Before He Sells to Jack

  Wonderful short short fairy tale story – reblogged from Seanan McGuire.  



Supposedly, this:

YMMV – Posted on Facebook with this description: “What you see is a myosin protein dragging an endorphin along a filament to the inner part of the brain’s parietal cortex which creates happiness. Happiness. You’re looking at happiness.” (although the poster thought it might be a kinesin motor protein)

[Edit to add comment from friend on FB:
From Heather Murray: “Not myosin, It’s a dynein or a kinesin, dragging *something* along its little microtubule pathway. Not just “an endorphin” though. A pocket of something, or an organelle to its place or something like that.  Could literally be anything…well, not *literally*. It probably isn’t a pizza, but you get me.”]

The following story was written by Ed White in e-mails to relatives about events in our home occurring over 2-3 days in late March 2016. Solvi is 8 1/2 years old, and we live in the northeastern end of the southern US.

3/27/16 – Goodbyes

Slide3After finding out that we apparently were successful rescuing Peanut the baby squirrel, it was time to lay his sibling Maria to rest. We chose a spot in Solvi’s fairy garden and picked a range of spring flowers to accompany her. I added one picture of some the fairy garden, which has survived the winter without looking too shabby.

Slide1The burial was not as somber an event as it might’ve been, due to the good news about Peanut, restored to health and on his way to a wildlife rehab center. Solvi has had a bit of practice at burials this past year: my cat MereKat, her betta fish Amethyst, and the kitten Pumpkin last October. She settled on a perfect choice of beds for Maria: she fit just perfectly inside a large red tulip blossom.
Slide2I have to catch myself constantly to keep from saying we “planted” Maria. It’s all one, though, since we always plant special things above each grave, and when I refer to the plants growing there later, the plants’ names generally become the pet beneath them. MereKat is now an Irish Juniper with catnip. Amethyst is now a Cranesbill Geranium. Pumpkin is now a dwarf Ginkgo with Hyacinths. We haven’t decided what Maria will become just yet, but we’ll figure it out in the next week or so.
Starting with Pumpkin, Solvi’s also been adding stone grave markers, too. She picks one of our flat paving stones from the pile out back, lays it flat beside the grave. Then with a Sharpie, adds the name and a picture. After marking Maria’s stone, she decided Pumpkin’s needed refreshing, too, as you can see.


The following story was written by Ed White in e-mails to relatives about events in our home occurring over 2-3 days in late March 2016. Solvi is 8 1/2 years old, and we live in the northeastern end of the southern US.

3/26/16 – SAVED!
DSCF6034 smallMuch to our surprise, when we went outside Friday morning, we found the larger of the two baby squirrels still alive, the one Solvi had already named Peanut. Cold as death, but still alive somehow.

We took him in and warmed him up, cupping him against our bodies. I Googled a bit, and chose advice that said dehydration is the first foe of orphan squirrel babies, and that trying to force milk or formula on them right away could hurt them. I mixed a recommended ½ tsp salt and ½ tbsp sugar in 2 cups of water, and over an hour or so, was able to get some down him with a dropper.

DSCF6040 smallHe was not very active, most of the time, but did get wiggly and try to climb my hand a few times after he’d warmed and got some fluids. From the internet, I estimate his age at 3 weeks: he had a short coat of fur already (though not on the tail), but his eyes were still not open.

The Ijams website suggested taking orphan wildlife to the UT Vet hospital, so Solvi and I did. I didn’t see any of the medical staff, but did fill out the paperwork and explain the circumstances and our interventions so far. I got the sense that the front desk staff were mostly clerical, not medical, so I didn’t ask too many questions from them before they took him into the back.

The form had a place to indicate if you want to be informed of the outcome for dropping off wildlife, and I checked it. Friday being a holiday, they probably only had a triage person or two on hand, so I expected I might not hear until next week.

But they called me back Sat morning with good news. They said they had found a few puncture wounds from the cat, so they gave him antibiotics and paid meds and some fluids. He’s doing fine now and is on his way to a local wildlife rehabilitation center.

