Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Great Snowy Mississippi Squirrel

I first spotted this fellow looking out my bathroom window, but, being busy and not having a camera handy, I could not get a shot. About a week later he (HE being the default gender for squirrels in my mind.) came right up onto our patio and we were able to snap quite a few shots. He even posed nicely at times.

The title of my post is, of course, tongue in cheek. There is no such thing as a snowy squirrel, and if there were, (or if I am wrong and there IS) I can guarantee you it is not indigenous to Mississippi.

The sighting of our oddity led to an afternoon's discussion of genetics and dominant and recessive genes. Seriously, what homeschool family would NOT segue spotting an albino ANYTHING in the wild to a biology lesson?

Would it not be cool if more and more white squirrels were born in this neighborhood? His presence obviously shows that some of the squirrels are carriers of the gene. If he mates up properly it could happen. Somehow I doubt squirrels are too picky about inbreeding. This is Mississippi, after all. (JOKING!)

In the neighborhood (if not a wider area of the town) where my mother-in-law's family home is the squirrels are black. I assumed at first that this was a regional difference. After all, I had heard of red squirrels but only ever seen grey. Turns out, I learned later, that it is a different species, but not one native to eastern Kentucky. The story I was told was that there was a local man who imported pet squirrels from Europe that eventually escaped.

It is easy to take something like what color a squirrel should be for granted. Seeing the black squirrels years ago in Kentucky, and now this white one...the change stands out immediately when you see it.

I suppose it says something about how safe our neighborhood is for wildlife. There is a reason albinism is so rare, and recessive genetics is only part of it.

Without zoom (wildlife photography must have been a nightmare before zoom.)

On the patio

Giving me a look

Speaking of "Inspired to Write..."

I am thinking of picking up my author's pen (or keyboard) again. The stories are starting to bubble behind my eyes and my bout of panic/depression about DH being out of work is lifting. I need to do something creative. And since my sewing room is currently a disaster area (The damage reports from Hurricane Christmas are still being gathered,) writing is the easiest.

I find it embarrassing to tell people I like to write fiction. The inevitably leads to questions about content. Now that I have left college and started raising a family, there aren't many people around (that I speak with) who appreciate Science Fiction and High Fantasy. I feel like it would be less painful to just tattoo the word "NERD" across my forehead than to talk writing with people around here.

Did you ever feel like you were living on an island of "Things that Interest Me" surrounded by a sea of "Other People's Interests" ?

So, as I said, I don't like to tell people I write. Easy enough since it has been decades since I had anything published.

There are some things I think I need to just get over, like a quick tendency to embarrassment and worry about what people think, to the detriment of what I like or think is cool.

Non-sequiter - DH cannot find his Magic decks. Poor guy has looked all over the house and in the storage. My amazing brother made a Christmas gift to DH out of one of his own favorite decks.

My amazing Christmas gift from my amazing brother was something so amazing that very few people (especially in this town) can truly appreciate it. I collect dice. And 6 sided dice are too mainstream. (I guess I am a dice hipster.) D10s and d20s are my particular favorites. (That is 10 and 20 sided dice respectively, for those of you who don't know the lingo.)
My amazing brother spent hours in the university wood shop (after he had finished the assigned work/projects) using scrap wood to make me the most amazing d20 I have ever seen.

It is the size of a bowling ball! Granted, the numbers are hand written and some of the edges are rough, but ... the thought that went into matching the gift to personality and spending time to work on the I am very touched.
He said he might work on making better calculations of the inside angels where the pieces fit together (under the surface) so there would not be such rough edges, also perhaps getting rubber letter stickers or stencils.

Perfect or not, I love it. I have knitted a d20 before, but due the the flexibility of the sides, it doesn't hold the shape as well as wood. Does have less potential to do damage when rolled, though. I guess that is a plus.

Settling of the Dust

The week before Christmas, (or thereabouts. You'd think I would know by now to update this blog PROMPTLY and thereby minimize the effects time can have on my memory of the details.) DH was offered a job at a software firm here in our town. We will not have to move. He is making more money than he did at the previous company, with better benefits. So far it seems an altogether satisfactory resolution.

My main concern is stretching the money we have left from his severance and making it last until he gets his first paycheck. Once the money starts coming in again we will be fine. The next couple of weeks are not going to be fun, but they are "not fun" with an end in sight. I can handle that. It'll boil down to prioritizing the bills and pinching the grocery budget.

I feel inspired to write, however, I do not feel inspired to combine blog posts on diverse subjects. Back in a bit...

With pride I present my grandmother at her 90th birthday party this past October.