Happiness Is a Raccoon That Reaches For Her Dreams

You know what made me happy this week?  A raccoon that reached for the stars.  Because a raccoon’s reach should exceed her grasp, or what’s a heaven for?

You’ve probably already heard about this little over-achiever that climbed a skyscraper in St. Paul over two days while people held their breath that she’d get to the top. That’s her in the picture to the left, taking a nap on the 22nd floor.

Meanwhile, people lined up on the street below to take pictures and somebody set up a live video feed and I was on edge the entire time because I thought the little beast would plunge to her death.  Nope, she made it to the top the next day, found some cat food in a cage and walked right in so they could take her someplace with fewer skyscrapers.  

Those of you who’ve had to deal with raccoons in your trash may have been chanting, “Jump, jump,” but my trash problems are bears, so I was just rooting for her.  And then after she was rescued, I read an interview with a raccoon researcher, and now I am 100% pro-raccoon.  

• There’s not much research on raccoons because they figure out how to break out of their cages, so most researchers gave up and went after something less Wonder-Woman-ish.

• “They don’t plan things out. They don’t say, ‘If I climb this building, I will be stuck.’ They just do the thing and regret it later.’ (Researcher Suzanne MacDonald)

• “MacDonald said she’s not sure they possess intelligence in a critical thinking way so much as an “insatiable curiosity” that leads them often enough to success.”

In other words, if I’m reincarnated as an animal, it’s probably going to be as a raccoon because we already share many traits, including searching through the trash for things we might need (my own trash, not my neighbors).

The article is well worth reading just for the troubles researchers had with the raccoons not following the rules.  Also check out the videos of the little optimist scaling the building; they’re terrifying except you know she makes it. (Link to video scored to the Mission Impossible theme here.)

That’s what made me happy this week; what did it for you?

Oh, and Happy Father’s Day to anybody here who qualifies!




43 thoughts on “Happiness Is a Raccoon That Reaches For Her Dreams

  1. Felt optimistic for no particular reason Saturday, and got a lot done.

    Picked up some caramel M&Ms (????) on a whim, and enjoying them very much.

    Had a particularly nice time with a co-worker; we are usually too busy to chat much, but we were the only ones in the office, and both working on things that could be done while chatting. She is an admirable person and it was lovely to have time with her.

    And of course the racoon made it to the top of the building. I was glad to only have found out about this by the time it was pretty clear she was going to. In general I’m not so happy about it when a local racoon takes down my bird feeders, but otherwise quite fond. Brother-in-law not pleased with them coming in their cat door, but has successfully relocated large numbers of them to a lovely wild area 5 miles away. They are very clever, and I am so with them on the “seeing things by touch” thing. Thanks for the article link.

  2. Had a super-busy week working my summer job (teaching teachers about some labs, etc) but it went really well and was also super-fun. Our “campers” were amazing and appreciative.

    Got to do this camp with Work Husband, so we laughed a lot. That all made me happy.

    Got back and, despite the financial snafu with the hotel, was able to get my dog from the kennel. That also made us both happy.

  3. I’ve been making progress on quilting a quilt that’s been on my frame for possibly months.

    I love the newness & cottage feel from the white cabinets in the kitchen. See Instagram picture (https://instagram.com/p/BjvjnimhqP2/ ).

    I’ve been watching The Librarians season 2. I enjoy the fun in that show, plus all the Leverage people. Did you realize many of the people responsible for Leverage are also responsible for The Librarians? Have you watched it Jenny? I think it may be something you’d enjoy – a group of people learning to work together each with their own strength. Although, the franchise really starts with the 3 movies.

    I’m also super happy my cat will be okay and that the cut on her belly appears not to bother her at all. Us constantly wanting to check it however is annoying her.

    1. I think I saw the first movie/episode? and then started on the first season. I didn’t like it even though it has people I love in it–John Larroquette!–so I stopped. I think its cute quotient was too high for me.

    2. I think the connection with Leverage gives the show too-high expectations, which leads to disappointment. I wanted it to be brilliant, and it was just okay. And I just cannot stand the Noah Wylie smug character. Or the manic pixie. But it’s still better than a lot of other television options, and I do love Larroquette and some of the other characters, so I went back to it when I was desperate for some television, and I found I enjoyed it, ESPECIALLY whenever Noah Wylie’s character went off somewhere to sulk, which he did often.