Now we still have the tiny sibling Maria to bury. We picked out a spot in Solvi’s fairy garden that will be perfect. But with this morning’s news, it’s going to be a pretty happy Easter weekend for Solvi and family!


The following story was written by Ed White in e-mails to relatives about events in our home occurring over 2-3 days in late March 2016. Solvi is 8 1/2 years old, and we live in the northeastern end of the southern US.

Tonight one of our cats brought in a new critter, proudly dropping it at my feet and looking up to me for approval.  I petted and praised him, as I usually do.  Humans domesticated and bred cats just for this favor they do for us, eliminating vermin, and I don’t want to confuse them just for being true to themselves.  

 The critter was in a shadowy place I couldn’t see well, and at first I thought it was a mouse.  Looking closer it was plainly not a mouse.  It was obviously a youngster, but so much more robust, even larger than a full-grown mouse, with a sort of ropey tail.  I concluded with dread that it must be a baby rat – dreading that that meant there must be a whole family of them nearby.  We caught a young rat in our house last year, and I had hoped that that was the end of it.  

 I picked it up with a paper towel and tossed it far back out into the darkness of the back yard.

 About 10 minutes later, not only did the same cat (Sootsprite) bring the same critter back into the house, he also rounded up one of its larger siblings and brought it in.  

DSCF6006 smallThis time, however, I got a much better look, and realized they weren’t rats at all.  They were baby squirrels.  I’ve actually never seen a baby squirrel before.  But two things made it obvious: the mostly-still-hairless tails were flat on the bottom side, and the jaws were much butcher than a rat’s.  Once I saw the squirrel in them, of course, everything else about them started looking like a squirrel, too: their fur, the way they held their front paws, etc.

Solvi was captivated, fascinated.  I guess I was, too.  She takes that after me, I think.  Not the kind of kid to shrink from dead things (or at least, in this case, almost dead things).  She kept Ooo’ing and Ahhh’ing and crying out, “They’re so cute!!!”  Though it makes me proud she’s so fearless about such things, it began to worry me just a tad.  I felt obligated to point out that they were currently suffering and dying, too.  That sobered her a little, but didn’t diminish her fascination.

She even named them: Peanut and Marie.  She made sure to try to sex them and everything.  To prevent the cats from bringing them right back in, this time, with Solvi’s help, we took them out in a little box and covered them with a overturned flowerpot, in the shed beside the mummified possum that’s still there.  We might bury them tomorrow, a ceremony Solvi has gotten a lot of practice with in the past year.  She did name them, after all, so I guess they’re family now.

More pics are below, if you’re interested.  I didn’t plan the shot, but the one with Elmo photo-bombing was a quirky surprise.  The cut hyacinth in the vase in that shot is actually from the grave of the kitten Solvi buried last fall, now that I think of it…. 

DSCF6025 small   DSCF6027 small

GREAT summary of a lecture by Neil Gaiman on How Stories Last:


fav monster_m4I laughed out loud several times, and started a conversation on how to make a story last 10.000 years.  Neil Gaiman is simply so thought provoking – wheee!

Full 2+ hour lecture available here:


This about books – yesssss:

Books are related to a love of words – but are not limited to it. A Venn diagram, in fact – the value of words separate from books and of books separate from words. The love of talking-sharing stories with one another. The love of touching, smelling, and feeling bound storage containers of ideas.


From the Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, by William Joyce

There is a restfulness – a relaxation in being surrounded by a timeline of bound paper (libraries, archives, others’ collections). There is a feeling of connection to all the authors…and all the readers of these books through time. A feeling that here, you can find soul mates.

And yet there is a wonder, a joy in being connected to a worldwide collection of stories and information in your pocket. Of being able to read in the dark with one hand and a thumb while rocking and waiting for your child to (finally) get to sleep.

I’ve passed this love on to my daughter, I know.  Because she too has said, “Books are my friends,’ and “You can always use more books!” and “Mom, can you/we/I read this?”  She too loves libraries and bookstores.  And reads electronic texts with exciting scalable images and interactive elements.

But what we love best is the sharing of a text – the turning of a page, the discovery of what’s next.  The wonder of print and paper.

Books. Yes.