Monday, March 19, 2012

Oh, pooh.

My dog has an owner who needs to be walked.  So I rounded up my canine coach and outfitted her with a purple leash.  Then I talked to her before we left the house.
“Now, you’ve already poohed, right, in the privacy of our own backyard, so you don’t need to do it out in public like doggie trash, ok?”
She looked at me sincerely with uncrossed legs.
“Good dog,” I told her.
She lied.
I didn’t have a doggie bag.  She doesn’t have scruples.
Back up the grassy hill we walked to the Little Black Bag dispenser.  Then cross country over the grassy hill, searching for the two little nuggets she left for posterity.
“I’m shocked and appalled,” I told her.  “You should have done this at home like civilized people.”  And we headed back to the sidewalk.
She paused again in the grass beside the concrete walkway, and now four little nuggets shone in the sun.
“What?!”  I said sternly.  “Now we have to go up that hill, get another Little Black Bag, and come back down here so I, who did not make those messes, can pick them up with only this little piece of black plastic between me and absolute disgust.  This is the reason I don’t walk you!”
I carried the little nasty gram back up the hill, just like the one I’d carried five minutes earlier, giving her a piece of my mind the whole way.
“Well, this is just repulsive!  And humiliating!  Everyone can see what you did right there in broad daylight.  And now I’m carrying it.  Who’s the pet and who’s the owner?  Hmmmmmm??”
We walked purposely for fifteen minutes and then at an accelerated heart rate caused by significant irritation for another ten.  That’s three activity points on Weight Watchers.
I think I should get extra credit for bathroom duty.

Sunday, March 18, 2012


I must be crazy.  It’s 48 degrees outside and 100 per cent humidity.  But it’s raining.  After three months with nothing, it’s finally raining.  So I had to come out here and smell it and listen to it and watch it.  At least until I’m cold.
Was that my breath I saw?  Okay.  I’m cold.  Going in now.
It’s quiet.  I’m the only one up except for our dog, the super sleuth.  And she’s sulking in the corner because her bathroom ceiling is currently leaking big time—if you know what I mean—forcing her to air dry.  Well, I’d be sulking, too.  I hate it when my hairdo gets wet.
What is it about rain that’s so comforting to me?  Some people detest it.  They love getting the drought-ending moisture, but they hate the gray skies and being on house arrest.
But the light still comes through the clouds.  It’s just not a blue sky.  And nobody should be looking straight at the sun anyway.  It seems to me that rainy days are safer than dry ones.  They’re just . . . wetter. 
Rain cools things off.  We’ve been flirting with summer this spring like a teenage boy on a college campus—we’re not ready for that much heat yet.  Slow down the Scoville train.  It’s gonna be one hot tamale around here soon enough.
Rain is peaceful.  At least, this kind of rain is.  Slow, lethargic, playfully releasing raindrops onto puddles just to see what new patterns it can create.  It reminds me of a picture taken of my daughter when she was sixteen, sitting on a rock next to cascading water, laughing as she dipped her toes in and out of the wet stream, watching the current flow around her feet and gently tickle them.
Maybe it’s just that I’m attracted to water.  Which doesn’t seem to make sense.  I mean, after all, I chose to live in the desert.  But one of my favorite things to do when we travel is to stand on a beach—once the sun leaves to go bother somebody else—and watch the waves while a cool wind styles my hair.  A couple of weeks ago we did that after sunset when all we could see of the water were the white outlines of the incoming tide. We stood in the sand, facing into the wind of an approaching cold front and looked at the stars.  You should have seen the hairdo nature gave me after an hour of that. 
I may never get to the bottom of my obsession with rain.  It just makes me take a deep breath and let go.  God is here.  He brings rain to the desert and comfort to my heart.  I can count on it as much as the rainbow that always follows a storm.  He never made a promise He didn’t keep, and every time it rains, He puts his signature on the blue sky to remind me of that.
I spell relief,  “R-A-I-N”.  Cool, cleansing rain always comes.  I just have to wait for it.

Friday, March 16, 2012


It's been a hard month in our Clan McLeod.  And to be honest, the sorrow impacting our family with the serious illness of the family patriarch has leveled me a little.  Taken the wind out of my sails.  Distracted me from the enjoyment I usually find in the indulgence I call writing.  I'm still here.  I'm taking notes.  I'll have a lot to say when I figure out a few more things.  Or maybe I'll just have a lot to say as a way of figuring things out.

But in the meantime, if you believe in prayer, mention my father-in-law, Bob, to my Father above, would you?  We love him so much.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Holding Fast

I married a McLeod.

It’s a package deal, marriage. You take them, they take you. If life smiles on you, it’s a Christmas package.

I sit here on their porch, soaking in the view of blooming pink azaleas, quenching my thirst for color in huge draughts only desert dwellers can understand. The awning window cranked open refreshes me with the whisper of swooning tree branches and cool, Gulf breezes. For over a hundred years this house and these trees have communed here together. Giant Live Oaks which tower above the hand laid brick patio and two story home--four ancient trees with a combined breadth that covers a quarter of an acre. They link arms in protection above the family who has lived here for more than forty of those years. Never once brought down by hurricanes or tornadoes, they’ve bent but never fallen.

This morning a new storm ravages both hearts and landscape. But the branches, iced with dripping Spanish Moss, nod in my direction, wise and experienced. They've withstood many storms together, this family and these oaks. Linked arms. Deep roots. Calm countenance. Here they raised and released a family, loved and laughed through more than fifty-nine years of marriage, and sipped coffee as they observed the ever changing tide of new neighbors who don’t realize they’re living next to royalty.

I marvel at their courage and strength, these Scottish pillars, and how they hold fast. They made room for me in the family circle, and I am forever humbled by my good fortune.

Many are proud to say they rub shoulders with these McLeods.

I am one of them.