Saturday, December 26, 2015

Pissed Off Playful

Our cat, Playful, has not spoken to me for six days. My crime? I switched my full sized futon mattress for a twin bed. I am guilty of thinking of the health of my back over her need for personal sleeping space. I am a rotten animal provider.

The crimes against Playful have been many over the years. She has endured a lifetime with a litter mate, two boys who thought nothing of chasing her for their own pleasure, and a dog. It has been a gruesome and grueling existence.

And now, finally, in her old age of thirteen, she had her life at a pleasant state. The dog has become her companion for nightly walks, litter mate has become tolerable, and the boys grown enough to stop the chase. But then we pushed her too far.

It started with the puppy. Yes, you heard me correctly. Our family had the nerve to take home a tail chasing, high energy, scampering, inquisitive young animal. Did we think of Playful's needs? Did we reflect for a moment on her deep desire for peace and tranquility in the home? Her love of a non-changing environment? If we did, it was only scoffed away as a 'She'll get used to it' attitude. Mean, selfish, that's what this family has become.

Even then, that selfless cat was going to brave that bothersome baby. She is that much of a beautiful, forgiving being.

Until the bed change. That became the deal breaker in our relationship. She is done with us. No more will she sleep on my pillow with her fur topping my head. When I feed her, Playful waits until I leave the room to eat. If I stay, she will lick her paws and glare at me. I have been ungrateful for the time she has bestowed on me over these years together. Time and again I thought of others over her needs. How can I ever live down the shame of my neglect?

Are there enough years left in her cat life to make it up to her? Enough tuna in the world as bribe for her favors? What can I do?

For starters, we will return the puppy to the animal shelter and get rid of the litter mate and old dog. The new bed will be tossed into the street. Who cares if the old futon was causing me immense lower back pain--this is Playful we are talking about. Finally, we will buy a new carpeted kitty condo for maximum restfulness at nap time. Should I hire a cat sitter to come over and pet her when I am gone for the day? Yes, that is a good idea.

Maybe, just maybe, if I do everything in my power, I can get that cat to love me once again. All I can do is try.

Heather Leigh,
Callous Cat Companion

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

There Is No 'Me'

I just can't have my own personality anymore. Everything I do, think, or partake in has origins that are not from me. There is just no space to be me!

Whenever I do something dingy, it's because I'm a blond. What I am balanced, fair and optimistic it's because my birth stars were in alignment with Libra. My eyes belong to my mother, height to my father, and big butt from Grandma. I tried to give her the butt back, but she wouldn't take it. I am a slow mover, eater and talker from some great uncle who wasn't even around when I was born. What kind of legacy is that to leave to a kid? Sheesh.

And now, just when I thought I had one trait that was all mine, turns out it's the writer in me. It must be true, because I saw the posting in Facebook. Writers feel alone in crowds and at peace when alone.

What the heck? I can't even claim to a desire for alone time without the writer issue pushing its way in. There is just nothing unique to me. How do people find themselves when it has already been explained by birth, profession, family and coloring?

Here is a personality hypothesis that I am sticking to: there is a difference between bakers and cooks. Bakers are more precise and analytical. They're the ones who stress about one and a half teaspoons of baking powder and one. Need to know which one you are dealing with in life? Have them bake a batch of cookies. If they are just the right chewy/crispy ratio, you have someone who may want to control your life. They have the potential to put your kitchen in order, balance your checkbook, and notice when you have gained weight.

Cooks are about passion, creativity and flair. In other words, emotional roller coasters. If their gravy roux doesn't thicken, keep all knives away from them. Pot and pan banging is a natural course of stress relief.

As these are my revelations, you can accept or ignore them. If you look at my dumb blond hair, you can easily blow off my words. If you appreciate my writing skills, my baker/cook thoughts might give you something to reflect on. Don't ask me to direct you on what to think. Libras are notorious for indecision.

My poor teenage boys can't do anything right by their own will. Every time they say excuse me, open a door for someone, or say thank you, it is because they were raised right. At least, that's what I've been told. They don't get one polite credit to their name. If they are moody, stressed or having a pathetic day, it's because they're teenagers. So once they turn twenty, they are on their own. No more excuses. They should start practicing now so it doesn't hit them all at once.

I would talk to them about it, but being a woman, mom and Libra, I am too much of a softie to discipline them on anything.

Hah! Got out of that one.

Well, I am off to eat my baked potato. In a past life, I was Irish. That's why I love those potatoes so much!

Heather Leigh,
Pre-defined soul

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Vaccinated Ants

Ants have an enviable communication system. Before my family could even figure out what had happened, the ants had spread the word: Mom was taking the day off.

Yes, it is true. I spent the entire day reading 'Pride and Prejudice' to the end, watching New York, I Love You and Black or White. Both great movies, by the way. It was not that I was sick, just need a day of nothingness. I figure if I cave into those urges of void every so often, I can keep my composure for a month at a time. Plus it is healthy for my teenage sons. You see, when I am happy and content, I do not have as many selfish temper tantrums.

Anyway, back to those efficient communicators: The Ants. When I made the decision yesterday morning to only stir from bed to make my world famous popcorn, the ants knew it. And this is when I was still in the just thinking about it stage! Wow. Nature is full of wonders, is it not?

Here is the memo that flew through the ant community in the time it takes to make an ant sized step:

Mom is staying in bed! That means:
No one knows how to unload the dishwasher, put away food, wipe off the counter, clean dishes or put trash in the trash can. Free buffet all day long!

The joke is really on the ants. Because my family does know how to do all of that. The thing that is actually happening is that my staying in bed triggers an automatic response system. I believe other moms, and some dads, know about this condition. It's called TeMDOFA, Temporary Mom Day Off Amnesia. It is quite common. Sad really, but what can you do?

You see, the rest of the family forgets how to keep a kitchen clean. But boy, those ants always remember. They get right in there and attack every last crumb in the kitchen. They even make a complicated trail from their underground cave-home, to the spilled pieces of dog food on the counter.

They must be immune to TeMDOFA. Wonder if they have some kind of vaccine against it? Maybe it comes in human sizes and strengths. I'm going to talk with them, see if they'll give me some. After all, I have just provided with them with enough food to feed an ant colony. They kind of owe me.

In trade, I would even be willing to throw out a teaspoon of sugar each morning into the backyard.

I'm going to go have a chat with them about setting up a barter system. After I do yesterday's dishes, of course.

Heather Leigh,
Rested Mom in a Dirty House

Friday, October 30, 2015

High and Low Life

Today was a day of highs and lows. Let's start with the Halloween candy issue. There was the splendiferous discovery that when you procrastinate and buy the bags of sugar on the day before, they are half off!!! For those of you who suffer with fraction-itis, that means that for the same price, I could buy twice the amount!!! So that is the high point. The low is that I can eat twice as much.

Then, I WARNED my son to not open the bags. He said it would be fine because the candy is in little bags. He had the audacity to then whip those things open, pour the little bags of treats into a big bowl, and stash them in a cupboard where I could reach it. Another low. What was that kid thinking? For goodness sakes here, people, I have been going to Pilates for over a week now. Was all that exercise in vain when I can just waltz into the kitchen at any time, day or night, and devour twice the amount of chocolate before Halloween is even here? WAY low point.

Then came dinner. I decided home made mac and cheese was the best thing for tonight. I make a mean, bad a** mac. But tonight, on some kind of crazy fling, I went for a new recipe. This may have worked out, but my first born ensured me that he needed to have a doubled recipe. He is a mac addict. The doubling did not work. Soon after the roux was not thickening the sauce properly, my other son made the mistake of asking when dinner was going to be ready.

I screamed at that poor kid like a banshee from hell. Perhaps I should feel guilt and shame after my poor behavior, but I was in the middle of a thin roux. You can understand the frustration and agony I was under. Would this be classified as a low parenting moment, or a high on voicing clear and honest communication and feelings? You be the judge.

The day was saved with my clever recipe manipulations. The mac turned out just as good as normal. I know you are itching to know what I did to rescue my soiled sauce, but it is too personal to disclose. That's just how it's going to be.

My third high/low challenge comes from my sons. The oldest was not at home when the mac came out of the oven. He was off carousing and causing chaos with his dance buddies. He is in the Nutcracker Ballet. So you know what that means--hours of practice, great exercise, wholesome friends, and a healthy life style. This is hard for me to admit what he is putting the family through. But I know there are others out there with great teenage sons who suffer also.

The other son did this tonight: the dishes, played the piano, and completed his math homework with a pleasant attitude and high spirits. Where did I go wrong with this bunch?

(Now before you go defending yourself and wondering about your own kids, rest assured. Those sons of mine have their issues too. It's just that today was a good day for them both.)

So there you go. My day of highs and lows. Tomorrow is Halloween night, and at midnight starts NaNovWriMo: National November Write a Novel in a Month. Who knows what kind of crazy spell we will be under in just a few hours.

Heather Leigh
High and Low Author.
P.S. I apologized to my son for the Banshee scream. He understood once he found out it came from almost ruined mac and cheese. He knows the importance of a good roux.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Pilates Pain Conspirators

Ever tried a Pilates class? As of this morning, I have. Funny thing about pilates. The true pain is discovered later. It's a tricky, sneaky snake of a beast.