      1. Yeah, I found the Wylie character unbearable. But Larroquette and Jane Curtain were marvelous and I’ll put up with quite a bit to see Christian Kane again. Then they cast Bruce Campbell as Santa Claus which should have been amazing and was just annoying and I quit.

        Bring back Leverage. And its writers.

    3. I think Librarians was lots of fun, Who doesn’t want to work in a magic library with a magic door that can take you anywhere.

      Loved the 3 new librarians and Eve (Actress who played Mystique, very awesome)

    4. I want to see The Librarians, but as far as I’ve heard it seems to be cable only and not like, out on Netflix or Hulu or anything like that. Has anyone heard differently?

      (I don’t have cable, long story)

      1. I’ve watched it on Hulu, although it’s usually a while behind the first showing. Which shouldn’t matter if you’ve got several seasons to catch up on!

    5. The Librarians really illuminated to me what an American version of Doctor Who would be, even more than Warehouse 13, since the latter was much more tied to the artifacts conceit. I do enjoy that The Librarians lets everyone be the Doctor, though.

      That realization also helped me differentiate it from Leverage, which was necessarily grounded by its non-modern setting and real-life financial atrocities that the villains were committing. Plus, since the show was centered on Nate, that kept things more serious.

      But I’ve also found that I much more enjoy Capaldi’s Doctor vs. the more hammy Smith and Tennant runs (Day of the Doctor felt really really weird on a recent rewatch), so Librarians often gets a bit twee for my tastes. Still, there are just enough gems of quiet character work that I really enjoy Librarians. The arc that Ezekiel Jones has gotten is only paralleled by the development of his actor’s acting skills.

  4. I can’t think of anything. It wasn’t an awful week, I’m not depressed, but it was super busy and DH and DS were traveling and I just did work. Oh and I checked out the total devastation on the lot behind my house where they tore down every single tree to build a McMansion with a pool,
    Ruining the deep in a forest feeling our backyard used to have. They had a permit and they have to plant 10 trees of the same type when they are done but they took down trees that were nearly a yard in diameter. Maybe that’s why I’m not feeling happy.
    Clearly it is now time to garden.
    I guess I will be happy this afternoon when my family returns.

    1. That’s really awful, Debbie. How idiotic to think that planting a few saplings is equivalent to those mature trees and the atmosphere they created. And all for a pathetic McMansion, too. No wonder you’re upset.

      1. Thanks. I’m actually pursuing the issue with our county council—I really think we should have been notified and that the county allowed way too many trees to be cut. It didn’t help that the county came through at the same time and cut some old dying trees on our street, most of which were cherries that were gorgeous every spring and one tall tree that must have had a piliated woodpecker nest since then I saw a teen woodpecker hanging out on it . I hope it makes it. Those trees did need cutting but the timing was awful.

  5. It was Ramadan and Purushotham so there’s been Eid and fast breaking here. Got to spend extra time with friends that I usually don’t see. So much joy.

    Jenny, our raiders are monkeys and the only reason for it is because people have built homes and reduced their habitat. I guess it’s the same with raccoons.

    1. Monkeys! Oh, wow, that would be great. Of course, they’re probably annoying as hell, but how cute . . .
      Kind of like koalas, which as I understand it, can be real bastards but still, so cute.

      1. Real bastards. Quite cute. Surprisingly sneaky. 🐒

        At least now I have a photo idea for IG.

  6. The movie Pocahontas (Disney) was released in 1995. I was 6. There’s a racoon in it, and I loved him from second #1. I have never come across one in real life, but from what I have read about them I think they are awesome. (I can imagine they are annoying little buggers though, if you have to deal with them messing up your garden/trash/life.) I avoid news like the plague nowadays, because literarily 99% of the news we get are stories of murder and destruction and I figure that if something happened that I’d really need to know, I’d hear it from someone close. Buuut this means I missed the racoon story. (Not sure if it reached either Sweden or Netherlands either…) Happy to hear she made it safely to the top!

    What made me happy this week was that my psychologist and I came to the conclusion that we’ll be done soon. I asked her what she thought about it, how long she thought we’d still have to do this therapy, and she asked what I thought and I said I’ve started asking myself why I go there (not in a negative way, but more in the line of: I don’t have much to say) and she said that’s sign enough that I can probably manage on my own soon. This means I’ll probably be all shrink-free sometime this autumn after 5 years of 4 different intensive therapies. That made me happy.
    (This means I’ll give her the cow Chunky soon, too. Hope that’ll make her happy!)

