Monthly Archives: February 2012

“I’ll get you, my pretty…”

A Christmas ornament fell and shattered, and what remained were these legs.

Instead of gluing them back on, I had another idea.

They now protrude from ‘neath our microwave and  never fail to elicit a smile, or memories of Oz. The movie, not the doctor.

Hail to Dorothy! The Wicked Witch is dead!” said the Captain of the Winkie Guard…*

Copyright, Paul Grignon, 2012, All Rights Reserved.

*Copyright, L. Frank Baum

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Boo, Miles and Fenway…

…and their alter egos.

As I mentioned in a previous post, our kitties (like most cats) possess unique personalities and, at times, are quite predictable. I am  certain that cat owners out there will readily agree with my assessment of these engaging animals, that felines in general never fail to deliver a smile or two upon your face. (depending, of course, upon how many mouths you have.)

Take for example our three very different kitties. Just to the left of here is Miles who, at times, thinks he is the great and powerful ‘Yertle the Turtle’. He loves climbing on things, and always wants to be as high as possible.

Right below him, that big black thing sprawled on the rug is Boo, our resident behemoth. (Miles probably looks down at Boo, thinking him the poor turtle Mack.) Here, Boo does his best impersonation of a sea otter, and the only thing missing is the gnawed carcass of a salmon splayed on his ample belly. Although an exceedingly docile kitty he is–despite his monstrous girth–quite agile, and will instantly snag an unsuspecting mouse with his giant mitts.

Thirdly, we have our Eeyore-cat-in-residence, Fenway, more affectionately known as Churchill. Just look at the comparison, with Sir Winston facing the English country side. The resemblance is rather startling, and the only thing missing from Fenway’s countenance is the Derby hat!

At times, we think that Fenway needs Kitty Prozac, but all in all he does ok. But compared to the friskiness of our other two felines, he chooses to keep a forlorn visage.

All three of our adorable kitties are well loved, and we never tire of their varied antics. And as I sit here composing this morning’s drivel, Boo is curled up on our rocking chair (he barely fits), Churchill…I mean, Eeyore…no, I mean Fenway, is in the sunroom, staring at starlings, while Miles bathes in a sunbeam on my son’s bed.

What’s not to like about these magnificent creatures, I dare ask?

Copyright, Paul Grignon, 2012, All Rights Reserved.

Baubles at Building 19…

After trekking to sundry Savers stores, Julie and I proved to be gluttons for punishment as we then ventured into a Building 19 in Natick. Sorry. Make that Building 19 1/5. For some peculiar reason this particular store is labeled as such.

Our goal for the day, besides shopping at Savers and Trader Joe’s, was to peruse the remnants of a ski sale that Building 19 (1/5) has had since Thanksgiving. Given that so much time had passed since Turkey Day, we were quite certain that only slim pickings were to be had and the purchase of optimal equipment remained nothing but a pipe dream. Alas, our hunches proved correct as only sparse, decrepit skis greeted our eyes, all heaped into a crumbling bin, with surfaces scarred and chipped, and ski poles just as marred.

Disappointed in our search for cross-country skis, we nevertheless set out to see what other glorious finds were to be had in this fabulous emporium. (Just in case you were slightly unsure, the preceding sentence was slathered in sarcasm.) Julie went off to look at racks of questionable apparel and I ambled about, peering at whatever crossed my fancy.

For those unfamiliar with a Building 19, it is a warehouse-sized, steeply discounted store, filled with an abundance of gewgaws and gizmos, a vast chaotic array of merchandise, from rugs, to books (mostly from authors you’ve never heard of), to pots and pans, greeting cards, mattresses, stemware and–my personal favorite–the food stuffs.

Yes, this last one is a wonder to behold. Mostly unheard of brands litter the dusty shelves, and one has to marvel at the contents of these products. ‘Mrs.Leeper’s Beef Stroganoff’, found no less than in a box! Buddha forbid your poor tastebuds after sampling such fare! ‘Could…could there actually be meat inside?’, you might inquire.

