A blog of art, photography, food and writings.

Monday, June 04, 2007


photo by Sumi M. Lissak

Okay folks. Today's posting is not on food, family, or art. It's on the adventures of city living and how nature intersects the urban environment in clandestine ways.

Last night, while my husband and I were sitting in the family room watching TV, I saw a rat-like object enter our living room through a patio door. Besides its little armadillo shape, the main thing I noticed about the intruder was that darn tail, which dragged along the carpet like a slithering snake. The whole thing gave me the creeps because I had no idea how to get a rat out of the house. And I know they move fast--so we had to act with speed as well, before it dashed into other rooms.

At this point you're probably asking, "Why do they have rats?" "How can these beastly creatures enter their house?"

The answer is simple: My family and I live in East Long Beach (CA) in a section called The Cliff May Ranchos. Built in the mid-50s, these "California-style" homes were designed to meld the indoors with the outdoors. This means lots of windows and patio doors that swing outward, expanding the living area to include garden views and intimate settings. This also means there are no screens in these homes.

Because of this unique architecture, through the years we've had a number of visitors, from lizards to birds to large possums slinking behind furniture. Around our pool is a fence covered with thick ivy. Our hunch is that many animals enjoy hiding and living deep within this rambling vine. At night, the nocturnal types wander out to explore and search for food and water. Oftentimes, they cross the threshold of an open door and come face to face with humans.

Last night, a baby did just that, getting lost while on its hunt for yummy bugs and free fruit.

To find out if this animal was really a rat, we had our dog sniff out the hiding place. Sure enough, Lunah found the little animal in two seconds flat. It was underneath a comfy chair. My husband tilted it back, and lo and behold, there it was: a baby possum, shivering in fright.

My husband threw a blanket over it, put it in a bucket, and then we all proceeded to "ooh" and "aah" for a few minutes while it constantly hissed at us. After my daughter took pictures, my husband--reluctantly--released the little babe back into the ivy. His final words to us: "Do possums make good family pets?"

Never a dull moment in the city...
Never a dull moment in our home...


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