  7. I’m glad to be home and finally getting back to normal. I did not cope well with the jet lag this time. I’m also getting some time to work in the garden which sorely needs it after 3 weeks of Fred the puppy (who is 28” at the shoulder) having almost free rein because our house sitter had to leave the house to go to her other job. I will need to replace some plants.

  8. While I was engaged in my cook-a-thon yesterday my SIL called to talk to my husband so we asked her and BIL over to share the meal and had a wonderful evening, eating out on the balcony and sipping wine. As she said “Happiness is trying to figure out what to make for dinner when you don’t want to cook but you don’t want to go to a restaurant and someone calls and says “Want to eat roast pork, carrot and potatoes followed by cucumber and shrimp salad then peach pie”. She brought some wine and some cheese and crackers. It was unplanned but great. Unplanned meant I did not kill myself before hand cleaning house. Just food and company. It was great.

  9. I went round more open studios this weekend, and had a wonderful time talking to all the artists, most of whom I know well. Felt very supported in my house hunt.

    Also had a good time at my first drawing class. Met a couple of new people; everyone really nice, and we went for coffee afterwards.

    And I’m enjoying my newly clean flat. Oh, and Netflix – I started a trial the other day and so am finally able to relax in the evening with some fun TV: I’ve started with Grace and Frankie, Queer Eye and The Gilmour Girls. Even watched a film last night. And have switched to unlimited data for broadband while actually saving a little, since I decided I don’t need the answerphone service now I’ve got a smartphone (so people can reach me on that if they need to).

  10. Things that made me happy-We had my Mother-in-law’s family reunion yesterday. Dang, I sure married well, because everyone who was there-all 42 of them-are great people and fun to be around. We had a few sad moments due to the loss of beloved family members in the last year, but at least they were beloved. We also celebrated the 3 upcoming babies!! And enjoyed the 6 short people running around.

    About coons-SOME outdoor critter has decided that RIGHT BY our back door is a lovely place to poo. We think it’s a coon. So I’m not really happy about that! Country livin’ at it’s not-so-finest. 🙄

    1. Oh, yeah. Where I lived before this house, the raccoons pooped on the window sills, and ripped the cover off the dryer vent and peed into it because it was too small to get through and they could smell the dog food in the laundry room. Not a fan.

      At this house I have a family of woodchucks living in an enormous hole (one they have greatly enlarged) under some bushes. Strangely, they don’t bother my vegetables, so I don’t bother them.

  11. Best thing all week is dinner in a nature preserve with like-minded folk who belong to a group founded in 1961. In 1908 philanthropist George Marston imported John Nolan, our nation’s first land use planner, and he, Nolan, left behind a report, admired if not so much obeyed. In 1974, Hamilton Marston, George’s grandson, commissioned a new report, admired etc. I saw Hamilton present it to City Council (yes, claim to fame). This year a reprint of the 1974 report came out, and at dinner, Charles, Hamilton’s grandson, spoke eloquently about his family and our city’s history and why both are important. Evening felt memorable and meaningful. Too much history here? It’s the stuff that fuels me.

    Dinner next door celebrating high school graduation. Coronado kids are so polite when in adult company. And we neighborhood adults chattered away, catching up. At some point, gossip turns into history, you know.

    Annual high school ceramics sale, pottery both by kids and adults. First time we attended, and we came home with a slew of great pots, for every one of which we have plans.

  12. In terms of reaching for my dreams in the last week — finally got a deal with a major publisher for a cozy mystery, found a home for one of the kittens with someone who will give him the life I dreamed of for him, and I’ve been listening to a podcast by the husband of Ursula Vernon (aka T. Kingfisher) and Ursula herself on productivity so I can be more productive in pursuit of my dreams (and while I’m learning about various productivity options, I have to confess I mostly listen because I love Ursula Vernon’s rants about things like a Martha Stewart product for organizing gardeners that was clearly written by someone who only had the very vaguest idea of what a garden was and had clearly never set foot in one, let alone dug in the dirt — if anyone else needs productivity advice or to hear some really great rants, the podcast is Productivity Alchemy, and a recent one features the amazing Seanan McGuire, who is both productive and ranty).