The teacher said it was an intermediate class but that I looked fit enough to try it out. Wow, does he not ever know me. Maybe his glasses were broken. The word intermediate scared me, but I was too hyped up and ready to try this thing. I mean, after all, I had woken up at 7:30 to do this danged class. With that kind of sacrifice and commitment I was not about to leave. But then, lo and behold, I got through that 50 minutes with out a huge amount of discomfort. I actually followed through with just about every exercise.

But now here comes the funny part. The City Manager of our small town decided to re-pave just about every road in town TODAY: first time pilates day! There must have been some kind of special with the tar the road company. Every road I tried to turn down was blocked. The detour sent me to the other side of town. By the time I got home, it was too late.

My body was ruined. The aches and pains that avoided me in class had time to catch up with me on a drive home that took twice the usual time. I'm pretty sure this is part of the conspiracy theory that people whisper about. You know, the one about waiting for Heather to take an intermediate pilates class, set up road blocks to make her get home late, and then hit her like a girl scout cookie on diet days. You've heard of that theory, right?

So now I am stuck in this chair, writing for the rest of the day. Don't know if I'll even be able to get up and fix myself lunch. Perhaps the local vegan restaurant will deliver lunch to my home office desk.

Have you ever been attacked with a personal conspiracy theory aimed right at you? Up until this point, I had been skeptical they existed. But now that I've gone through one, I can tell you that they are out there. Lingering, stalking, watching your every move. Waiting until you were vulnerable and stupid enough to try out something new.

Well, you mean old conspirators, I will fight back. I will vow to never try another exercise class again. Wait, I'll go even farther. I'll just stop exercising altogether. That will set my revenge in place. HAH!

I don't even care if I put on fifty pounds and go for three chins. Anything I can do to prevent myself from being attacked, I am ready! And to seal the deal with myself, I'm going to eat a box of chocolate covered caramels. As soon as I can get up, of course.

Don't think yourself above such things as personal conspiracy theories. I did, and look what that got me. Join the campaign and quit all exercise and nutritious eating habits right away! Have donuts and soda for lunch. It's the only way to fight back. I'll be here, stuck in my chair, routing for you.

Good luck and may poor health be with you. And remember, there are others joining you in our cause. You are not alone!

Heather Leigh,
non-exercising Author

Monday, October 12, 2015

Jealousy and the Caterpillar

The front wall of our house has been under siege by monarch caterpillars for over a month now. At first, I thought it was just a few wayward souls who lost their way from the front yard maple tree. But since then there are too many to believe it is just some random occurrence. Evidently, our green house calls to them. Must say something about the splendiferous nature of the people living inside.

Today we got lucky to the extreme. We caught one in the act of building her cocoon. Since I feel a deep, personal connection after seeing this caterpillar in such a vulnerable moment, I am going to take the liberty of naming her. Chloe, I've always liked that name.

I was watching for Chloe to be spitting up some kind of cocoon wrap. She was surrounding herself with little pieces of something, attached in an oval around her. When my son came to check out nature in action, he noted that Chloe was plucking out her caterpillar fur one strand at a time. Then she placed it next to her body. So far, she has a horseshoe around herself!

It's just like that disease in which people pull out individual strands of hair. Except instead of being something based on stressed, this is the foundation of Chloe's new house.

So, I know it's something that people have been dwelling on forever, but how do insects know to do that? Did Chloe wake up this morning and think, "yah know, it being Monday and all, think I'll go over to the green house and pluck out my fur. And then, hey, this would be neat, I'll turn my hair into a house."

Is that what she was thinking? What else could it be?

The other thing about caterpillars is their reverence for a good long nap. I mean, look what they put into making their bed customized, comfy, and cozy. This is no lazy insect. If they are going to that much trouble to deck out their sleeping arrangement, they deserve that lovely deep sleep they are going to get. Personally, I feel full of high flying self-esteem if I actually take the time to make my bed in the morning.

I am rather jealous of Chloe, I have to admit. When I wake up in the morning, I do NOT come out looking like a butterfly. Not even close. Those monarch's sure have one cute style after a next. From fuzzy black and orange to intricate gorgeous wings of the same color. Do they ever have a bad hair day? I think not.

Hmmm, gosh, now I'm wondering what I could accomplish today that would be even half as interesting as building myself a napping house with my hair. Maybe if I add some new kind of sauce to tonight's tofu meatloaf, that would be something worth talking about. Who am I kidding? All I can do is sit around and write about the wonders of nature. But then, that's not such a bad thing. At least I get to share this with you.

Heather Leigh,
Fanatically jealous of the monarch

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Mid Or Late At 47

Saturday I will be forty-seven. And I have some huge questions gnawing away at my brain.

First off: Will I be in my mid or late forties? If I am still in my mids, that let's me out of having to be any wiser, right? Or face a mid-life crises. Life can go on Easy Breezy Lemon Squeezy.

But late forties? I'll be responsible for knowing all of life's answers. I don't even know the questions. What do I say when asked how to bring about world peace, end suffering, and how to win at Mahjong? So much is expected at this great and noble age phase. I'm going to screw it up.

But then, if I am hitting mid-life crises stage, that means I get a new Porsche and some hot guy to ride in the passenger seat. Maybe we'll fly to Fiji to celebrate my birthday in my new jet. Well, now, that sounds good.

Second question: is there a list somewhere of things I was supposed to have accomplished by this age? And is the list about my happiness, or if my house is bigger than your house with more expensive toys in the garage. So much pressure.

Third issue: Several of my friends have already made it to the fifty year mark. They tell me they feel more free. That what others think of them is less of a concern. They feel happier.

Does that mean that I have three years left to suffer? Because I didn't even know I was suffering. I had been thinking I was pretty happy. Perhaps if I am in my late forties, then I will know if I am suffering or happy.

Finally, by the time I reach fifty, both kids will be graduated and gone. My old pets will probably be off to where ever it is that they go when they die. I will be free to live where ever I want. Should I go with tropical island vacations for the next ten years, or cruises around the world. Probably a mixture, I should think. As long as both places serve pina coladas, chocolate covered caramels, and Cabernet, I'll be set.

There are a group of yellow finches in our maple tree. I can see those little guys hopping around like they are not even involved in a forty-seven-year old anxiety. Shesh, just because they won't live a whole decade, it's like they don't even care.

Well, I guess Saturday I will find the answers to my huge questions. Think the answers come in a dream, or do angels come out and whisper what comes next into my ear? How am I supposed to wait three days to find out what happens for the rest of my life?

Maybe next life time, I'll come back as an instinct driven finch. Much easier.

Heather Leigh,
Almost forty-seven year old

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Cooking, Writing, and Accounting

Quote from the picture on my kitchen wall: There are things you do because they feel right and they may make no sense and they may make no money and it may be the real reason we are here: to love each other and eat each other's cooking and say it was good.
         ---by Brian Andreas (

And I think to myself, that is so right on. I mean, think of all the stress, wars, dramas, and arguments that we put ourselves through in this life. Is that what we came here for? I know I'll be sounding like John Lennon here (which is an awesome thing to do!)  but think of how spectacular this life would be if the quote was our reality. We could all be doing what brings us the most happiness, sharing it with the rest of the world, and telling each other that their 'thing (cooking)' was good.

Why does it have to be any other way?

For stuff that no one wants to do, like clean the Men's room in public places, we would have to take turns. But really, when you think about it, just about every job there is, somebody out there enjoys doing it.

How many times have I heard people say they hate writing--especially the revising part. Well shiver my timbers if I don't love to write. I'll take that job.

And did you know there are actually people out there who enjoy accounting, working on cars, and reupholstering furniture? Yes, it's true. Those people exist. Well, what if they are stuck writing books for children because it pays the rent. Shouldn't we be able to swap jobs like it's no big deal?

I know there a oodles of teachers out there just waiting for the opportunity to show people how to switch their career.

I think we should form some kind of committee to get this 'eat each other's cooking' philosophy as a working motto for the world. Of course, somebody else will have to run the committee. I hate that kind of stuff. But I would be willing to write about it.

What I'm talking about is a total Utopia Society. But goodness gracious, why not. I mean, whose world is this anyway? When did we let it get so out of control that most of us are spending hours everyday NOT doing what we are blissed about? Is there a person, corporation, political figure out there who we could talk to about changing the world to something we all enjoy? No, I guess not.

I guess the only thing we can do is, well, do it ourselves. Maybe we all have to move in the direction of making our life what we want it to be. Sounds pretty wild, huh?

Perhaps we could take baby steps toward the beginning quote, then let our children take it from there.

Heather Leigh,
Writing my stuff and saying your stuff is good

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Twenty-Four Hour Syndrome

Flies live for twenty-four hours.  Doesn't that seem like a huge waste of resources on the part of Mother Nature? I mean, those things are amazing. At least, their bodies are. They have multi-faceted eyes that can see dozens of views all at the same time. Can you imagine processing all of that information at once? I can barely register the finch in our tree out front and the leaves around it at the same time. And those little tiny translucent wings? Where do they get the strength to carry that thing from piles of poop to my watermelon when I'm sitting outside?

So why go to all that trouble in creating so much in the way of engineering wonders, if it is only going to be around for a day?

