Friday, December 23, 2016

Universal Animal Questions

There are two main universal questions about animals, neither of which will likely ever be completely answered:
First Question Are the tree frogs in our front yard croaking solo or in harmony?
     Solo Argument: There can be only one frog singing at a time. Each with his unique and lively, yet throaty voice. A rhythm that surges out from his soul and speaks to the heart of his listeners. Frog worlds do not include back-up singers. Each frog has his daily fifteen minutes of fame.

Of course, there is an orchestrator. A Froggy Director who ensures that there is no pause between the fifteen minute performances. She points her grass blade wand to the next Croaker right on cue, every time. Frogs are in flow with the bliss of the moment. There has never been a mistake made on timing, in the history of frogs. It is a beautiful thing.

     Harmony Argument: Darwin taught us that evolution has brought us a race of Super Singers who are able to croak in unison. Anyone who cannot detect that the noises collected are several at once, do not deserve their own listening skill. After millions of generations of green creatures practicing their talents every morning, harmonizing has become tadpole play.

From the first time that tadpoles wag their tails, they are a part of the rhythm of their heritage. Her body rolls instantaneously along with the Great Vibration of Froggydom. At the moment that the throat is put together within the growing animal, and croaking has been made possible, the tadpole takes her place among her 'peeps'. What is a Mystery to us humans, is a reality to the frogs. It is really that simple.

Second Question Which dog is moving our couch to the middle of the room every day while we are gone?
     Recently, we lost our much beloved Australian Shepherd, Sydney. She was the last dog that I will ever have as a companion.

--Oh, excuse me. I was interrupted by our two puppies. They came for a quick chat. Daisy, weighing in at eighty-five pounds is a St. Bermastiff, half St. Bernard and the rest Bull Mastiff. Morris at a full sixteen pounds, including that white, curly, fluffy fur, is a mixture of Maltese and Mutt.

Favorite game for rain, mud, puddle season? Chase-Around-The-Backyard-Perimeter. The goals include:
hitting maximum mud, being the first through the doggy door, spreading dirt all over the house.
Taking turns in the chasing is a must in the quest for fair play and sportsdogship.

The end of each Round is accomplished in a leap to the sofa, pushing with all of that canine might.

So the question remains: Is it Daisy or Morris who is pushing the furniture around like a bag of dog treats? We don't even have an argument as to which one it could be. A complete and total mystery on all accounts. Maybe a professional movie camera would be able to record the details of their leaps, and we could analyze the video and figure it out. Until then, we are stumped.

Oh well, at least we are entertained.

So this holiday season, please think of the universal animal questions. Perhaps you will come to a conclusion and answer the unanswerable.

Happy Holidays!

Heather Leigh,
Human Amongst Animal Attitudes

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Ravens On AODD

I have AODD. Whew, now that I have admitted my failing, I am feeling so much better. Relief off the old burden box shoulders.

Oh, now you need me to explain to you what my previously hidden issue is. Attention Over Drive Disorder: there are too many story possibilities to possibly stay focused. On anything.

For example, what the zumba dance teacher was doing this morning. How was I supposed to follow along with anything? I was being bombarded with how to write a funny blog about being consistently one half a step behind every one else in the class.

That kids book about the mini person and the raven that I wrote? Well, that came through at a traffic light. That world famous one--the left turn signal that we parents ran smack against Monday through Friday  mornings at the charter school. It gave ample time for reflection with a light that let about five cars go through every five minutes. Hmmm. I still remember those fun mornings.

Anyhow, there were pepper trees along the sidewalk. Now most people would have been spending their time doing something productive, like slurping coffee or screaming at the kids to be quiet. But the AODD afflicted are stuck with forcing these events into a story.

I could barely pay attention when it came my turn to inch forward. There were too many things to think about: designing a home for Piper, her personality, what mini people living on a Pepper Tree would eat, and whether or not she would be eaten by the raven.

How could I be expected to drive? Pay attention to the road? Hah, that is for those medicated people who can manage a normal thought. And writers have yet to be drugged up by pharmaceutical companies for our disease. Our issues have not even been addressed by the medical establishment. Probably because they are afraid we would write something silly about them in our next blog. Which is most likely accurate.

Back to zumba. Whoever thought up a cardio workout in which you actually have to pay attention? That dancer dumb-dumb probably could not even write a complete paragraph. Let alone an entire story.

