Tag Archive: humor

English: Red squirrel on bird-feeder On the la...

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Squirrels are not on my top ten list of favorite animals. In fact I find myself fairly neutral about them…now. At one time years ago when I maintained an absurd number of  bird feeders in the backyard I found myself engaged in a battle of wits with an exploding population of squirrels. (Time out here for a Monty Python-like image of squirrels running around the backyard literally exploding one by one…)  Hmmm. Guess I’m not quite as neutral as I thought.

The depressing thing is I usually  lost the battle of wits with these little furballs. I kept adding baffles and extenders and all sorts of costly devices to keep them  off the feeders. They kept blithely ignoring my efforts and finding new ways around what was rapidly turning into a scene out of Rube Goldberg‘s world. I almost came to admire their persistence. I realize of course they were driven by the pressures of basic survival. Though maybe it was more than that since eventually I had the fattest squirrels on the block.

The day I found myself greasing the feeder poles with vaseline was the day I realized I had lost the war…and clearly, my mind. I ceded the battlefield.

In the interests of full disclosure, during the height of the squirrel wars, I found an injured baby squirrel who had fallen from its nest onto the street. Worried that the neighborhood cats would get it if I just let nature take its course I took it to a wildlife rehab center where it was treated  and eventually released into the wild. No doubt eventually finding its way back to my yard for its rightful share of the birdseed bounty.


Laughing Helps

Comedian Louis C.K. performs for servicemember...

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Yesterday, an afternoon storm, unpredicted and unexpected, moved in quickly with scary lightning strikes, dense rainfall, hail and high wind. In this house, when the wind gets strong, it makes an eerie moaning sound as it slams against the walls and windows. It is disquieting. I remember reading about the Dust Bowl years ago and being impressed by stories of how the endless sound of the wind drove some people out of their minds. I think I understand how that could happen after weeks on end of a constant assault on the senses.

However  I can also appreciate how the constant presence of a TV or IPod can be a comfort when too much alone time is getting you down, or a welcome distraction to ruminative thoughts clamoring for attention. Why is it by the way, that ruminative thoughts are always negative? At least mine are. How amazing it would be if those thoughts circling around my brain on an endless loop were actually supportive instead of derisive.

Going through a rough time recently, I started listening to audiobooks while falling asleep. (God knows what that did to my REM cycle.) I found it soothing. In particular I found Jon Kabat Zinn and his work on Mindfulness to be wonderfully comforting. I then started listening to Greg Behrendt‘s “It’s Called a Breakup Because It’s Broken.” Though targeted to a younger demographic and a little too cutesy at times, there was some solid sense in there that was truly helpful.

I moved on to Greg’s comedy albums, then Lewis Black‘s (a longtime favorite of mine) and then discovered Louis CK. What a find. I think he is brilliant, absolutely hysterical and eminently relatable. He makes me laugh and laugh hard at the vulnerabilities, insecurities and needs we all share. He also pushes the boundaries of my comfort zone. Make that, he bulldozes the boundaries of my comfort zone…which is good for me. Good to look at what makes me uncomfortable and why and to open up my thinking a bit. Complacency can be stifling to the soul. At the same time his stories about his children are really touching (and funny of course). His deep love and commitment to them just blazes through his material.

Listening to Louis CK’s albums and watching his funny, poignant and truly original TV show ‘Louie,’ led me somehow to Marc Maron. Another comedic find that I treasure. His WTF podcasts have become must-listen items for me. Raw, scorchingly so at times, the uber-vulnerable Maron seems to have little or no personal boundaries. Perhaps it is this quality that makes his interviews with top comedians so amazing. Maron connects with them on a deep level and gets them to open up and share to a remarkable degree.

It is interesting to me that these two have become such favorites though their  perspectives are seemingly so different from mine. (Yet there are also a lot of commonalities.) Perhaps I discovered their work just when I needed to, when my heart needed lifting and I wanted to let go of sadness and laugh.