And not only that, couldn't the fly be given some kind of really cool task to accomplish? Because from what I observe, landing on shit, vomiting on their food, and getting caught in spider webs are the prime directives of their life. That sucks. If I was given twenty-four hours with those wings and eye coverage, I'd want to have some awesome stuff to do for my life-time.

There are times when I want to take a whole day off. Like, lay in bed and read all day kind of day. Only get up to barely eat kind of day. This isn't a day of being sick, or melancholy, just a day off. So what I was born a fly, and the day that I happened to want to be my day off, was my only day on earth. Man, talk about the energy I would have to expend in making myself get up and fly around just to bug people. I'd have no motivation to get up, and no real reason to even exist on the planet.

Poor fly. Almost makes me not want to swat them with a swatter when they hit me in the face. Or feel bad when they crash into my car windshield. Almost, but not quite.

Maybe this whole essay on flies should make me want to go out and get twenty things done every moment of every day. You know, like they talk about people who have faced death then gone on to cherish each day. Done spectacular stuff. Climbed every mountain. Seized every day. Done every inspirational cliche in the Great Book of Cliches. Nah, I'd still rather have my day off days.

But the same things could be said about us humans. I mean, we have all this brain capacity, all of this knowledge, and on the planetary time scale, our lives are not even a flicker of a second. And not just our lives, but all of humanity. Our whole human time period barely registers as a grain of sand on the length of earth time. We need to come up with some better stuff to show for our exposure on this earth. Something beyond car chase movies and celebrity magazines.

Well, not to be bragging, or anything, but my books will probably go down as one of the Wonders of What Was Accomplished by the human race when the next generation of land rulers comes into existence. I mean, they are pretty good.  So, I guess at least one of us humans has gone beyond the Poor Fly Syndrome. I just got to be the lucky one with all of this literary talent oozing from my brain.

Don't worry, though. You have a longer life span than the fly. There is hope for you yet.

Heather Leigh,
Better than a fly

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Improving Author At Work

Want to know what I love? Well, obviously I'm going to tell you because I can't hear your answer. I love finding a debut novel that is fabulous, but not overly so. Then, as the author writes more books, I can read more of their blossoming talents and gain inspiration. Because if they can write something that will hold my attention for more than five pages, and improve their skills with each book, I have hope for myself.

Wow, that sounds narcissistic. Like, the only reason I like to read the other guys is to compare them to what I'm doing. I hope I'm not that bad. Because I want to be a solo cheerleader silently egging them on to keep up their momentum of self improvement. Support, positive wishes, and appreciation for their efforts--I want to be a part of all that.

But dang it, I'd be lying to myself if I can't admit that seeing others improve gives me hope for self-improvement. Maybe someday, writers will be watching me from the side lines. Sending me blessings of encouragement as each book grows into something better than before.

This weekend, I published the first two Scout and Ellie books: The Birthday Party and The Beauty Pageant, on to Kobo and NookBook. In doing so, I glided over my earliest attempts at writing those fun chapter books. And guess what I found? I like the first one, and each one is better than the last. Yey! Feels good to be getting better at the craft I love. Means there is hope for me yet. I didn't spill out all the talent that I will ever possess onto the first book and then leave myself exhausted of ideas.

Life for this writer will go on. Whew. Close call on that one.

Want to know what else I've gotten better at over the years? I know you are just springing with anticipation. Parenting. I've improved by elephant sized footsteps (get the Ellie reference? Oh, I am so clever). Talking, listening, being present, working with the boys, natural consequences, all those good parent things--I simply rock at. I'm exaggerating, but let me boost my parental self-esteem here. Even if I am lying to myself a smidge.

Okay, so here is the Catch-22. They are fifteen and eighteen now. Their need for my guidance is not as needy as is was in Kindergarten. So, while I got better, they've needed my services less and less. How does that make sense? What god came up with that trick, huh?

So I guess that puts writing on a more sensible path. As I improve, I write more books that people will benefit from. At least one of my two life callings is practical.

But then, someday those kids of mine will have kids. Maybe I'll get lucky and they will ask me for parenting advice. That will wrap up the parent learning cycle into something that makes sense.

Hey, maybe the Universe does have some order behind all the usual craziness we see everyday.

Heather Leigh,
Writing-improving author

Monday, September 7, 2015

Vegetarians and Dead Cows

Choice makes living much more agreeable. Like the other day when I was debating over the two packs of stickers that I wanted to decorate the front cover of my monthly planner (yes, I still use a paper one. My friends have told me there are apps for these things, but I don't believe them). The choice had been narrowed down to Princesses and Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles. This was a difficult decision. But then, a shining beam of florescent light came down and revealed 55 stickers dedicated to rockets, planets, space ships, and dinosaurs wearing glass space helmets! Crises resolved!

My Labor Day morning was spent placing the perfect stickers on the planner cover. And oh, does it look lovely.

Speaking of choices, during our latest grocery shopping excursion, I was reflecting on the explosion of choices now available for vegetarians. When I began my no-meat life over twenty years ago, restaurant menu options were narrowed to salad. Which wouldn't have been so hideous if salads back then weren't reduced to iceberg lettuce and a shivering of carrot grating.

My favorite joys were people's comments to my veggie ways. The most humorous, and shockingly common one was: if there was nothing left to eat in the world but a cow, would you eat it?
When people are that desperate, they eat dead bodies! Of course I would eat the cow. After I ate the guy who asked the stupid question.

Our new puppy, Daisy, has a whirlwind of choices to make every moment. We can just see her pleasure seeking brain jumping from one potential adventure to the next. She doesn't bother with much internal brainly debate, though. She's more of the physical type (while still extremely intelligent, mind you!). Her doggie Disneyland life often lures her into the backyard. There she is beckoned into chasing large black beetles, grass moved by wind, gophers that courageously poke their head above ground, and cat poop lurking behind the pine tree. After each of these has been attacked, her tail is always available, yet ever elusive.

Our old dog, Sydney, has decided to forgo such choices. In her time she was more exhilarated by learning how to snatch glass jars off the counters and pry them open to eat the food, candy, nuts or chocolate hidden within. Or jumping through the glass door in order to attack the mailman. Or escaping through a barely open car window while I was driving in the parking lot of the dog park.

Nowadays, her choices are where to take the best nap, how to position her sleeping body on the kitchen floor so that I will trip over her while holding a pan of boiling water, or whether to walk one block or two. So, she still has choices.

And I am overly thankful that she is still around to make those choices.

Well, I've got to go check out my newly decorated monthly planner. Show it off to the teens I am lucky enough to have as sons. They won't be much impressed though. They have no idea how blessed they are with all of the sticker choices available in this modern age. Nothing like when I was a kid, limited to princesses and turtles.

Have a great day of choice making!

Heather Leigh,
Advocate of a zillion choice world

Friday, September 4, 2015

Blogs of the Masters

Ever wonder what the great spiritual leaders would post? Like Jesus, what would he blog about? Would he talk about the peace makers, or tell people to do better at sharing Doritos, Ben and Jerry ice cream, and Lindt chocolate caramel bars. You know, the truly important stuff in life.

Would he be a Tweeter? Passing on profound life-altering quotes so often that Tweet followers would finally get annoyed and mute his posts?

How would he get people to listen to his old school ideas about mustard seed and non-judgement. Would he have to get a job, or learn how to couch surf? Who would hire Jesus? I wouldn't want to be his supervisor. He doesn't even have a social security number.

As far as I know, he ate fish. That would make him a pescadarian, not eating meat and chicken. If he got popular again, this would cause major strife with the cattle ranchers and butchers. There could be civil war again in the U.S.: meat-eaters versus vegetarians.

And what if Buddha came back? It could be kind of awkward having him and the Dalai Lama in the same room together. If they disagreed about something, it could get ugly. Actually, they are both heavy laughers. They'd post all of the practical jokes they'd play on their followers.

Buddha was the ultimate  Realist. I'll bet he would have a flood of disciples overloading the social media with his quotes. He'd have to get a pay pal account to handle his donations. Of course, the money would go to good causes. He was a nice guy.

John the Baptist would be on every campaign wagon that had to do with clean water. He sure wouldn't want stinky, radiated, sewage infused, rivers infested with fertilizers from golf courses. Trying to baptize people in polluted waters would piss him off severely.

Moses would chain himself to oil drills in the desert. He'd be doing Selfies on Face book, telling people to walk or bike to work. He liked those desert areas.

I don't know about Allah enough to have an opinion about him. But whatever he did post about, it would be some hard core, passionate blog writing.

Oh, here's a thought. Dr. Wayne Dyer just passed. His mission was unconditional love. Already knowing how to blog, he could instant message what its like on the other side. That would make for some good readings (saw him at a lecture once--he was the closest I've ever felt a person radiating unconditional love).

Please note that I am a huge fan of each of these spiritual leaders. Kind of a general groupie of the lot of them. Any jests I make are made with love, laughter, and the hope that they have a sense of humor. Certainly, if they came back in 2015 to see what we've done with this earth, they'd have to be able to laugh. Otherwise, they would simply go crazy, turn around, and go home. Wherever that may be.

Heather Leigh,
Surmiser of spirit leaders in the social media

Monday, August 31, 2015

Texting The First Day of School

First day of a new school for my tenth grade son. Not only is it his first day, it is his first day at a big school. The other ones have been charter schools with just over one hundred students. This one has twice that in the tenth grade alone.

