chitterings range across the lawn and through the lily leaves. Entertaining turf wars at its best. We call this little guy Skitter, since he moves as fast as a drop of water on the pancake skillet. He’s too fast to snap a photo.
And a third squirrel has appeared. Yet, this one is a puzzlement. I notice it is small with characteristic squirrel gray coloring yet its eye rings are white like a chipmunk and so is its tummy. The legs are brownish. A hybrid squirrel? We’ve dubbed this one Buddy, as in “Hey, Buddy—what are you?”
The cx bbcgf he are beginning to vacate the area for warmer climates so there is less action at the feeder. On the other hand, the colder weather is ramping up squirrel activity as they gather nuts and bury them all over the yard. I find peanuts in my plant containers, in flower beds, and all over the lawn. How will they find them all?
Settling into a corset series, one of those lavish PBS costume dramas based on a historical figure or event, has been a go to strategy for dreary winter evenings, long before stay home/stay safe became a mainstay.
Watching people come to life in all their period finery, re-enacting events that shaped history is both enlightening and entertaining. Although show runners tend to lean more towards the entertaining, rather than the enlightenment aspect when presenting their slice of history.
Victoria, now in its third season, is quite guilty of drifting towards a soap opera since its attention to accurately portraying events leans more towards hysteria than historical.
Victoria constantly refers to her miserable childhood at Kensington, especially being an only child. While it’s true life at Kensington was abominable in many ways, Victoria was not an only child, a lament she emphasizes. In actuality she had the company of her much older half-sister Feodora until she was eight years old and they had a close relationship through correspondence, although actual visits to London were rare. The scheming frenemy relationship portrayed is all for show.
Skerretelli: ah, the romance of the head cook and the queen’s dresser is so endearing, so captivating—so untrue. Charles Francatelli never married the Queen’s Head Dresser. Nancy, whose real name was Marianne Skerrett, served the queen for twenty-five years (and was 44 years old when she came to the palace to serve the 18 year old monarch). She spoke several languages, came from a well-connected family, and had considerable responsibilities. Francatelli did not work long at the palace, and there is no record of he and Skerrett being together. Skerrett was married to her job. So much for that romance.
Another false romance is that of Ernest and Harriet. In real life, Ernest was married at that time, and so was Harriett, plus, she was twelve years older than him. Oh, she eventually had eleven children, while Ernest did not have any with his wife. He did have that problem referred to throughout the episodes—thanks to his dear Papa who introduced him to brothels. Albert declined, of course that initiation.
Albert’s parentage remains a historical titillation since Leopold happened to be visiting when Albert’s mother conceived. Even historians tend towards questionable conclusions.
And yes, there were several assassination attempts on Victoria.
As for Lord M…much ado about nothing. Lord Melbourne did indeed have a huge influence as her prime minister, yet he acted as a mentor for the young queen, advising and guiding her first years as a monarch. He was more of a father figure, although it might be conceivable Victoria had a crush on Lord M, although being 40 years older creates doubt.
Other points of detouring from fact include the Duchess of Bucceouth being in her spritely 30s instead of the curmudgeonly older woman Diana Riggs brought to the role.
The duchess and the footman romance is loosely based on Caroline Norton’s sad experience (accused of adultery with Lord M), and being denied access to her children. She was able to change the law so women had more rights—now that would make for an excellent episode. Instead we get trysts and time outs.
Although Queen Victoria is not one of my British monarch faves, costume dramas, BBC style, are so colorful and elaborate, such a visual feast, such an escape, especially in winter when evenings start at 4 pm.
I do wonder why the writers feel the necessity to tinker with the historical truths. Actual events were plentiful and interesting enough in their own without elaboration or bending.
So, an open request to BBC showrunners: Really, we can handle history as it happened. If we want dramatized history we can turn to Shakespeare.
That reminds me—maybe it’s time to revisit The Hollow Crown since I’ve gone through All Creatures Great and Small, Sanditon, Wolf Hall, and even a revisit of Dr Who’s second season.