Now, I am not just saying this so that I feel okay with myself for not being able to keep up in a gym class. This is all scientific, easy-to-prove fact. If it were not for my writing induced brain, I would be Queen of the Zumba World. So true.

I could do more scientific research, but our puppy just trotted in. That curly furred cutie is dripping with story what is it like to wear a fur coat 24/7? Why do they like humans to such an irrational level? What would happen if dogs could suddenly see in color?

Can't write anymore. Too much crowding into my brain to focus. Dang puppy.

Heather Leigh,
First Person To Come Out About Her AODD

Thursday, November 24, 2016

A Smidge of Thankful Things

These past three months have been crazy, wacky busy for me. The result = an overly tired woman writer. That is the excuse I am giving myself. Because last night, as I dream walked/shuffled my way into the bathroom to take care of business, I tripped over a non-existent bump in the ultra smooth linoleum floor, or was attacked by an invisible fairy, or was taken down by a ghost dog. After landing in the bathtub, I came to the realization that...

I am thankful for the shower curtain that broke my fall.

Living in the Pacific Northwest, rainy nights are a part of the package of living in a plush, green, grand scenery. Rain = grass and super tall trees and flowers and moss. Even the ten minute ride to work is like traveling in a gorgeous landscape calendar. And so, the night before the shower curtain incident, it came as a revelation that...

I am thankful for that eighty-five pound puppy who wanted to snuggle on my belly, to let me know that thunder storms are quite scary, indeed (and the other fifteen pound puppy, but his cuddles are not quite so breath-taking).

Living in front of a farm, with a continual change in unseen pollens and dust in the air, I am apt to sneeze. I get attacked by my nose much more than the dull, dirty, smoggy air of big city San Diego, where we are from. And my sneeze volume was inherited from Grandpa Chuck. They can be heard several aisles away in the grocery store, or so I have been told by my sons. The last time I was shaken by the sneeze of earful doom, I inherently knew that...

I am thankful for tissues, so that I don't smear others in my sneezing pollen sensitivities.

Having lived in the jungles of far away Costa Rica, I never recuperated from the mind melting heat that takes you to a new high in the splendidness of sweat. Although that level of hotness is more than any sane human should suffer through, it is one that my skin at least partially grew to accept. At least enough to render me helpless in these frigid foggy mornings. They push to make me jump out in joy, if my body were not feeling constantly under attack from hypothermia, with the knowledge that...

I am thankful for the dozens of sweaters, jackets, and coats, one thick robe, and fleece leggings that are always ready to accept me in the closet.

In reflecting on the vast void of boredom that my life could have been, I wonder how I ever got to have such a full one. It could have been nothing but dreary office work, drumming my fingers on a table at every meal, and perfecting my naturally intensely beautiful face and hair that always looks great (if I am going to dream about what ifs, might as well throw that last fantasy in the pile). But then I hear the native call of, "Hey, Mom," and I am shaken to the core with the epiphany that...

I am thankful for my sons. And what else can I say about that?

Heather Leigh
Author forever thankful for Readers who are charmed with my writing

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

House Ruined In Puppy Play

We did it. Yes, we are incorrigible, unruly, and horribly stupid. We adopted yet another puppy from the Humane Shelter.  Morris is sixteen pounds of white fluff, part Maltese, and sixteen tons of energy. With our other one year old, Daisy, there are now two Tasmanian Devils living in our house.

Wait, is living in our house the correct term for our present circumstances? Seems to me that playing, chasing, wrestling and howling in delight are more correct descriptions. They both get into that infamous Down Dog yoga position, shake that booty and fling into Mexican style wrestling matches. Best entertainment since Reality TV shows.

So far, Morris has displayed only one major fault. Although both are neutered or spay, as appropriate to their gender, the new mongrel was wholly unaware that the action of humping another canine was fruitless. Plus, it rather annoyed Daisy. Having never been such accosted, she did not know that she should report unwanted advances immediately. The poor babe looked to us in confusion.

After a single day of firm reprimands, Morris has given up on his propagating urges. Good thing. Because us humans are uncomfortable watching a dog attempting to dry hump a leg.

A leg is all that Morris could get to, anyway. Daisy is eighty-five pounds of St. Bermastiff--half St. Bernard and the rest Bull Mastiff. So the little guy is not going to get too far with those kinds of heights.