So here is what I don't get. With all of the social media around, the ease with which we are constantly on our cell phones, and e-mail as addictive as chocolate covered caramels with sea salt, why am I not allowed to talk with him at school?

It should be so easy. All I'm asking for is this. I could text a little question, like how is my big guy doing on the first day of school? Made any friends yet? Teachers realize how awesome you are? Kids being polite and respectful? Who did you hang out with at lunch time? If they are future friends, will they be a good influence on you? Anyone offer you drugs?

I don't think that would be too much to ask on one text.

Then my fourteen year old could reply something to the effect of 'yes, mother. All of the kids are nice. We are studying in the library together after school. All of the teachers recognize my brilliance. Everybody likes me. Thank you, Mother, for showing an interest in my student career. I appreciate everything you have ever done for me.'

That sounds realistic, right?

Okay, maybe it sounds about as realistic as the fourth Scout And Ellie book that I have just finished the rough draft of. Probably more likely that a giraffe will move in next door to us and start dating the elephant living in the cottage in our backyard.

But if I can imagine that happening, I can tell myself that my kid would ever in a million years text me such a message.

He will be home in less than an hour. Guess I'll have to wait until then for him to tell me that school was fine, grab a bowl of cereal, and disappear into his bedroom to play video games. Any other parent out there relate to that?

Maybe I can hack into his Face book page and find out what he is posting to his friends. Then I will know what happened at school today.

Wish me luck!

Heather Leigh,
Social Media Dreamer

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Blond Libra Cliche

For me, the best way to make a major life decision, like whether or not to go swimming at the gym, is to not think about it. Because with my brain waves of reason, comes the knowledge that the water is cool, not warm. I might get a chill here, people! Do you realize that it takes me a full lap of hardcore crawl stroke to even begin thinking about adjusting to the water temperature? A full lap!!! No wonder I have to pick up my swimsuit, run out the door, drive like a maniac, and plunge into the pool before my brain can bring reason in to my awareness. It's a miracle I ever leave my house.

As I was staring at the bottom of the pool last night in my expert swim style (I did get an 'A' in all those college swim classes), I thought about how clever I am to have tricked my mind into getting into the harshly cold (heated) gym swimming pool. How I just do what needs to get done to keep body and spirit healthy.

But then, as I reached the end of the edge and prepared to switch to the breast stroke, I noticed the Nike check mark on my swim suit. I'm sure we all know their slogan: Just Do It. And then it hit me like a ton of freezing water. Just doing exercise without thinking about it, was marketed long ago by a major corporation. I am nothing but a sheep to the sales tactics of an exercise company. Some sales executive out there is just laughing at my folly, my self delusions.

I am nothing but a Nike cliche.

Is there nothing original about me? I thought that the way I laugh so danged loudly was a unique Heather thing. But then I read on Face book that Libras are naturally loud laughers. So there goes that one. I thought I was clueless about so many things, but then I see my hair in the mirror and remember I am just another blond. And a natural one at that, so there is no hope for smartness anywhere in my life.

Chocolate and wine are the building blocks of joy and bliss. But that is true for like every woman in America! The first draft of every story I write is crap, but Hemingway knew that about himself before I was even born! Loving my kids? Duh, so do mothers all over the world.

There has got to be something that sets me apart from the billions of other humans in the world. I mean, I want to be my own snowflake--not some cheap imitation.

Hey, wait! I got it! I can worry about all of this in just one twenty minute swim session. Hah! How many of you can come up with this much self doubt and angst in one work out. Yeah, so take that, you Nike executive. I am my own woman.

Hear me roar!

Oh, wait. That's another saying from a decade ago.

Oh well. I've still got a few more decades of living. Maybe I can figure out something that sets me a part from the crowd.

Any suggestions?

Heather Leigh,
Just another human

Monday, August 24, 2015

British Tea and Bumper Stickers

Now I will be the first to admit that there are many things which I do not understand. However, after reading a bumper sticker the other day, I got this one right off the bat. It read, "If you don't know the language, Go Home!" Good thing I got this. Otherwise I might have thought that this referred only to the people who didn't know English. Because since the local Yurok tribe was here way before the Europeans, this comment must be aimed at everyone who does not speak in their dialect.

And whoa! is this good news for me. Because now I get to go to England! I've always wanted to visit that place. I mean,  how much fun is it going to be to mess with those palace guards. I'm thinking that if I stage a faux fight between my teen aged sons, those guards will go so crazy, they will show finally some emotion: break down, and run away screaming. I mean, that's how I handle it.

After that, we're going to eat authentic fish and chips from the top of that humongous Ferris Wheel that you can see from outer space. And I've always wanted to buy a book from that Shop from that movie 'Notting Hill'. Wonder if Hugh Grant still owns it. He really is the cat's meow (that's U.S. slang for a really good looking person).

Think I could get lucky enough to meet my movie star crush, Alan Rickman? I just hope he doesn't wear his Snape professor cloak around the neighborhood. He was much more attractive in his turn of the century outfit in 'Sense and Sensibility' (best Romance book and movie EVER)!

I'll bet my boys will want to ride that underwater death claustrophobia-inducing traveling contraption that goes from England to France. I'll stay above ground and hope they make it back alive. Of course, they can't stay in France, because they don't speak the language.

The only real concern I have in this whole moving back to England after three hundred years away, is how that little island is going to hold all of the native English on it's shores. I mean, I don't really understand the mechanisms of how these things work, but it seems like that many people on one island would just sink it.

Maybe that's what happened to Atlantis. Everyone who spoke Atlantian and had left the island, all came back at once. They too would have all sunk the island. Wow, now returning to England has got me worried.

Geez Louis. I don't think the plan for us to return to England where we all speak the same language is going to work. Dang it. Perhaps if we all learn to speak the Yurok language, or whatever the dialogue was when us outsiders arrived, the original inhabitants will let us stay in the country. We can all promise to waste millions in their casinos. That might up the antie and convince them to let us back into the country.

So there goes my dream of moving back to England. But who knows. Maybe Alan Rickman will be buying a book at our local shop and he'll meet me, and be so enthralled with my humorous ways, that he'll invite me over for tea. It could happen.

Heather Leigh
The Understander of Bumper Stickers

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Suffering of Flies and Writers

Please know that my oldest son not only loves animals, he is also a vegetarian. So when I write that he pulled the wings off of a fly today, it was an accident. He was annoyed with the buzzing sound and was trying to put it outside. The wings just kind of fell off, he said.

Poor fly.

And while that fly will most certainly die, I feel a long distance kinship with it as I write the rough draft of Scout and Ellie, The Giraffe Next door. Okay, work with me here, people. It's not as though I had my legs cropped off, or my computer taken away, or any thing drastic like that. But well, sometimes it feels pretty close.

I mean, the last chapter, was it too whiny, slap-sticky, dull, or telling? Did the dialogue flow or sound even half-way realistic? That chapter about the apple orchard. Did I describe how messy it got in a comical enough way? Is the entire book going to be a cheap imitation of the rest of the series? Like a knock off Gucci bag from Tijuana?

Every day I am committed to writing a chapter a day. The only thing that allows me to go back to continuing the next day, is remembering that 'the first draft of anything is shit', as per Ernest Hemingway. Not that I could even be worthy of standing in his Writing shadow. But writing shit the first time around is something I hold dear to my heart as a connection with his greatness. It's in the revisions that I will never catch up with him.

So at night, after the chapter day, is when the torment wakes me: Was this Juvenile Humor chapter book funny in ANY way.

How I ever sleep is beyond me.

Tonight I'll have even more to worry about. We tried to get to that fly, but it keeps hiding in the window sill. My son says we should just leave it to become a spider's dinner. But that seems beyond cruel to me. I mean, can you imagine dying wingless, alone, and stuck in a web? I say we should kill the little guy to save him from more pain. It's the least we could do.

Wingless fly and dull humor story for kids. Why am I even on this planet if that is all I can produce in a whole day. I think I'll just quit now and read 'The Help' for the rest of the night. At least then I can know that there are good authors out there--and be supporting them with my silent accolades of appreciation.

I'm going to hum 'The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow' with Little Orphan Annie to get myself to sleep tonight. And pray that tomorrow, humor will come my way and spill out onto the keyboard as I write. Could happen, right?

Heather Leigh,
Owner of the wingless fly

Monday, August 10, 2015

Bikes and Pooh Bear

I'm a Libra. And whether or not you believe in such things as the stars determining our personality traits, there is at least one that is so accurate it makes me squirm. I am indecisive. And it's not so much being indecisive, it's that I see all sides of an issue so clearly that choosing one is akin to me pulling out my nostril hairs with a set of tweezers. One hair at a time, it hurts.

So when my teenage sons get me into the middle of their brotherly issue, I want to run for cover in our neighbor's bomb shelter. Or at least eat a box of See's chocolate covered caramels. Probably both at the same time. At least that I am decisive about.

Tonight there was a HUGE debate over the fourteen year old going for a bike ride at dusk. The back light had been broken yesterday. The eighteen year old insisted it wasn't safe, the younger that he would ride on the bike lane with a front light in a low traffic area.