What series gets you through winter evenings?
November is a conundrum, being a month that offers a mixture of pleasantries and of trauma.
First off, how can one hour wreak absolute havoc? The bonus of getting extra sleep when setting the clock back one hour quickly becomes a bad trade off since my body clock doesn’t easily adjust.
I’m one of those people who doesn’t need to set an alarm clock. No matter when I go to bed I wake up at 5 am. Sleeping in is an ideal, not a reality. DST now creates the dilemma of the time read on my bedside table blaring “4 am” in red LED numerals. Gah.
It takes until spring, about the time we spring forward, that my body clock reconciles the hour difference.
Another November trial is PTC—Parent Teacher Conferences. Our district provides two nights (after working a full day) where teachers are available to parents. As much as I enjoy meeting parents, it’s a tough schedule, especially since that hour sleep deprivation is amplified by a week. I hope parents don’t think their student’s teacher is a zombie because after a week of disturbed sleep cycle I am definitely feeling zombi-ish.
Fortunately, the long two days trades out nicely as it applies to two days off which coincides with Thanksgiving week. Having a week off after PTC while dealing with DST having graded a stack of SPRPs (Senior Project Research Papers) is definitely appreciated.
And I do enjoy thanksgiving. No holiday shopping hype. No endless rounds of obligatory events to attend. No gifts to stress about. Nope. Food, friends, family. Now, that’s what I call a grand holiday.
One another aspect of November that is irksome is the night factor. Having the sunset earlier and earlier each night means driving home in the dark which initiates the feeling I’m working the swing swift in the coal mines. After working inside all day stepping outside into the light is a necessity. Good thing D3 is inexpensive and I thank whomever for inventing the Happy Light.
November also begins the season which features that four letter word, and its presence stays among us much too long in the area of which I call home. Shiver, shudder, and grumble.
So—November is a bit of a trial, yet knowing there is a pumpkin pie waiting for me at the end of the month makes losing sleep, grading papers, working two twelve hour days, and dealing with that which shall not be named, a bit easier to swallow.
November is Thanksgiving month. I do relish Thanksgiving: food, friends, family and no huge commercial hype. Thanksgiving involves a banquet of good times, good food, good company. In connection with bounty I offer a cornucopia of words this month, a hodgepodge to feast upon. Enjoy!
hyetal: relating to rainfall
forgetive: creative; inventive
paraph: the flourish after one’s signature
flubdub: pretentious; putting on airs
congeries: a collection of parts in one mass
vitiate: to impair the quality of something; spoil
causerie: an informal chat or talk
improbity: a lack of morals or honesty; perseverance
arctophile: a collector of Teddy bears.
squiz: to peer at quickly and closely.
anodyne: anything that relieves pain or distress
kyoodle: to bark or yelp noisily or foolishly; yap
embosk: to hide amongst greenery
exoteric: commonplace; suitable to be communicated to the general public
Isn’t that a succulent succotash of wordage? Got your appetizers, main course and dessert all in one place. What do you propose dining upon?
Appetizer: “squiz” as in glancing over the table for particular favorites
Salad or Soup Course: “exoteric” so as to appeal to even the bland dietary needs of Aunt Polly
Main Course: “congeries” because they are in season and are filling without creating havoc digestion wise leaving room for dessert
Dessert: “paraph” since they are individual and provide a unique aftertaste
After dinner the following can be available:
Anodynes due to the kyoodling of Aunt Polly’s poodles which always vitiate the meal; however, one can endeavor to pococurante the noisome nonsense and savor the causerie.
Spates of good weather have beckoned me out into the backyard where much needed work is required: weeding, thinning, raking, mulching. All those -ing type of tasks that result in another set of -ings such as lower back spasm-ing.
There was one surprise -ing:
I planted some bulbs last year in my patio container and “whoa!” I exulted upon this sudden blooming. No weeding, mulching, raking required. Just appreciating.
Now, that’s my kind of garden-ing.