Or smudged jars filled with cloudy, gelatinous fish, and ancient-looking olives encased in dense, brackish liquid. Or perhaps you’d like to dine on dented and stained Table Talk pies, you know, those ubiquitous mini pies that contain 80 grams of fat and 700 calories. How about crumpled boxes of Cheez-its or trampled Ritz crackers? Dust-laden and dented,  plumped cans with peeled labels, all beckon you with their bizarre names and byproducts.

Yes, there’s something for everyone here, no matter how terrible your taste may be. And, they have free coffee!  You can’t miss it. It’s located right near the bathrooms, under a dim and dusty incandescent bulb.

Such a deal, only at Building 19. And 1/5.

Copyright, Paul Grignon, 2012, All Rights Reserved.

Forays into Savers…

Astoundingly, have Julie and I recently ventured into a store known as Savers. Not once, not twice, but at three different times and, at three different locations! Within the past two days did we pass through their portals, searching for Buddha-knows-what and yet, one never knows what fabulous treasures one will find in this kind of establishment.

We did not find any treasures whatsoever.

But, we did manage to find some fine articles of clothing, as well as a smattering of books, and a few candles that proved worthy, as they dripped not a drop upon illumination.

Savers is the kind of place where upon arrival you are immediately overwhelmed with the aroma (a rather polite word) of…mothballs. Instantly are you transported to your Aunt Bertha or Grandma Ethel’s house, where such an odor is de rigueur. ‘Jesus, what is that smell?’, you might have asked yourself.

But once thoroughly ensconced in the bowels of such a store will the smell begin to dissipate, and then can you proceed to peruse the sundry items of bric-a-brac and bibelots that populate the dust-laden shelves.

‘Oh, will you look at that! Just what I needed. Another goddamn bleeding Jesus crucifix stained with remnants of cookie dough or–hold on!–I believe it to be encrusted jelly donut fingerprints!’

Did…did I fail to mention that no treasures were to be found?

I must attest, though, that during our scavenging moments there, we did buy a few things and, as I sit here typing this post, we are thoroughly enjoying the ambience of the candles as they shed their pleasing dripless glow.

Do feel free to cross the threshold of such a store and perhaps you, too, will be able to exit with untold wondrous treasures.

Tomorrow, off to Building 19…

Copyright, Paul Grignon, 2012, All Rights Reserved.

Insanity…

‘The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.’ ~ Albert Einstein.

Do you, by any chance, know anyone that engages in this type of behavior? I do. And I am quite certain that you do as well.

What propels these people to repeat the same steps, over and over, always with the faint hope that something will change? It’s perplexing–and disheartening–to witness this bizarre and, ultimately, pointless exercise.

In Buddhism, there is the idea of a wheel, where one tends to perpetuate various behaviors, all of which are detrimental to the soul, or essence of Being. The idea is to ‘remove’ oneself from this harmful wheel, this cyclical nature of self-destruction.

This ‘cycle’ comes in many forms; from depression, to perpetual negativity, playing the victim, or something as mundane as the continuity of a daily ritual, if that in itself causes the suffering.

The Internal Saboteur is always alive and well within, and it is best to access the Internal Observer, to confront and–this is key–to embrace that same saboteur. After all, both the Observer and Saboteur are one and the same, a sense of Self.

Only then will a sense of clarity be revealed, and the utter futility of the vicious cycle will be eliminated. Diligence is paramount, for if not maintained, the ‘insanity’ will once again return. Who in their ‘right’ mind would want that? “Mindfulness” remains the answer. Once accessed and achieved, both mind and body are whole, in ‘uni-ty’ with the ‘Uni-verse’.

So if perhaps you are reading this simple post, and you are one of the multitudes who are constantly fretting over something, be it a recent divorce, your job, the foreclosure of your home, wondering if you’re consuming too much Glendfiddich, feeling sorry for your lot in life, now is the moment to release such horrid notions. For it is only the Now, the Moment, the Present, that exists.

Why not embrace this this time right now, to weave a tapestry of calm and clarity, instead of clenching and clinging to a shroud of abject repetitive misery?

Let go. Embrace the Now. Let go…and release the hellish bond of insanity.

Copyright, Paul Grignon, 2012, All Rights Reserved.