At the third day in an actual home, he has pretty much adjusted to his new situation. But he does still seem a bit confused and discombobulated. He looks as though he is not one hundred percent as to his new role in life. By the end of the week, I prophesize that he will be completely aware of our expectations: don't pee, chew or in any way destroy the sofa; stay away from my slippers (oh, wait! Daisy chewed those last week, so this is no longer an issue); be ready to snuggle when I am.

I really want to talk with him. You know, the usual small talk that we make with new roommates. This just doesn't word in Doglish--I just don't speak it.

I would ask what was it like, traveling in a tiny cage from a shelter in Monterrey to a Humane Society hours and hours north. Did he have an inner peace, knowing for certain that better times lie ahead? That he was destined to live with a family smitten with their pets? One that could spend hours gabbing away at how unbelievably cute you are? Four people vying for a chance to pet you? A playmate with your energy and zest for life?

Or did you howl away the vast uncertainty and despair that was most certainly dwelling within the hearts of your other homeless companions? Did you cave into depression, anxiety, fear of unknown tomorrows?

The other thing I would really like to know is all about his pre-pound puppy life. He was a stray. There is no information on him beyond his obvious adorableness. Was he abandoned, abused, led astray by some deceitful bitch with big brown eyes and a luxurious tail? Never can tell about these things.

Guess we'll never know about his life before last Saturday. The only thing certain with this pup is that he is our forever dog. We love you, Morris and Daisy!

Heather Leigh,
Two Timed Puppy Lover

Monday, November 7, 2016

App Voting

There are too many decisions for me to make tomorrow. What book should I write, who do I vote for, what do I wear to work, eggs or Tofurkey sausages for lunch, what new hair style will best display my inner and outer beauty, and should I make a salad with dinner. Hold on a minute, my mind is about to explode with the inner stresses of over work. I have to put on a special cap to prevent this.

At least there is something that I do know that I want: A phone app that will show me the outcome of every possible choice that I can think of. Do you know where I could get one?

As I await the app, here is my well thought out, workable plan: at each choice juncture, I will fall to my knees and pray for guidance. Perhaps flinging myself to the ground and screaming would actually be better. Hope they don't drag me out of the voting booth. But then again, I probably won't be the only one begging for Divine Guidance at the polls tomorrow. It may be a noisy day.

Since we are on the subject of apps, I have a BIG SECRET to reveal. I have never used one. I really am not even sure what they are. Yes, I know I am part dinosaur in this regard. But NO, I have not been living in a cave. So it must be the fault of my teenage sons. While they are ever helpful in still having to help me navigate my way through my Smart Phone, I feel that asking to be taught about apps would push them over the edge in teaching-mother-another-techno-thing. I love them too much to see their powers put to the test to such an extent.

At least I know how to type and use the computer enough to post these ever witty, overly entertaining posts. I can even attach them to FaceBook! Woo Hoo! There may be hope for me, even yet.

Back to beginning, I am supposed to ask if you have a PLAN for voting. Do you? Even if you are wringing your hands in despair with the presented choices, you still have to show up and vote. It's an obligation you make when you sign up to be born in the United States. Death, Taxes and Voting, it's all the same.

My plan is this: tonight, with a glass of comforting wine and bunny slippers, I will finish going through the pros and cons of each Proposition, and deciding on who will run governmental affairs. Popcorn will most likely be present as I am an addict. Tomorrow after my nutritious daily smoothie, I will crawl my way to the Booth of Voting Angst. Climbing up to face the Voter Facilitators, I will humbly snatch a ballot, like a mouse clutching to a morsel of possibly poisonous cheese. Drooling, trudging, sludging my way, I will gather the strength to make it to a booth. There, Divine Intervention will surely show me who to make our next President. It WILL happen, people.

Then, I will be off to work. Probably best to keep busy so as not to spend the day in mortal worry about results. I mean, there are still three months left until the new President takes over. Plenty of time to buy an island in the South Pacific and learn how to live off of pineapple and coconuts.

Maybe there I will have the time to learn how to use an app.

Heather Leigh,
Obligated Voter Against Apps

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Swimming With Swine

I've been searching the internet to discover who said that the artist needs to be in the ocean, just past the spot where his/her feet touch the sand. It is from this uncomfortable zone that creativity seeps in. The words are written from my memory--nothing is exact. Pretty sure it was David Bowie. It certainly was how he lived his ever-changing career life.

