geography, problems and cute backpacks…

geography changes nothing

I’m not the easiest squirrel to get along with.  Try as I may to be so many things to so many out there I can’t do it.

You know why?

Because I have problems.  It’s mostly due to my personality.  Not much I can do about that.  Think that changing the area that I’m in would do something?  A different bit of geography?  Why would you think that?  I would just be packing up the problems I have along with my toothbrush and towels.

What I really need to do is solve the problem and THEN move.  That way I’ll save a little on shipping… less problems, less weight.

Maybe I only need to take one towel…you can only use one at a time anyway, right?

Rest…the good, the bad & the ugly…

rest, and the rest

So, what’s the big deal with rest?  Do you really need as much as all the life coaches and medical type people say you do?

They say, no… you probably need more than you’re getting.

Well, what does that mean exactly?  How do you know when you’ve had as much as you need?  You already have a good idea what my feelings are on the whole want and need thing.

We can go back and forth about this for days and days and days… but eventually, you guessed it, we’re gonna need some rest.  Being a squirrel, I tend to be revving my engine non-stop.  But when I stop, I crash.  I don’t think rest would even be possible for me when the engine is lit up.  My pistons would seize, the battery would fizzle and I would end up worse off than I was if i had just kept going.  It’s not the run that kills you, it’s that nasty sudden stop.

I think rest is good.  When you need it, take it.  If you don’t need it, or your body says it doesn’t need it, leave rest alone.  Just like if you’re not hungry, don’t eat the cookies… does you no good.  Listen to your body.  If you don’t fully understand what your body is telling you, might be a good idea to get a qualified translator.  I’m just saying.

Now, I need to rest.


All-You-Can-Experience Buffet…

existence buffet

Existence is a buffet.  We all assume we have control over every aspect of our existence.  Fate deals a hand and we play our cards the best we know how.  Sometimes we win, sometimes your nuts end up roasted… and I don’t mean in a good way.  So get a plate.

The worst question you could ever ask a kid is, “what do you want to be when you grow up?”  That assumes a number of things…but for my purposes I’ll just keep it simple.  Let’s say the kid is they type that doesn’t like to disappoint anyone.  Invariably, he/she will answer with what they think the person asking wants to hear.  It may not be what they WANT to do, but then again, how would they know?  How does a kid know what they want to be?

It’s like going to an awesome buffet and just eating what you see in the first two pans.  It doesn’t matter what is offered down the line… stick to the little that you know and at least you won’t leave disappointed…you’ll leave unchanged, but not disappointed.

The current culture teaches us that we can’t make mistakes.  Mistakes are bad.  I won’t dispute that.  But, mistakes teach as well.  Mistakes are a huge part of our existence.  Go back to the buffet, get a little bit of everything.  Try everything you can…then go back for what you really like.  It may be something better than you expected… it may change your outlook and existence.

I’ve been to one buffet in my time.  I regret to say I only ate the rice.  It wasn’t even some fancy rice… just plain ordinary rice.  I would have tried something more, but I got kicked out before I could get something else.  Apparently the restaurant got complaints about a rodent around the food.  I had no idea what they were talking about, I didn’t see any rodent.

anger, control and being fluffy…

anger squirrel

Anger.  We’ve all been there…sometimes multiple times within a few minutes.

What is anger?  Someone cutting you off… an unfortunate situation that didn’t necessarily have to be unfortunate… not thinking… thinking too much… thinking too much about the wrong thing.  Anger is the result of all of that.  But no one ever really goes too deep into the real cause… why?  Because when someone is angry, they don’t look for explanations… they just want to be angry.

I’m going to say that again because I like the way it sounds when I read it to myself… they just want to be angry.

And why not?  It gets your blood pumping, raises your pulse and heartbeat and, in some cases, makes thinking clearer and focused.  Most of those things, in other situations, would be a good thing, right?

I think anger is the result of one thing: loss of control.  I’m angry a lot.  For the longest time, I couldn’t figure out why… then it hit me.


I was hit with half an orange.  Luckily it wasn’t that juicy so it didn’t hurt that much.  Getting hit with produce made me angry.  I was angry that I didn’t see it coming.  I was angry that someone would be a dirtbag and litter.  I was angry that it was deliberate and not a random act of idiocy.  Because I had no control over any of that, I was angry.  If I had control over at least some of those components, the result may have been different.

Maybe.  If it wasn’t me hit, it would’ve probably been someone else.

Anger is loss of control.  End of story.

what achieving balance really means…

achieving balance

I spend a lot of time in the branches of trees.  I don’t necessarily like hanging out in trees, it’s mostly a biological thing.  I also spend a lot of time balancing on power lines.  Without attention to my balance, I can easily turn hanging out into squirrel pie.

From way up here, you get the entire picture.  I see things that no one else can see.  I can see a lot of things you don’t think anyone sees you doing.  I see decisions made, both good and not so good… I see progress and retreat, beginnings and conclusions.  Through it all, I have to maintain my balance.

I see the big picture, but the details… those pesky little things… not so clear… more on that in another post.

There are a million self-help thingies out there that say balance is the key.  Without balance, all is chaos.  I say the easiest way to find your balance is to put something important at stake.  If there is a chance you could lose that something you’d be amazed how fast that elusive balance will show itself.

Balance is a good foundation… in my case, it’s my tail.  For the longest time I hated my tail.  It followed me wherever I went.  The only time it was really useful was when I couldn’t find a napkin.  I never realized how important that thing was to my balance… until one day when I almost became squirrel pie.  I learned pretty quick…and I’m still learning.