Along Dad’s Trail…

"Two Days Before..."Yeah, that’s Pops once again, but one can never get enough of their father, once he is no longer here.

I mention this because today I went for a pleasant walk in the woods with my 10 year old boy, a child who has met my Dad on more than one occasion in the past, and I thought that it would be a great idea to honor ‘Pops’ with a stroll along one of his favorite jaunts.

It’s a trail off the beaten path, within Wells State Park (a most enchanting place where I grew up) and my son readily agreed to accompany me on this brief outing.

After parking my car at the gate’s entrance, we ventured past the driveway and ambled along the dirt road that led to the trail. I pointed out various things to my son, and he seemed to absorb everything I said, inquiring here and there about the woods, about my Dad, his ashes, and how he died.

It was a calming hike, but tinged with a hint of melancholy. As the wind whistled high through the swaying pine trees, I felt the presence of my dear Dad and he seemed to be a part of the gentle wind. His spirit soothed my somewhat saddened visage. And knowing that at least part of his remains–his ashes–reside in a pond off this path brought a comfort to my soul.

The walk, with my dear stepson, proved to be healing, and I was glad to have his company. He asked pointed questions, and seemed to ponder the idea of death, and what becomes of a human being after the dark cloak of death embraces a departed soul. Like most people, he enjoyed seeing my Dad, whenever we happened to see him.

Coming full circle through the woods, we wended our way back to the car. All in all, a pleasurable stroll, more pleasurable knowing that we walked in the same footsteps of my dear Dad.

‘I felt you there, Pops, and I wish you well, wherever your spirit may be. I love you.’

Copyright, Paul Grignon, 2012, All Rights Reserved.

Feline Personal…

Cats.

Just the subject itself conjures a myriad of images, whether positive or negative. But here, in our small but comfortable abode, our three kitties provide the former. Well, ok, as far as the latter, kitty puke and cleaning litter boxes are not so pleasant. Oh, and occasionally, a monstrous fur ball that defies logic.

Boo, our big black shadow of a cat always provides a preponderance of hilarious antics, whether gazing at us upside-down with his big moon eyes, or chasing various tiny toys after consuming a heaping helping of catnip. (I have always wondered what the human equivalent is…probably red wine & dark chocolate.)

Fenway, on the other hand, is the Eeyore-in-residence feline, as he always appears to be in a rather melancholic mood, his countenance hunched and sad. When he sits with his backside to us, his bulk looks like Churchill; huddled, with a gray mantle of fur, like an overcoat. A hat is the only thing missing to complete the visual.

And Miles? Well, he is our ‘two-ounce’ cat, at least, that is what I call him. Compared to the immense bulk of the other two (Boo: 18 lbs.; Fenway: 10 lbs) he remains tiny and wraith-like, and when he deigns to curl up on your lap, you cannot feel his weight in the least.

Affectionately, I call Boo and Fenway ‘Fathead’, but for Miles I reserve the moniker ‘Squirrelhead’ as he does possess a rather small noggin.

All three get along handsomely, although at times Boo plays the bully, swatting at the others with his big mitts (double-pawed) for an extra morceau of orts, or clawing at them to get a choice spot near the heater.

As for peculiar traits, Miles loves to lick plastic shopping bags, then crawl inside them. Don’t ask me why. Boo loves to lick a particular soft white blanket, and crawl into any box, no matter the size. And Fenway, good ol’ lachrymose Eeyore, likes to scratch anything within reach after using the litter box. Mind you, he never actually scrapes or scratches litter onto his…um, excretions, but scratches at the wall, or the air, or the top of the litter box. Yeah, I know. He’s rather odd.

But other than these varied idiosyncrasies, it always remains a pleasure to come home after a long weekend away and look down to witness their concerned and alarmed cat faces peering back at you, as if they had thought we had completely abandoned them forever.

Yes, sometimes cats can be a bother but for the most part they are wonderful pets and all four of us love our three felines dearly.

Now time for me to clean up some still-steaming cat puke in the corner and shovel out the stinky litter boxes….

Copyright, Paul Grignon, 2012, All rights Reserved.