Now this is not as bad as it sounds. In our area of town, he might be passed by one or two drivers.

But then those two go back and forth with this big argument, wanting me to have the final say. How can I do this? I'm a Libra, for goodness sake. Indecision is our trademark here, people.

In the end, I called in my Mom veto. He had to work out at the gym instead. Now watch, he'll probably wind up falling off the treadmill and winding up in the emergency room. I'd never hear the end of the whole bike safety argument again.

What happened to the good old days when they argued over whether or not the Incredible Hulk is a Superhero? Now at least, most disagreements still center around DC and Marvel comic plots and characters. They haven't strayed far from their major arguing ground.

We could have a heated discussion on the need for beans and legumes in the life of the vegetarian. That I have a stance on. I'm also good with the benefit of limiting the use of adverbs, the cuteness of piglets, and that Winnie the Pooh is one of the all time best advisers for writers. See, there are things I am firm on.

But iffy subjects that change with the setting of the sun? Just count me out and go to the gym.

Heather Leigh,
Supporter of limiting adverbs in writing but don't ask me about much else.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Dangers of Rice Writings

My children had the audacity to let me cook rice while writing. They should know better. Here I am, this innocent, sweet, naive writer attempting to undertake a new story AND feed myself at the same time.

After setting the timer for fifteen minutes, I coyly bounced into the waiting, loving arms of my computer chair. The screen was all ready set with Chapter One of The Giraffe Next Door, next in the Scout and Ellie chapter book series for 7 to 9 year olds, waiting like a happy, tail-wagging dog for her owner to get home.

All I had to do was jump in and start. And oh, what a beautiful start. I'd been thinking about the new love flame for Ellie, his personality, problems that may come up, and hilarious situations they could get into. Oh man, this is the good stuff for the writer.

I mean, can you imagine writing about that crazy elephant dating a giraffe? With Scout being forced into chaperon position? The fun of it is making me giggle as I write. That first scene, with the tree branch and a car sunroof--oh fudge, talk about a good time.

Who was I to blame if my time in author zone-out due to to bliss issues blocked my ears from ever hearing the timer go off for rice? I mean, for goodness sake, there were two teenagers in the house doing their own things in their rooms. They should have been watching out for their mother! If after all these years, they don't know well enough to not let me mix cooking with writing, well, I don't even know. If the house had burned down, and all of their stuff sent up in ashes, they have only themselves to blame.

So those two are just danged lucky that I actually remembered the rice only twenty five minutes after the timer had went off. The bottom of the pan was barely even scorched. And the fire alarms didn't even go off!

Okay, okay, okay. Now I know that you greedy readers are going to want a sneaky peek at what may or may not happen with Ellie and Udoka (that's the name my son and I agreed on for the giraffe. It means 'make peace with others' in one of the African languages). Well, there MIGHT just be an apple picking scene. And their might just be an apple flinging, giraffe neck, elephant trunk major fight going on. But don't get your high hopes up on that one. In this rough draft stage, who knows what will stay on the page. The possibilities are as unlimited as a spider contemplating a new web.

Whew. Writing is like the most fun a human can have on this earth. Well, no. First Place always goes to hanging with my boys.

And speaking of those radical kids, I'm going to have to remind them to make me stay away from the stove while writing. Playing with fire and words is too dangerous for this world to handle.

Heather Leigh,
writer in dangerous situations

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Baby Animals and Humans

Giraffes are six feet tall at birth. They have to be able to nurse from those mile high udders of their mothers, and be able to run from lions. Baby birds get pitched out the nest on their first flying lesson. It's all about fly or die--first time here, people. Whales are born while swimming with the pack. No waiting until they can fit into floaties and slowly make their way into the sea.

Those animals totally one up our kids.

Our kids are still dependent on us for years. My High School History teacher used to say that we were no longer dependent on our parents until we did our own laundry. Some people are still dropping off their dirty jeans until mid-twenties. We won't even bring up the ones who are living at home at thirty. Scary stuff.

What if after high school, our kids got the parental boot. I could have told my eighteen year old son, "Get a job, rent an apartment, and good luck on that whole college thing. E-mail your new address so I can put you on my Christmas card list."

Except that, now here is my sentimental side exposing itself like a flasher on meth, I like having him around. We don't have that teenage thing going anymore. I don't have to remind him to eat a healthy breakfast, read every night, and to curtail the 'attitude' against Mom thing. We do get to discuss politics, get crazy excited over Pluto pictures, and listen to our different reading interests. He's into Marvel and DC comics and I'm a certified lover of novels, especially new authors.

The other kid I get at home for at least three more years. He is threatening to move back to his desired homeland of San Diego. But I have three years to stab him with guilt over leaving his poor dear mother, slip-in manipulative comments against big cities, and drug him into wanting to stay in the area. I mean, three years is a long time. I can plan some serious underhanded moves to get him to stay. If that doesn't work, San Diego is a good place to visit. Some of my favorite people live there.

Because with that kid, he has one of the most finely honed senses of humor that I have ever come across. He just plain makes me laugh. Where do you think I get the dialogue and attitude for the Scout and Ellie book series? So him sticking around for as long as possible with me is a necessity. How am I supposed to write a chapter book with him seven hundred and fifty miles away? I'll just never laugh again if he's gone. It won't be my fault if I become boring, dull and mundane in three years. Don't blame me, people.

The oldest kid just came in to show me the newest 007 trailer. He knows my severe, intense, obsessive fascination with Daniel Craig. Had my son been a bird, it could have been weeks before I had ever known to watch the trailer. Wow, thank goodness he was born a human.

Well, gotta go now. I have one more load of teenager clothing to wash.

Heather Leigh,
Mother of two human children

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Wild Plutonians

Today is the day that I actually share an excitement with scientists. We, as in the whole planet earth, are expecting pictures of Pluto. Rather than rush into googling to view the first human sightings of actual Plutonian footage, I wanted to take this time to get myself even more psyched by sharing a blog post with you. You know, countdown with people I can't see and don't even know to feel the earthling connection before moving on to a plutonian connection. Get it?

So, one of the things that fascinates me are the scientists who are debating whether to call Pluto a planet, not a planet, or a dwarf planet. I mean, what a thing to get worked up over! Seriously, I am not being sarcastic here. To be that into your thing, your calling, your bliss, that you are fighting as to what to call it. Talk about passion here, people. What I am really wanting to see are some Astrophysicists having sword fights or pistol duels in the honor of keeping Pluto a planet. We should be having rallies world wide on naming rights. Every voice needs to be heard on this topic!

Now, this one is a stretch. But what if, on a dimension that our earthly intelligence can't register, there is life on Pluto? Couldn't there be an energy level that our machines can't pick up in which there are is come kind of stuff going on on that distant, crazy planet. Could be true, we don't really know everything. So if there are Beings on Pluto, what would they be like? Would they have a sense of humor? BBQs? Pets? Relationship issues? Would they be cute?

What if they resembled cockroaches?

I'm betting they would have to be a little on the wild side. I mean, look at how their planet travels. It couldn't just be the circle thing like all the other planets in our solar system. It had to pick this weird oval. And it has a moon almost half its size: Charon. No, this is definitely the sign of a rebellious, wild planet.

What does that say about the different-dimension Plutonians? Does the planetary path filter down in to a more off-beat planet?

So many things to think about.

I also wonder what the ground feels like. Is it a good lounging place, with Pina Coladas and a light summer novel? Or is it rugged and I'll need to bring a survival pack where ever I travel.

Oh, are laughing that you think I couldn't hang out on Pluto? I'm not so old that our technology couldn't get humans out there before I die. Could happen. But I don't know what I'd wear.

Okay, now I feel the anticipation pumping within. I'm going to sign off and see if the Pluto pictures are on-line yet.

Woo hoo! Pluto time!

Heather Leigh,
scientific Pluto explorer at heart

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Horrid Animal Activities

There is some wicked, socially deviant behavior occurring in the farm behind our house. For reasons that I will only reveal to my trusted readers, I will tell you what I know.

They are mixing breeds. Yes, it's true. Right there where children can see, even school field trips go into that forsaken territory, there is a mixture of piglets, calves and baby goats. And that is just one field alone! Who knows what happens beyond the view blocking garden of growing corn stalks.

Those poor piglets. Goodness only knows what is going to happen when they are attacked by the black sheep of the families. I shudder what to think could come out of this: piglambs, goatcows, bullsheep. Sickening. They don't even have the animals divided into their own colors.

And what about us landowners? You know this kind of mixing will only lead to gangs, violence, and animal tranquilizers. Property values are just shooting down as we speak.

Okay, so I told you that I would only share with you why I have not reported the demonizing terrors that are being carried on right over our fence. As I know this is a private blog, with only a few hundred of my closest international friends who I have never met, I can trust you with my secret.

We have a mixture of interacting species right here in our very house. Every night, I take our old Australian Shepherd, Sydney, out for her three block walk (that's about all she's up to now a days). And every night, her lifelong friend walks beside her. And no, it is not another dog. It is, Playful, our cat.

Neither are leashed. They are doing this of their own free will. Side by side, their old furry butts in front of me leading the way, they flaunt their relationship for the whole neighborhood to see. Both female and being of entirely different species. My only consolation is that both been through the spay/neuter thing. There will be no dogcats born in my house!