In starting my first adult  novel, I am way past the place where my feet touch the sand. Waves of not-knowing-what-the-fudge I am doing are knocking me around like a rubber duckie in a tsunami wave. If first drafts are supposed to be shit (Hemingway) then at least I know I got that part right.

Where is the light at the end of the tunnel? Where is the rope to pull me out of the well? Why can't I quit relying on cliches in this post today? Must be because my brain has been mushed out by feeble, puny attempts to claw at something new.

Desperate, starved for clarity, Daisy and I went for a dog walk to the farm behind our house. Noisy Pig grunted out her daily writing advise. She said to feed her some freshly pulled weeds, and inspiration would be mine.

She lied.

On the three house walk from the farm to our home, Daisy ran after a dog. Although she has a firm self image of herself as a lap dog, the truth is that she weighs eighty pounds. The other dog saw the reality of Daisy's true bulk hurdling towards him.

It took three hollers to get that dog to return to me. Now she is back to Gentle Lead harness to get us the extreme short distance to the leash free zone.

She must have been affected by my desire to reach beyond the comfort zone of doing what she generally does: being a good dog. She must have read that bumper sticker, Well Behaved Women Rarely Make History. Oh, Daisy. If this truly was a 'Dog Eat Dog' world, you would not be in the dog house for bad behavior.

So now that the pig is not being my muse, and Daisy is recovering from her consequences (being firmly told she was a bad dog), who do I turn to in order to get me out of this muck of insipid writing that has spilled across this first novel of mine? David Bowie is gone, Noisy Pig only grunts greedy nonsense, and Daisy is misbehaving. Is there no hope for a well-written novel by one as deserving as I? Is there a Goddess of Words I can pray to?

Guess I'll body surf my way back to shore and swim at it again tomorrow. I'll keep my mouth shut, lest the saltwater gag me.

Heather Leigh,
Misbehaving Body Surfer

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Greedy Elephant Rice

What happens when you cook long grain brown rice with short grain? Well, since you are gasping out the desire to know, I'll tell you. You get a mixture of rice sizes with no taste difference. This was a huge dilemma last night. We had half cup of long left in the cupboard, and a big bag of the puny pieced ones. I had to take the risk--I was craving rice!!! In my effort to keep you away from this stressful situation in the future, thought I should let you know the results. Feel better now? Stress free? Good, my work here is done.

Another stressful situation to save you from: Ever bought a Greeting Card that was just so splendiferous that you had to buy it--even though there was no one to give it to at the time? Happened to me last week. Well, after deliberating for close to forty-one minutes on whether or not to buy the one dollar card, I decided to throw my buck away at the checkout counter and take that card home. Next morning, amongst anguish and hair pulling, searching and despairing, I realized there was no one I really wanted to send it to. Solution? In a moment of complete GREED, I grasped at the situation and kept the card for myself.

Yes, just like that. Poof! That card is now mine. Bet you had no idea how ruthless and ego driven I can be.

Presently, I am eking out the rough draft of my seventh Scout and Ellie book. It has thus far been sluggish, grueling, and exhausting keeping up with my rule of a chapter a day. I am forced to admit that yesterday, I was horribly bad in only writing one-half of my goal.

But here's the thing, see. Those greedy characters have not been divulging what comes next. They are cruelly, utterly taunting me. While I have the basic premise of what is going on overall, they are withholding the details. What did I do to those kids and elephant? Where did I go wrong? Did I commit a social faux pas that only elephants are aware of? They can be so much more aware of proper etiquette and kind treatment to others than I can ever hope to achieve.

I'll try again tonight. Perhaps if I am very quiet, a spider waiting on a web for plot, then I can listen in on what they are up to with out their knowledge. Takes planning, patience and camouflage on my end, but I have gained success with this tactic before.

BUT PLEASE! Don't warn the elephant of my spying ways. You know Ellie's temper. It will not be a pretty pumpkin night if I am caught.

And anyway, you owe me. I did give you two solutions to stressful situations. Two common situations.

Well, I must be running off. It's time for the nightly stress called: Whats-For-Dinner-Mother?

You'd think after nineteen years of kids in the house, I would have calmed down from this nightly anxiety. But then, it is a big hurdle to stride over.