Find balance… or become squirrel pie.  It’s that simple.

In praise of the sideways struggle…

the sideways struggle

Look outside.  Is it what you though it could or would be?  Did you have some input into what you’re currently looking at?  Have you had to struggle just to get to what you’re looking at?

We all have those struggles…some to a higher or lower degree than others, but they’re there.  I have it pretty easy now, but it wasn’t always this way.  A squirrel’s life outside a cartoonist’s world is the number one definition of struggle.  Before I adopted Frank, I was eating where, when and what I could, sleeping where and when I could, dodging all kinds of things that wanted to eat me and just trying to survive.

Some days were better than others… but I didn’t exactly have too much to compare “better” to.  Struggle would have been a good day for me.

I don’t regret having to go through what I went through.  It’s taken the mist of time to help me realize how important that struggle was for me.  I may not admit it outwardly all the time, but I am grateful for what I have…and for what I steal from Frank.  I have an appreciation that wouldn’t have been there had my early days been fresh linen blowing in the breeze.

Maybe, in a way, I am suggesting that everyone needs to suffer a bit.  Not a lot, just to the point of being uncomfortable.  How do you know you have it good, if you’ve never had it bad?

Perspective, following and re-tiling the floor…

bob's perspective

Perspective is everything.

I was watching Frank install tile on the floor.  He pulled all the the molding off the walls, removed all the old carpet and carpet padding…revealing the original bare floor hibernating for nearly 60 years.
He properly cleaned the floor, applied a primer for the adhesive…allowing everything to rest and dry… just like the instructions said.

Before you begin to lay tile, you have to draw a line on the floor.  THis line is your reference line.  It is there to make sure your tile stays straight.  It’s your map…the destination being the other side of the room.

“I’ll just use the line that’s already there.” There was tile on the floor at one tim, but Frank removed it.

So, he’s going to use someone else’s line to tile.  It started off fine, but by the time he got to the end of the hallway, his tiles were off… just by a fraction of an inch.  Not so much to rip it out, but just enough to know he was off.

There are a few things to learn from this… laying tile is hard work.  You should always be wary of following a path established by someone else.  What if it leads you astray?  What if the person you were following was following someone else?  What if THEY were off?  Now you’re off twice as much.

Constantly check your alignment.  Even if it seems you’re on a straight path, check it anyway.  A millimeter in the beginning can turn into a mile at the end.

Everytime he looks at those tiles, he’ll remember this.  Then, it gets covered up with carpet.

Lies, truth and the end of believing…

lies truth and what you see...

Without a score, how do you know who wins?  What is the truth?

I know, pretty heavy, right?

There really isn’t such a thing as a universal truth anymore.  If I was standing next to you and we saw a yellow balloon floating past us in the sky, I can almost guarantee that our recounting of the event would be different.  I personally don’t like the color yellow… so that dislike would probably color (sorry) the story that I tell.  You, on the other claw, may have an unnatural obsession with lemons… and this issue with citrus would probably make you tell a different story.  So… what’s the truth?

They both are.  We see what we see and then our little brains (mine brain is smaller…but it’s not about the size, it’s how you use it) process that visual through the memory banks of our past experiences.  Those experiences, good or bad, add spice to the visual.  You and I may have sent a potato into the kitchen, but yours came out french fried and salted… mine came out mashed covered in bacon and cheddar cheese.  Both are potato… just different flavors.

Truth absolute… is a figment.  Deal with it.

Life is like a squirrel…

life is like a squirrel...bob the squirrel

There’s not a whole lot of explaining needed with this one.  Everyone wonders what life is… and what life is like.

I mean, how can you compare something to itself?  It kind of negates the whole meaning of compare, doesn’t it?  Comparing assumes that there will/should be a difference between the two, three, twenty-seven things being compared.  When it all comes down to it, we’re all pretty much the same.  Some of us have tails, some of us have things that we have to deal with.  So deal with it, right?

Art in the Italian market deli…

bob is is bob

does the wall a piece is on determine if it is art?  for that matter, does the building the wall is in add weight to the determination?

so, something funny happened this weekend.  in reality, something happens nearly every minute around here…not necessarily funny ha ha all the time, sometimes funny in a i-just-took-a-gulp-of-rancid-orange-juice-and-didn’t-know-it sort of way.

frank drew a picture of someone.  i know, you’re totally shocked, right?  stay with me.  after he drew the picture, he gave the picture to the person he drew IN the picture.  in this case, it was a neat cartoonish caricature of a local merchant we frequently do business with.  once the merchant saw the unexpected gift, his face lit up…the staff around him lit up…everyone who hadn’t been smiling smiled— because of a piece of art.

yeah, i said it.  a piece of art.

the merchant said he would get the piece framed and hang it right behind his deli counter— on a wall near his meat slicer.

after all the thanks were exchanged and we left, frank said something that made me like him a little bit more than i did before.  he said, “my work hanging on that man’s wall means more to me than if it were hanging in any museum or gallery.  more people would probably see that in one day than a month in a museum.”

now, call it arrogance…call it sarcasm… call it whatever… he meant that.  i think because he knew that people would appreciate his work, would be entertained by his work and would feel better because they saw his work…while patiently waiting for their pound of hard salami.  everyone could understand it.  that’s not to say that the same piece wouldn’t get the same response if it were in a gallery, but it probably wouldn’t.

i suppose a cut out cartoon on a refrigerator or bulletin board satisfies frank much more than being in a gallery.  i can respect that.  it’s not that one means more than the other, it’s all about comfort…ease of inclusion.

great, now i have a craving for salami.