Beware of critters at nightfall

MONTCLARION: November 19, 2014

Darkness comes early on late fall days. And it’s not just humans who have trouble adjusting. Animals seem confused by the lack of daylight — as witnessed by the number of nocturnal critters coming out during the afternoon commute.

Not only is this a challenge for motorists, it’s a problem for absent-minded homeowners like me who forget to close the garage door. Under cover of darkness, a striped intruder entered my garage around 5 p.m. last week. It waddled straight to my cat’s food dish and — with tail held high — ate every last bit of Meow Mix.
My cat was furious, and I was miffed, too, because I knew that the skunk had the upper hand. One threatening move and Pepe Le Pew would spew nasty perfume all over our cars.

Later that night, long after the skunk had slipped back into the woods, there were howls. Peels of laughter, perhaps, but howls nonetheless. One neighbor said it was coming from coyotes — a cacophony of yips and yowls that echoed across Shepherd Canyon for about five minutes. Yes, we share the hills with some curious creatures. It’s almost always a good thing — as long as we remember to close our garage doors.

Show time: Fans of the FX TV drama “Sons of Anarchy” are seeing some familiar sites in the edgy episodes about an Oakland motorcycle gangster. Reader Sandra Turnbull has spotted several Montclair locations in this final season of the FX series. “They even had a map using Thornhill, Mountain Blvd., and Highway 24 — for a somewhat gruesome story line,” she says.

Feeling fine: Hills author Laura Basha has a new self-help book called “The Inward Outlook.” To create joy in your life, she says practice being present in whatever circumstance you are in. “Think on ‘joy,’ and let it unfold.” Basha will be reading Dec. 5 at Oakland’s Studios Eleven Gallery, 560 Second St.

Holiday cheer: Oakland’s Christmas Revels are in final rehearsals for their popular holiday shows. This year the cast and a chorus of more than 60 people perform a musical exploration of the Depression — from Appalachia to the Louisiana bayou to the Pacific Coast. It’s a mosaic of Cajun music, Appalachian clogging, folk tales, holiday rituals and laughter. Performances run the weekends of Dec. 12-14 and Dec. 19-21 at the Scottish Rite Temple. Find out more at

Mail muses: My favorite postal place has been saved from the chopping block and will have counter service six hours a day. The Canyon Post Office does seem to be scaling back, though. Last week, I asked for Christmas stamps and was offered a choice of Janis Joplin or Jimi Hendrix. After a little more digging, the clerk did find a book of stamps with the three wise men.

Got news? You can reach Ginny Prior by email at or on the web at


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