So you might think to your self, well, they are both very old. At least this horrid behavior will die with them. Until you learn about Daisy...the puppy.

We have two cats, both from the same litter chosen over twelve years ago to join our family. The sister cat, Girl, seems to have developed a love/hate relationship with Daisy. You might think that their seemingly normal acts of puppy chasing old cat, old cat giving her a few claw swats would be all there was to this thing between them. But that is not the end of it. When they think no one is watching, they have been hunting gophers. TOGETHER!

Yes, Girl does the scouting, standing at the ready, pointing out where the gopher hole is with her nose. And Daisy bounds over and starts digging. It is a shared ritual here, people!!! And again, they are both female, and of a different color and species.

So now you can understand my dilemma. If I call in the news reporters to shock the world with the atrocities right next to us, they could easily find out what is going on right in my very own home!

I'm not even bringing up that Sydney licks/bathes both cats at least once a week; leaving them covered in dog saliva.

If any of you trusted readers has an answer to help me with this perplexing challenge I find my self facing, please, I beg of you, let me know.

Heather Leigh,
the unscrupulous pet owner

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Blissful Updates

The mail carrier just brought me two awesome updated books!!! Scout and Ellie, The Birthday Party, and Red Nectar. Okay, so I had already revised the text of Scout and Ellie, but the cover layout was bothering me. I created a new improved cover on-line. Now, it is at the extreme end of bad donkey (aka known bad ass, but I am trying to keep this as G-rated as possible).

The new Red Nectar, with new cover and revised text is all about me being a better writer. Am I showing off? Am I bragging that I have superhero writing status? Powers that you should be peanut butter jelly jealous over?

You betcha.

Now here is something else that puts the smiles in my belly: watching people doing their bliss. This weekend, at the Arcata Plaza, was the Fourth of July community hang-out day. Food vendors, music, dancing, chubby cheeked toddlers chasing bubbles, and a rare sunshine day for our often misty, foggy county. Wow.

Any hoo, the belly dancers, Undercover band, and the circus type performers doing tricks on their hanging aerial silk, were all performing under the hypnosis type feature of zoning in on what they love to do. I hope you know what I am talking about. It's when people are so into what they are doing, time is elusive, the people around them are background noise, and their heart and soul are matching to what their body is doing. It's my favorite thing to watch in others.

So here is the thing about being a writer. No one wants to watch us doing our bliss. I mean, watching the beauty of the human body twirling above you doing magical feats, or dancing along with a band whose beat is forcing your body to dance along with the rhythm--who doesn't want to be in on that?

But a writer? No one has ever said to me, "hey, Heather, can I come over and gaze at you writing that blog of yours? How about as you revise Black Licorice? It's giving you such joy, it has to be something for me to see."

No, not once, not ever. No one wants to watch me play with words.

Well, I am not going to take it personally. Because if you are an actor in a Broadway play, I so want to be there to see you act. But as for my writer friends, no, not into watching you write. No matter how good your stuff is.

So I get it. Don't come over and watch me write. But do, please, read my books. If I see you reading them and laughing out loud (or crying, as the case may be), it will completely make up for not wanting to stare at my fingers at the keyboard.

How about that for a deal?

Heather Leigh,
proud show-off of two updated books

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Puppy Diseases

Our family is being forced to keep a shameful dirty secret. So, shhh, please do not share this with anybody. But, I have to get it out. I have never been good at keeping things in.

Okay, here goes. Our new puppy, Daisy,  has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, ADHD.

I warned you it was bad.

On the way home from the Humane Society with the little scamp wrapped in my son's arms, she was so sweet. It's as if she knew not to reveal the truth of what she was made of, the devil inside. She pretended to be complacent, a bit shy, and strangely calm for a puppy. But, with her disease being the strength that it is, the signs slammed at us by the second day.

One minute she was chasing my son around the living room, and then the next she was running toward me trying to figure out what that laughing sound was coming out of my mouth. That was when I first suspected. Then came the chasing of our old cat, to noticing her tail and having to chase it, to attacking an innocent stick.

The first night with Daisy, she snuck into my room twice to play. Waking up to a dog trying to chew your arm to wake is not a pretty scene. Other family members gave the same report in the morning. This dog is relentless.

The other animals of the house knew about her before we did. But then, they are all old and wise. Our Australian Shepherd won't play her puppy games. The twelve year old cats will barely sniff at her. But who can blame them? We don't really know if ADHD is contagious.

On her way to the food bowl last night, she passed the open dishwasher. Before I could even pour in the detergent, she had hopped up on to the open dishwasher door, grabbed a spatula, and was out the dog door teething on it! I think that spatula is the only thing she has been able to concentrate on for more than 15 seconds. Sad, isn't it.

I believe that enjoyment of the spatula brought about her other ailment. Oh, can I go on with what disorders poor Daisy has? This one may be worse. I've heard people whispering about it in back alleys and biker bars. It's called teething.

Thank you, readers, for letting me spill my guts out to you. I have no one else to turn to. But, well, the pup has been chewing on old shoes, table legs, foam blocks, a door stopper, and occasionally her dog toys. My only comfort here is that we agreed for her to only chew on a pair of my old stained pink shoes. She has been quite reasonable about that. I'm thinking that they probably smell the worst out of all of them.

Right now she is asleep in a fold of blankets on my bed. Being cute is the only thing that has kept us from tossing her back at the Humane Society. It would serve them right, having to take her back. I mean, how were we supposed to know that puppies have so much energy, chew things, and want to play all the time?

Well, at least we know Daisy won't get much bigger than she is now at two months. Because a St. Bermastiff, half St. Bernard and half Bull Mastiff, doesn't get much bigger, right?

Heather Leigh,
acknowledged companion of ADHD puppy

Friday, June 19, 2015

Off-Beat Optimism

I feel extremely sorry for the Friday night Zumba teacher at the health club. That poor woman has rhythm, spunk, personality galore, and just gets that Latin beat. And she has to teach her salsa based class to a dozen women who have absolutely no idea what it means to step in time to the beat.

Don't get me wrong, I am NOT making fun of my fellow class mates. Because I am the worst of the worst in that class. Having been three times now, I have just begun to kind of, sort of, keep up with her moves. At least, I'm now only a beat or so behind.

Can you imagine teaching such a class? That woman is nothing if she is not optimistic. She is thrilled when we almost catch on to one of her dance moves.

It's like when we give our dog a half-eaten apple core. Might as well just feed her a whole salmon.

But I guess I have the same disease she has. When I log on to my account and see how many people have purchased my books, my heart does this wiggly dance. I admit to getting geekily happy. Maybe it has something to do with that whole 'follow your bliss' thing. Finding out that there are people out there who want to read what I made up--Wow. How do I even describe that one? Well, I guess I'm backed in tocorner and just have to give some ideas:

  • a hummingbird flying in to a Kool Aid festival
  • ticks, fleas, and cockroaches simultaneously decide to become extinct
  • Alan Rickman, my movie star crush, sees me being interviewed by Oprah for my latest best selling kids book, and falls instantly in love
  • an hour of play time with Britain's royal corgis
  • discovering that Hogwarts is a real school, and being admitted
  • school is now being held at Disneyland
At least one of those must convey to you the kind of joy I get from selling my books.

Oh, and a world in which everyone is living in abundance by following their bliss. Now that would be cool.

Heather Leigh,
Optimistic Author

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Serious Dishwasher Issues

My sons' friend recently got a job as a dishwasher at a local seafood restaurant. A urine test was required. And thank the good lords of law for that!!! Can you imagine if she were a drug user???!!! I mean, think of all the things she could have screwed up that would directly affected us, the consumers of fish and chips? She could have:

  • burned her finger while lighting up, causing her to feel pain when washing in hot water. That would justifiably have caused her to use cold water when rinsing dirty plates. In turn, the plates could have bacteria lurking, unkilled and unharmed, by the normally hot water that is used. The next time I went in for fresh salmon, I could have been killed by salmonella!
  • been on heroin while using the automatic washer, put in too much soap, and then had bubbles falling onto the kitchen floor. The slippery, bubbly floor could have caused another employee to trip and crack open his head. This employee would have to be carted away via ambulance to the ER. This would cause two more issues: 1. The expense of this whole ordeal will cost the insurance company oodles of money, eventually raising every ones rates. 2. My meal would take longer to get to me with all of the hullabaloo that will be going on.
  • taken crystal meth and be imagining that there are bugs crawling on her skin. She would want to get the tweezers from the first aid kit to rip out the imaginary bugs. When the owners of the restaurant see her plucking at her skin for something that does not exist, they would call the insane asylum. The meth'ed out dishwasher would be carted away in a straight jacket. The above two issues come into play here. The only benefit to this occurrence, could be if there is a writer at the restaurant. Because that scenario would make a great short story.
So now that we are on the same page as to at least three of the common problems with dishwashers who take drugs, we can get on to the even bigger risk going on here.