Heather Leigh,
Solution Giving, Spying Writer

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Bird Brain Storm

How does the Weather Service know what time our rain will stop? They predicted a 3:30 downpour cease. Well, holy moly, guess what happened at 3:30 p.m.? Not at 3:29, nor 3:31, but on the button, exact-a-mundo, stop time. Literally. As the second hand clicked into place, raindrops vanished from the sky. I believe the ones out of my eyesight were sucked back into the towering, thick, dark gray, stalking clouds. Storm lunacy.

The resistant leaves on our front yard maple are cautiously at rest. Rather than the cruel force of the impassioned winds that have been knocking them around for two days, they are at a breezy, well-deserved peace. Those are tough little buggers that are still clinging to the branches. Should I reward them with maple syrup for their strength and fortitude? Although, I am not quite sure how to do that. Perhaps I could dip each one in a cup of syrup. Hmmm.

Neighbor kids brought out a foot-high toy sailboat and took full advantage of the wind and huge puddles. Silly kids. Although they pretended to have fun in a storm, us grown-ups know better. The only way to enjoy a wet, blustery day is to sip hot cocoa in a warm house and talk about how lovely rain is. We know better than to actually participate in the elements of nature. Ah well, someday they will have our wisdom.

There was an article once about computer storm people. They could not get the computer to figure out how birds land on a tree branch in windy weather. That means, that the people who are so smart that they can predict the EXACT time that rain will disappear, are not as sophisticated as a bird. Hope has been restored to my intelligence. If they are plagued with smarts, smaller than a bird brain, then there is a chance for a writer to have at least a portion of a nugget of cerebral knowledge. Whew, that feels good. I am off the hook of complete stupidity. Perhaps, maybe, you are too!

Now that we know that we are in with the smart crowd, what could we do in the world? I'm thinking, that after I dip each surviving maple leaf into a bowl of syrup, that I will take on world peace, provide food, clothing and shelter to every human, and stop climate change. Shouldn't take me more than a day or two. Of course, I will wait until this storm has totally passed. Wouldn't want to risk getting cold.

Thank you for joining me in our new Smaller Than a Birdbrain Smarts Revolution. I look forward to seeing what you come up with to make the world into a perfect place. One request for a volunteer to undertake is to get rid of cold weather. I am very much opposed to chill, but have yet to come up with an idea that does not destroy the earth. It has to be an eco-friendly solution. Good luck, and may the force of your smaller than a bird brain be with you.

Together, we will take on the ills of humanity!

Heather Leigh,
Warm, Snug, Smaller-Than-A-Birdbrain, Storm Watching Author

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Catastrophic Cleaning Crises

There are some serious problems simmering in my household. An explosion of epic proportions is due any moment. I don't even know where to hide, for the inevitable meltdown of my psyche and home.

First issue: After having posted an urgent plea on FaceBook, not one of my friends came to my rescue. My simple request? I was in desperate need of a legitimate excuse to not have to clean my bathroom. Oh, sure, everyone agreed with me on the horrid chore that it is. But no one offered a way to squirm out of it.

Some one out there could have broken into my car, started our house on fire, found a way to start a tsunami and made us have to evacuate, left a piglet crying on my doorstep in need of a good rub down. Nothing. It's not like they have to clean their own bathrooms, or something. They probably all have a cleaning service to do all household chores for them. Because I know that I am the only person in the U.S. to have to scrub their own toilet.

Second issue: My teenage son has decided to quit honoring his mother. No respect from that off-spring that caused me to scream at his birthing. All I asked was that he help me make my bed. Because second to scouring foot grime off of the bathtub, I truly loathe putting on sheets, blankets and bedspread. Don't even get me started about pillowcases.

I tried every thing I could think of to gain his assistance. From guilt trips about the jacket I bought him today and all the painful effort it took to earn the money for it, to over blown compliments about how extraordinarily gifted he is at putting together bedding. Nothing worked. He has called my bluff and now refuses to tuck in the fitted sheet, or lay the blankets in place.

Finally, I threatened to never make dinner for him ever again. And can you believe this? He thinks I'm joshing. Just wait until tomorrow night when I feed his share of the tofu meatloaf to our dogs. Hah. He'll not be laughing then.

He actually said that I was old enough to make it myself! Where is the love here, people?

