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Unusual times, remarkable places

The "Standard of Ur" from ancient Mesopotamia

The "Standard of Ur" from ancient Mesopotamia

10 October 2012

Squirrel tunnels to nowhere

Have you ever read an article about how archaeologists can find traces of human activity from long ago by flying over and taking photos of the area? If archaeologists flew over my yard, they would discover that under the soil is an extensive network of squirrel tunnels.

The one saving grace is that the squirrels limit their  tunnel openings mainly to the bare hills in our yard and have only a few bolt holes in our lawn (with the exception of the week this summer when the 15 or more baby squirrels practiced digging tunnel entrances...but I try not to think about that).

However, this summer I started a vegetable garden, and I put it on one of the flatter hills. The digging apparently collapsed and interrupted some tunnels, because the squirrels kept digging new tunnels in certain places. I would fill them with rocks and soil; they would open a new tunnel next to a filled one or even pull out the rocks.

I laughed and laughed the day I discovered this Y-tunnel.

The tunnel emerges from the ground and branches into two open-air "tunnels." One goes under the side support of the garden bed and irrigation hoses into the garden path, where it peters out. The other runs along the side support for a little over a foot before it, too, peters out. The close-up below shows the tunnels better.

I left these tunnels in place for a while, but recently I started planting my fall crops, so these tunnels had to make way for more dirt and plants. But I took several pictures for whenever I want a laugh.

03 October 2012

A day in the life of

Several months ago, I heard about the 3six5 project and signed up.

The 3six5 project documents each day of 2012, with each day described in a 365-word blog post by a different person. I signed up for a day because I wanted to document what it was like to deal with several chronic illnesses while trying to squeeze in a regular life as well.

My post went up yesterday. It doesn't cover what I wanted to cover; 365 words was too short. My title, "Life in the Interstices," even got cut off because I didn't know its four words were to be included in the word count.

365 words turned out to be too short even to fully describe my prescription-related routine. Instead, I gave an impressionistic view of what it's like to be on 17 prescription medicines.

Medicine after medicine after medicine....
Ironically, even though my blog post at the 3six5 project showed my day to consist primarily of taking medicines, getting labs to check on the effects of taking medicines, and going to the drugstore to pick up medicines, I couldn't even squeeze in everything prescription-related I did.

Here's what also happened on 2 October 2012 that I left out:
  • I filled out an information form for the drugstore.
  • There was a snafu: I had requested three prescriptions online, but only two were waiting at the drugstore.
  • While the pharm tech was trying to figure out what had gone wrong, she requested a refill for a prescription I only take "as needed" and which I didn't need yet. So now I need to make another trip to the drugstore to pick that prescription up.
  • After I got home, I had to research my prescription histories at different drugstores to see what was up with that third prescription. I decided it was probably one that I had prescriptions on file for at more than one drugstore and so the insurance company didn't approve the refill.
  • I decided that from now on, I'll  print out online acknowledgements of prescription refills so that it will be easier to figure out what went wrong when I don't get the right number (which happens every couple months or so).
Anyway, my post is neither whiny (I hope) nor graphic. If you're interested in a snapshot of a typical day in my life, you can read about it here:

There are still some openings in 2012 for 3six5 project posts. If you're interested, you can learn how to apply for a spot at

Next week, I'm back to blogging about something lighter: squirrel tunnels. See you then!