Book writers are self-employed. Yes, you know what I mean. We do NOT take drug tests!!! If the Dishwasher Druggie epidemic that is sweeping the U.S. is bad, think about the not-talked-about problems of Writer Users. They are infiltrating the fabric of the social network of our country. There are twenty-six letters in the English language. That gives every writer utilizing English twenty-six chances a day to screw up our citizens. Just imagine the possibilities of damage that could be done:

  • pot writers could be so mellowed out, that they use incorrect grammar and bad spelling. A whole nation of people reading and believing that Mississippi only needs two S's!
  • Cocaine addicts could be so hyper, they write tiny blurbs about hundreds of subjects. Think we have a problem with ADD kids now? Wait until they start reading the low attention span prattling of Coke Heads.
  • hallucinating mushroom-eating writers could experience what they believe are out of body experiences...and then write about it. How will we know what is true to life anymore? Us innocent readers would believe what they write, when it is actually just a bunch of phooey that was brought on by a drug induced state. Our nation will be swarming with people not knowing who to trust or what to believe in any more.
The list of issues with Druggie Writers is simply a Pandora's box that is unlimited with world-destructive problems. I am just getting too depressed to dwell on it any longer.

All I can do, is my part to save the World: I stay away from drugs. It may make me a geek in the world of Druggie Writers, but I am determined to do my part in being a part of the solution, not the problem.

You are welcome.

Heather Leigh,
sober author

Friday, June 5, 2015

Smiling, Happy, Disgusting

Since moving, I have been afflicted with friendly neighbors, cute baby goats and piglets, and organic fresh eggs. This whole pacific northwest, small town thing has gone overboard. If I am not accosted with happy smiling people out walking their dog, then it is the kids outside playing basketball in the street in their ultra safe neighborhood. It is sickening, people. I can't even get to the co-op organic farm behind our house to pet the newest goats, without some lawn mowing neighbor waving hello. Or another dog walker greeting me and admiring our australian shepherd. How am I supposed to live like this?

 I am living in Mr. Roger's neighborhood.

The only salvation I have is my teenage sons. They keep me sane.

Last night they sent a prevention to my being overly happy. Turning back the bed covers, ready to read 'The Last Enchantments by Charles Finch' (loving it!) there was a loud, vibrant, third degree EEEEEHHHHHH!!!  scream coming from me.

My eldest had hidden a plastic cockroach in my bed. My worst fear, and best at bringing out my loudest exclamations.

Now you might be thinking this was cruel of him. Actually, the blame goes with both of those boys. His brother knew about it and did nothing to warn me. That makes him an accomplice in the eyes of the law, and his mother. Back to the story: the boy was pitching forth his best effort to keep my real world sense of humor alive. If that is not love, then I don't know what is.

The list of shameful enjoyments in this area extends to our backyard. We have two fir trees with swallows, red robins, ravens, sparrows, doves, and who knows what other kind of nasty cute creature is flying around out there. All they do is chirp, sing, and look arrestingly gorgeous. How am I supposed to work here? All I want to do is bird watch in my own backyard.

Again, the eldest has come to the rescue. He hung up a bird feeder right outside the dining room window. What the bigger birds don't want, they spill over the sides, onto the ground. The little birds are in a blissful state as they eat the ground seed.

It is in the perfect location, great for us to watch the eating frenzy, and right outside the garage door.  The garage door that our excellent hunter cat can also watch the tiny prey. She will soon be putting an end to those pesky flyers.

Oh, I'm just kidding. Don't get all weird on me. First time that cat kills a bird, she will be wearing a collar with a bell. I'm not that bad.

Anyway, I have to get going. The movable chicken pen from the farm has just been moved to directly behind our fence. I feel the need to watch some hens.

Heather Leigh
cluck, cluck, cluck!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Sheep, Alpacas and Dogs

There is a website called Only In Humboldt that is so true to life here it is scary. Now that we are back living behind the Redwood Curtain (named because we are surrounded by redwood forests), it has been great fun to remember why this place is eccentric, crazy, and unique.

Today, I was driving home after dropping off my son at his 'hippy school' when confronted with a man out walking his sheep. Not herding sheep, mind you, but an older, sane-looking man with a single sheep strolling down the middle of the lane. But don't worry, his pet was leashed.

One of our favorites from a couple of years ago were the hippies who owned two alpacas. The animals lived in their yard in the middle of town. They were also leashed, for their daily walks through the town plaza. Of course, the home of the humans was painted pink with rainbow colored signs of peace, love and happiness painted in huge letters all along the outside of the house.

I guess the owners were full of love for those alpacas. When the humans moved, they left the alpacas behind, free to fend for themselves. Who knew that alpacas were so independent? Anyway, the hippies were ultra-loving. When an animal rescue organization came and took the pets to their center, the previous owners were 'happy that the alpacas found a good home'. That is so sweet, just makes me want to cry.

We see loads of hitchhikers here. Most of them on the freeway, thumbs out, hitching off the highway shoulder. We are quite curious as to who stops on a freeway to pick them up, risking a car accident and ticket from the police. But we assume one must because they keep trying for rides.

We especially like when we see those hitchers have their dogs walking with them. Most have leashes, so safely is never a concern.

My favorite in this subject was the young man I saw recently who gave up hitching and was bicycle riding on the side of the highway. That's a lot easier on his feet. I'm sure the dog he was carrying in his arm was also enjoying the ride. I wonder if that dog was leashed?

Well, I am off to walk our dog. Unfortunately, we don't live close enough to the freeway for a little jaunt along the sides of the busy highway. Hmmm, maybe tomorrow I'll drive to the sixty-five mile an hour road to walk Sydney. Sounds much more exciting than a neighborhood walk.

Heather Leigh,
Boring, safe, dog walker

Monday, May 25, 2015

Fertilized Tree and Attic Birds

There is a maple tree on just about every front lawn in our new neighborhood. And guess which house has the energy swag to concoct the greatest amount of fresh leaves on their tree? Yah, you right. It's our house.

Our tree, our house, our front yard, has the tree with at least twice as many Spring leaves as all the other maples. Do you think the other trees are peanut butter and jelly jealous? Oh, you know they so are. And, of course, being the spiritually healthy, loving family that we are, we decided that it was because the place that we chose to make our home was naturally the highest spiritually active vibrational yard in the 'hood.

Cause we is bad ass.

And then we was not so bad ass.

Last week, the plumbing in the house was going awry. The plumber got out his drain cleaning snake thing they use, and pulled out a huge wad of tree roots. There were maple tree roots in the pipes.

Turns out, our sneaky, greedy, deceptive, gorgeous tree had infiltrated the underground pipes in the front yard. Our high-frequency, spiritual love tree was sucking up toilet water to self-fertilize. Turning poop into leaves.

So where does that leave us? Eating a good helping of spiritual humble pie.

The next shock to my system came from dear old Dad. There are four door knob sized holes on the front and back outside walls of the house, just below the eaves. Perfect size, location, and shape for our fellow birds to lay nests in. Which, those little birdies have done.

As they are perfectly formed and sized for swallows, I assumed that some previous owner was such a bird lover, that they carved these holes specifically for the baby birds and their mommas and poppas. Aww, isn't it grand and lovely when humans are so sweet, generous and kind like that? I was in love with a past owner whom I will never meet. Eternally grateful for the kind sentient being that so loved his/her fellow creature that bird nests were provided right into the structure of this place.


But then Dad had to be the spoiler. Turns out, those holes are there to air out the attic. And it gets worse. Mean, old, nasty screens should be installed over those ventilation areas to KEEP BIRDS OUT!
Can you believe the atrocity of human kind? The distorted, appalling, wicked notions of home builders? Just breaks my heart thinking about it.

But, I figure, to heck with the way things should be. I spent the better part of the morning watching a momma and pappa bird bringing wiggling worms to the open mouths of their babes. From my vantage point of the open sliding glass door, I could easily see four baby birds, mouths wide open, awaiting delivery of their morning meal. It was like the cutest thing EVER!

So there, home builders! Your desire to ventilate brought more than simple clearing of dank, smelly air from the attic. It brought me an entire morning of connecting with nature.

So maybe I am not so spiritually incorrect after all.

Heather Leigh

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Snorting Goats

Hello, my name is Heather Leigh, and I am an addict.

Okay, so I'm not making fun of the whole AA thing. Nothing cruel like that. But, what if the deep, ingrained desire to write was treated like an addiction? I mean, think about it. All the signs are there:
* Stories call out to me to be written
        --like the sirens from Homer's Odyssey--except that my sirens are elephants and leprechauns)
* I wake at night with plot ideas that won't let me sleep until they are written down
        --like all-nighters for barflies
* Smuggled in my purse is a writer's notebook, for quotes by friends and family
        --like a flask in a flasher's trench coat
* When in the writer's zone, I can't hear you
        --like an acid tripper dancing at a Rave Party

And what about my family and friends? If I'm in this deep, why have they not done an Intervention? It's because writing is socially acceptable. If they only knew that it really is just another form of madness, writers would be in straight jackets, unable to use pens or computers. Thank the God of Socially Accepted Addictions that normal people don't know the truth.

Okay, so this subject is completely different than the above stuff. But, how do goats walk in straight lines? Have you ever noticed their eye placement? They are seeing everything from how we see peripherally. It would be like trying to see your ears as you walk. Could you do it? I barely can. Does that mean goats are smarter than humans, or that they are more coordinated?

WARNING: Don't pretend to see like a goat while driving. Many good people have been killed by Goat Driving.