The only compensation for us poor, poor mothers, is that half glass of Cabernet waiting for me on the kitchen counter.

And the warm, clean, freshly made bed to clamber into and read a John Updike novel. And, well, I guess the sudsy bath I can take tonight while drinking the half glass of Cabernet.

So, I suppose my life is not a catastrophic mess.

But I am still feeding his tofu meatloaf to the dogs. Or making him eat it. Whichever he protests the most about, that shall be his non-bed-making consequence.

I am the hardcore, mean mother.

Heather Leigh,
Cleaned Out, Suffering Mother

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Zombie Frogs

There is a great fear that I know must be shared by multitudes of people: What would happen if the Zombie Apocalypse occurs while I am in the gym jacuzzi? As I crawl my way out with melted, mushy muscles and brain, it would be easy to mistake my form for the Undead. I could be shot with a silver bullet and have my head bashed in with a shovel before making it to my brand new, eco-friendly Prius.

Is there a label for this justified and common fear?

Another issue that needs to be labeled is the condition of falling tree frogs. (Background knowledge for you: there are two maple trees on either side of our driveway. Their branches, thick with foliage, hang over my brand new, eco-friendly Prius). While driving on the highway last week, a tree frog crawled out from underneath my window wiper blade.

She stared at me through the front window glass.

This must be a common occurrence with tree frogs--falling off of their tree home onto car windshields, and then crawling under wiper blades for comfort. But as we could not converse, neither of us speaking the other's language, I could not be sure if this was a suicide attempt, or a leap of desired adventure. Knowing this would help greatly in determining a proper label for her actions.

Now all of this leads up to what you have each been thinking: do frogs worry about becoming zombies?

If so, what can we do to help alleviate their fears? The first step, obviously, is to label this psychosis. Ideas: TFZF, tree frog zombie fear; Frogbie Disorder; Undead TR Obsession.

Once a label name has been established, us caring humans will have to start outreach committees and support groups. It is the only right thing to do in this situation.

Wow. Now that I see that my fears of Jacuzzi Zombie Mistaken Identity Disorder are nothing compared to my green friend's issues, I feel a mighty compassion overtaking me. My anxieties have disappeared. Thank you, tree frog, for bringing me to this new found sense of peace.

Namaste, tree frog.


If this were a High School Quiz posting, this would be my question to test your reading skills: What kind of car do I own?

Don't worry about the tree frog. She was safely re-homed at the edge of the Humboldt Bay, on a bed of tasty grass. No animals, or amphibians, were harmed in the making of this blog.

Heather Leigh,
Writer at Peace

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

WIne Writer Research

I just finished a research study and here are my conclusions:

1. When wine is drunk in half servings, the recipient gets just as tipsy as if it had been full servings. Who knew? Totally unexpected.
2. Know matter how much of an emotional roller coaster your day was, wine puts the brakes on your ride. As long as you stop at several half servings (see #1), the evening will be much better.
3. The belief that chocolate covered caramels have a direct correlation to an increase in waist size is incorrect. It is your belief that makes this so--not the candy. This comes directly from the teachings of Jesus, Gandi, and Bacchus, the god of wine and good times.

These are all legit because:
1. I had a case research group consisting of one (that would be me, of course) and that is more than enough to prove any point.
2. It is on the internet, so it must be true.
3. I am a really, really, really smart scientific writer.

My current research study:
Is it better to drink Cabernet while making dinner, eating it, or after getting home from soaking in the gym jacuzzi? More study needed.

As I have recently discovered a preference to Pinot Noir, another study will soon be conducted with this wine. See number one and two of the conclusion list.

Whew, these studies are wearing me out. Guess I had better not go to Pilates tomorrow. It will be much better for my health if I go for pie and lattes instead.

In reading this over, I am amazed at the intensity and focus that I devote to ensuring that the reading public is served with honesty and accuracy. My college Science teacher would be so proud that I have gone beyond trying not to cheat to pass her tests, to being a fellow colleague. Yes, I have come a long way, baby.

The other thing that I need improvement on is my choice of co-workers. Today, I undertook my main assignment in life: to assist people in the art of laughter. My tools were a cupcake brought in by the manager, a cup of plums, paper and pen. While the manager was at lunch, I hid her cupcake in a very safe, incredibly mysterious area. In it's place, I placed a cup of plums and a note: HELP! I've been kidnapped and hidden in... (a description of the room would go here. Since you have never been in that room, no use describing it to you).