  13. It was a tough week for me, too – two psych appointments for my littlest, lots of financial and insurance angst. But the psych agrees that she is actually autistic, which is important because it opens doors to services now and in the future, and is also highly satisfying. Also satisfying: her older sister came with me to a rally about the border separations, and told me she would always be an activist. Then, after the third or fourth speaker, she whispered that she needed to go, that the crowd and the stories were too intense (they were. I was in tears myself.) so we had another conversation about the courage it takes to say “I can’t handle this” too. I’m very proud of her. And pleased that I made the effort to stand up for my beliefs.
    But my true happiness has come from watching the World Cup – Iceland fighting Argentina to a draw, Mexico beating Germany, Switzerland tying Brazil. I seem to be rooting for the underdogs this go round.

  14. Oh, and I love the neophobia idea from the article. Raccoon is my Girl Scout camp name, although at our house we generally call them hooligans. But overwhelming curiosity that gets you in trouble for not thinking things through? I just found our ADHD spirit animal!

  15. (-: My word for the year is “curiosity”. But I don’t know what to think about the raccoon. Now, if it sat at a typewriter and pounded out the 10,000th-monkey haiku, I’d be impressed. Physical curiosity, though, is a sort of curiosity that has passed me by. I have no interest in climbing anything and testing the limits of my muscle and bone. Why would you climb a high-rise, raccoon? Why? Because it was there?

    1. That’s the only movie this year I have to see, but the way things are going, it’ll be the digital release I see.
      Although Krissie is coming in early July and that’s when Ant Man and Wasp drops. I loved Ant Man. Such a goofy family movie. Depending on how old and snarky the family is, of course.

        1. My gal pal and I saw the preview for Crazy Rich Asians when we went to see Ocean’s 8. I have an abiding love for Michelle Yeoh, and the guy playing the hero is approximately 110% of my catnip, and we are all about frolic and fashion and glam right now, so we are certainly going to go see it. 🙂

  16. My niece graduated from high school and my sister threw a party. That was fun and I’m so excited for my niece.

  17. There’s new Sense8 stuff out.

    I started watching Scandal about a month ago and burned through 5 of its six seasons in weeks. Really fun pulp.
    Wynonna Earp S2 dropped on Netflix this week and I binged that this weekend. It’s a good show, centering on a brilliantly damaged woman and her damaged teammates trying to make their way through together…while fighting demons in the countryside. It’s not unlike if a show was centered on Faith Lehane stuck in the wild west, so highly recommend.
    Stuck at the halfway point on the latest Legends season because it aired in the middle of a split Supergirl season, so I don’t have access to the full crossover event. Grrr. What did you think of the Ava-Sara storyline?

  18. Happiness was going dancing with the husband (again), working on choreography (finally), and getting that damned door out of my garden area that’s been squatting there since demo ONE YEAR AGO.

  19. Happiness for me is singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” in my voice class yesterday and being able to hit that killer high note. (I missed some of the other notes, but it was the first time I ever tried to sing it, so…)

    Since I have thought for years that I am not a singer, that was kind of an amazing thing for me. (I started taking lessons because I’ve wanted for years to be able to sing without horrifying myself and the people around me. I figured if the teacher told me, “Yeah, you really can’t carry a tune,” I’d be able to put that wish aside.)

  20. Happiness is the fact that moving/buying/selling a home is only temporary (and I am lucky enough to even be a buyer) but this weeks happiness is, Signing the contingency release on the house we are selling and living in currently and the house inspections for the future house we are buying and soon to be living in going smoothly and simply. And if we can just keep evverything going I will be relocated and watching my true happiness unfold in front of me, with my cats having twice as many windows to sun themselves in, deer and other animals for the dogs to chase and horses knickering at me from the pasture. And not losing my SO to the stress of it all…

    1. Good luck! We’re currently in the “fingers-crossed” stage of buying and selling too

  21. Our daughter is buying a house! She’s talking about keeping chickens in the backyard, though I advised her to get buy-in from the chihuahua.

    Otherwise, I am proud of myself for taking a step-by-step approach to the frightening amount of work due before vacation.

    And really looking forward to vacation.

  22. We went to go and see the Terracotta Army on Friday, and had a wonderful time! The World Museum in Liverpool is hosting 8 of the actual warriors plus a whole bundle of artifacts (including a couple of chariots, so not necessarily *small* artifacts), and given that they are in Liverpool rather than China… Let’s just say Liverpool is a lot easier for us to get to. Talk about a ‘once in a lifetime experience’. It was absolutely fabulous, really, really well done.

    I’m not entirely sure whether the UK news broadcast about the raccoon – I’m limiting my news exposure to try and avoid head-explosion – but I’m glad I only heard about it after the raccoon made it safely to the top. I like reading suspense, but don’t deal well with it in real life!!

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