Okay, just one more completely different subject. What is it that makes parents want to bond with other parents by putting down their kids? If I had a quarter for every time a teacher strongly insinuated that my kid had some unique trait that was inexcusably horrid, I would have at least ten dollars by now. Maybe eleven. But the funny thing is, once I question the teacher as to what happened, turns out it was a bad day, a one-time thing, or a misunderstanding. And parents of teenagers? They are often worse than their kids--eye rolling and everything--about how 'teens are'. It's like us adults are all in on some anti-offspring cult. When I say I like my kids, and they aren't so bad, suddenly those adults agree with me. Weird, huh?

In order to wrap up this blog and bring the beginning into the ending, I'll go back to the first subject. Pretty smart, huh? I'm what's called a functioning writer.

There are many of us writers who carry around the Writer's Journal. BEWARE! It can be quite annoying to be stopped mid-conversation to have your witty, bittersweet, or clever saying written down. You are allowed to let the writer know before the chatting begins that you will not stand for interruptions. Kind of like telling a cocaine user to not snort at the kitchen table.

Heather Leigh,
writer addict with poor goat coordination

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Questions, Taunting, and Haunting

STOP! Before you go further in this read, google the microscopic water bear. Then come back.  I'll wait for you.

Chop, chop, pork chop, clocks a ticking.

Okay, now that you have seen the little sucker, are you with me on thinking this is one of the most bizarre things on earth. It has little hands, people! Besides food, what does it use those hands for? Does it pull it's mate in for spoon cuddling in the middle of the night? Does it wipe its mouth with a napkin after sloppy taco night? Sip lattes or hot cocoa? Does it care if its' gluten laden bread is non-GMO?

These are the important questions scientists should be asking.

Other important questions:
When you walk down a dirt road that has recently been laden with rocks to keep down the dust and mud, how many footprints are needed to smooth out that road? Where is the research on this?

Every Spring, I notice that the fir trees have neon green tips at the end of the branches. Is this from new growth that has not yet turned the dark, sullen green of the rest of the fir needles? Or do forest elves paint them as some kind of festival event?

Why are japanese maples pink, red and burgundy? Who gave them the go ahead to be a totally different color than the other trees? Was it some kind of favoritism by the Tree Goddess? Or did they win a tree coloring lottery when colors were being handed out at the beginning of the Age of Trees?

What does Ellie do in the next chapter of the latest Scout and Ellie book I'm writing? The circus is about to start, she and Scout are going to be performing a new act, I have to write about it, and she still
has not told me what happens. I mean, sure, she's given clues. But not the whole act. All I can say is, she had better do a darn good job of showing me what is happening, because I certainly don't have a clue. Elephants can sure be secretive and tricky to deal with. Am I right here, or what?

Why does warm apple cider taste even better when I'm writing?

Where are the people who are supposed to be giving me the answers to these questions that haunt me. Are they taunting me with their secret knowledge? Laughing behind my back?

Maybe I can get back at them by just not asking questions anymore. That would show those little secret  keepers. No, that wouldn't work. If I don't ask my questions, my mind will explode.

Or implode. Now which one is it?

Heather Leigh,
Tormented soul forever seeking answers to unanswerable questions.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Second Description of First Person

Okay, so in my last post, I let you know the joy, the thrill, the bliss obtained from switching a story (Scout and Ellie) from third to first person. And, while I know you were all excited as my cat used to be catching songbirds before I put bells on her collar and ruined her fun, I thought that perhaps I did not describe why the change was so fun.

Because I am able to get inside Scout's head. Got to wedge my way in there, 'Scout' around so to speak. The dialogue is now from the boy. That means, no holding back, no wondering what comes next or what he could possibly be thinking. No, I am in that mind of his just listening and typing away what I hear.

Ever see that movie, 'Inside John Malkovich'? These elderly people find a way to live forever inside of John's brain. They will never die. Kind of weird for John, but whatever. I think they find a way to compensate him. Anyway, these people get to hang out for the ride and watch life through someone else's eyes for as long as he lives. Cool, huh?

So, I get to do this with Scout. But the extra cool thing is that if he does something I don't want to, then I can give the big Presidential veto and change the direction of the story. Right in mid-sentence. Snap, snap, snap.

And for you non-writers, you, let me tell you that most of writing feels like you are a fly on the wall, watching what is happening in the story, rather then making it up on my own. At least, when I am in the flow of the story it happens that way for me. Can't speak for others.

Which, by the way, is why I have a difficult time hearing people around me when I am in the middle of writing. It's because I am not here anymore. I am visiting imaginary people.

Hmmm, somehow that sounds like I have split personality disorder. Maybe, but I'm pretty sure I don't.

So, I get to experience life as a ten year old with an elephant living in his backyard. They do crazy, fun, wild and sometimes a bit mean stuff. They do things, have parties, go places--and I get to do all of this in the comfort of Scout's brain. I get to live two lives at once!

Now are you getting the emotions I'm getting here? Living two lives at once. Wow.

I'm totally thinking that Scout should go on vacation, perhaps a cruise to Hawaii. Mmm, I can feel that tropical sun beating down on me right now.

Heather Leigh
(aka the passenger in Scout's brain)

Friday, April 3, 2015

First Person Woo Hoo!

Woo Hoo! Oh, the thrill of changing text from third person narrative to first person is simply indescribable fun! Am I right, or what? Oh, wait, not every one who read this is a writer. Some people may think this is a boring, dull, no-big-deal thing do be Woo Hooing about.

But you are so wrong.

I mean, what could be more fun than completely re-writing a hundred page, middle-grade humor story so that the narrative comes from the kid? No weird, bizarre background voice telling you what is going on. This is from the source talking, people. Oh, don't you understand the thrill that I am talking about here?

It's like right up there with the time the son of Evil Kinevil rode his bike across the Grand Canyon!  Yeah, like that. If you don't believe me, than go buy it on Amazon. The book is called 'Scout and Ellie' with a picture of Scout and Ellie, the elephant, having a tea party in her front yard. I just now got it all posted up proper like on Amazon--available in Kindle and paperback format.

So am I manipulating this blog into a way to sell my new story? You betcha. Cause it is way more than good enough for me to feel 100% comfortable in doing so. It's like that.

What other things are this good in life, you ask? What else do people woo hoo about? Here is a partial list:

Calling Obama and telling him his refrigerator is running and he had better go catch it.
Finding 23 cents in the dryer--it really doesn't matter the amount, I just love when I get paid to do my own laundry.
Good hair days on date night and then having the wind destroy your look. Sometimes, you just have to laugh.

I'll have to think of more good things in life later. My son is home sick and I need to get videos to him. Oh, so I guess when he is feeling better, that will be something to Woo Hoo about.

"Scout and Ellie, The Birthday Party" Check it out. It really is a woo-hoo good one for 7-9 year olds!

Heather Leigh

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Doesn't Suck

When I told my son that the new version of "Scout and Ellie" just might be funny, he told me I was pushing it. Well, I replied to my dry humor eldest child, what about if I declared it didn't suck? We deliberated. Saying it was great was vain and vulgar. Good, that's all according to opinion. Humor? Gracious me, that is way over the top in assumptions.

So we settled on 'it doesn't suck'.

I feel totally confident in that review of the new version.

And, I can tell by the edge of your seat stance you are taking, that you are wondering, dying to know, and heavy with anticipation what a new version of the boy and his elephant series is all about. I'll let you dedicated fans in on the fun of being me. Okay, here it is:

The old version used third person narrative. New version is first person talking/thinking.

Yep, there it is. The whole enchilada. Are you okay? Don't forget to breathe (if you don't breathe, you will die--I guarantee it).

Now I am going to bypass eldest child's warnings and say this: it is way more funny than the original!!! I was able to get into the character's head and talk and think and act like a ten year old boy!!! What could be more fun than that? It opened up the sky of humor writing possibilities like the first day of National November Write a Novel In a Month day (google their site for more info on that fiasco: NaNoWriNo). It was so danged much fun to write, I feel elephant giggles surfacing on my tongue at this very moment.

Hmmm, now you have me thinking about what else does not suck in this world:

  • my teenaged sons now argue without trying to kill one another--must be a sign of maturity
  • the sun has consistently risen every morning since I was born
  • Paul Newman now makes gluten and dairy free cookies just for my sensitive constitution--I don't even know him and he is that considerate!
  • down the street from our new house there are piglets for us to watch as they grow and not have to own one--cuteness boiled over three thousand times!
  • that no one in the world knows that I listen to Classical music in my car--wouldn't want anyone to know I am a true geek
  • my cats let me pet them
  • my dog  still thinks she has to protect me, even though she is 14 and can barely make it up stairs
  • okay, here comes the gushy one: I have friends who love me. Okay, I said it, no need to dwell on sentimental subjects
  • my parents are alive and healthy, and I like them. Even my grandmother is alive! And she could out-dance me at any moment
  • I have the most awesome aunt in the Universe. Don't be jelly, someone had to get her. Just happened to be the lucky one. 
  • Extended family is funny, supportive, great to be around, and a joy to be a part of. Don't make me name names--you know who you are.

There are more doesn't suck bullets to add, but the time has come to pick up the younger son.

Did I mention my winning the lottery two times by having two such wonderful kids?

Heather Leigh
proud author of books that don't suck