Any who, when the manager returned, one of my prank-killing co-workers asked her if she had seen the cupcake. She completely ruined the prank!!! Now the manager knew something was going on. Why was the co-worker not fired?! Or, at least tarred and feathered. Where is the justice in this world? Her actions are not Making America Great Again.

So what do I do now? I am obviously a scientific wonder with wine research, but am unable to find a way to severely punish prank-destroyers.

Guess I had better drink another glass of Pinot Noir and muse on what to do save my mischievous nature from being crushed by tattle-tellers.

Heather Leigh,
Enjoyer of Wine and Pranks

Monday, August 8, 2016

Hair And Jobs

Several months ago, my hairstylist talked me into an almost, double-layered bob that cuts just above the chin level. And I look like a young European! It has completely changed my personality. Fashion questions? Hit me with them. I am ready to tell you which infinity scarf goes with those ripped, faded, pre-creased skinny jeans. Going from the opera to the local diner? Let me set you up with silver bangles and bling-bling  pumps.

Okay, I can't even fake it. Even with my fashionable hairdo, I am not your swag stylist. It is pure luck and a good day if I can figure out which tee-shirt won't make a mockery of my skirt of choice for the day.

In the words of some great philosopher, 'Know Thyself'. As I know that putting clothes together that my teenagers are not embarrassed by, is beyond my brain waves, I strive toward other talents. The talent that I yearn to have is to be a great, or at least an eighth of a grain of some of my favorite authors, writer.

If that ever proves to be un-doable, I feel a need to make a list of day jobs to be ready to fulfill. Hmmm. How about:

Writer's desks are notoriously messy. It makes us more creative. I am willing to come to your house, and decorate it in the Writer Mode. This includes at least two empty, dirty mugs, several notepads with halfway-started story ideas, three flung open thesaurus', and five dust collecting, figurines believed to radiate plot lines. For an extra charge, I will throw in a back scratcher and scalp massager.

For those lucky work-at-home types, I will choose the pets that will best interrupt your work. This could be anywhere from a cat that knows how to fling himself across your key board, to a chinchilla so cute you have to stop and watch it jump and do flips every fifteen minutes. I'll even bet I could  train a dog to press her paw on the keyboard delete button and destroy the work you spent an entire morning on. Challenges in the work place keep us on our toes, and cause us to be better workers.

Are you an office worker? Every Friday, I will come to your work place and set all clocks in the building ten minutes ahead. You'll avoid rush hour traffic and be home sooner! This is a must have service that helps not only you, but co-workers as well. It can be your anonymous gift to the world.

Wow. Three great ideas. And here I was thinking that I was going to be stuck in the profession that gives me complete bliss, and serves as my creative outlet for the rest of my life. Whew. Thank goodness I can rest easy tonight. I can do anything I want.

When you are ready to hire me for my three new professions, please drop me a message on FaceBook. Of course, I am working on the the revisions of my latest Scout and Ellie book, so it might be a bit before I get back to you.

But when I do return your job request, let's do it by Skype. You just have to see my new 'do.

Have a great work day!

Heather Leigh,
Creative Genius In Job Ideas

Sunday, July 31, 2016

A Different Outcome in 1492

In fourteen ninety-two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue. And on that same day, Chief Trump had a Vision. What he saw filled him with fear and anger. So he called together the people of land. The Chief shared his vision of the future:

 Most of us will die. The land will be destroyed. Water will be unsafe to drink; air clogged in smoke.

The people huddled together, shrinking from this future.

Is there nothing we can do? They asked.

Already, the white masts of three ships containing religious extremists could be seen on the horizon.

And Chief Trump responded,"Yes, but we must hurry. Our only way out is to build a wall."

"YES! YES! BUILD THE WALL! BUILD THE WALL!" the people cried.

And so, they built a wall.

In twenty sixteen, the wall can still be seen. And on that same day, the ancestors of Chief Trump looked around. They saw a land filled with indigenous people. Rich soil, safe water, clear skies. A beautiful country.

Yes, now I see why European Trump supporters want to build a wall. They are afraid of what our ancestors did when they took over this country, will happen to them.

Heather Leigh,
understanding the wall

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Body-less Closets

I made the commitment to myself that I was finally going to do this. No more hiding, no more shucking around the truth of who I am. I'm coming out of the closet to reveal that...I see dead people.

If you know me personally and never were aware of my secret 'other' self, well there it is. Like a Disco Mirror Ball hanging on the ceiling of a cowboy bar, the song of my soul is shining out to be heard.

I assume that most everyone who sees those who have passed, experiences them in a different way. Twice I've seen ghosts with the sight of my eyes. The rest have been as a ...gosh how do I explain this. It will have to be through personal example. About a month ago, I was with a co-worker, and an image came into my head of someone with shoulder length gray hair, sitting on his legs with knees bent, sipping tea. When I told her what I was seeing, she informed me that was her father, who had passed away several years ago. I never knew that her father was dead.

In movies, ghosts are normally portrayed as something evil and scary. That's not true. It's like Hollywood has an anti-ghostism based on fear of the unknown. Or based on a greed to sensationalize the dead and attract movie goers. I'd form a Union for the misrepresented ghosts, but I don't think many people would see the members showing up. Plus, I don't think ghosts give a hoot what bodied people think about them.

There are other's out there who lay witness to the dead. I wonder how big that crowd of weirdos is. Many have already exposed themselves; the Psychic Readers that dot our cities with their signs are one such group. But what if I started a club of us Non-body Sight See-ers. How many would show up to the first meeting? If I look far enough into the future, I can imagine whole days of parades and festivities of Ghost See-ers Pride Day. I'll start working on a more original title for us now.

If you think it bizarre that I see these things, think of it from my end. It's like if your friend came up to you while we were talking, and you completely blew them off. I mean, we are talking total ignore to the ultimate in rudeness. Well, I'd be thinking, why doesn't she acknowledge her friend? Did they get in a fight or something? Sheesh, bad manners; not even an introduction.

And then I remember, oh yeah. We have different views.

So there it is. I've come clean. There are other things about me I have yet to reveal, but this was enough for now. Oh, and it's not something I see all the time. So don't come speeding over to my house, expecting me to talk with your dearly departed. I refuse to ask spirits to come for a visit. They have their own gig on their side of the divide. It is impertinent to ask them to stop by for a chat. Rather, they are like cats, showing up on their terms, or when we need them.

Have a great day and remember to say hello to the ghosts who visit you.

Heather Leigh,
author, and polite to the bodiless

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Pooh And IRS Ettiquette

Why do people leave the bathroom door open just a crack after they've poohed? All other times, it's wide open and welcoming. Do they think the scent flushes away with the toilet? Because it does not. What does happen is that when I open the door to do my thing, I am smashed in the nose with someone else's left overs.

Proper bathroom etiquette: leave the door flung open and proud. Aeration is the key to downplaying what you have left behind.

I'll tell you one organization that knows proper etiquette...the IRS. If you were not one of the lucky millions who read my blog about the big tax showdown we had, I'll fill you in. There was a mistake made two years ago by the accounting firm of my previous employer. As a result, I was being told to pay the IRS one grand, plus interest. After a wee bit of stress, paperwork, the benevolent assistance of that employer, it was finally straightened out after several months.

And, OF COURSE, our fine, upstanding income tax governing officials sent the news that I had never lied in the first place, in a gift basket. Contents: chocolate covered sea salt caramels, spice drops, and a pastel colored Pashmina. They wanted to send a bottle of fine Italian Cabernet, but the Republican controlled Congress said no to free alcohol.

Those IRS folks so live up to their name: IRService. They just know how to serve the public. They do us proud.

Now that I've covered pooh and the IRS (funny how that fits so well in one sentence), I can get to what I really wanted to discuss. Facebook. Yesterday, my cousin with a sense of humor (I have more than one, so he'll have to figure out who he is on his own) posted a questionnaire that reveals whether or not you"re a nerd. If you get the jokes, you are one.

I got the jokes.

But, I've always known this about myself. Did I really need self-geek knowledge smacked into my face like trapped pooh scent?

Since we are one the subject of Facebook, here is my latest whine about that love/hate site that I can't get enough of: all of those stupid kids who are on there doing perfectly amazing things. Twelve year olds singing opera like the fat lady cliche, pre-teen sisters strumming guitars with half the talent of Eric Clapton, dancing children who could take on Micheal Jackson (if he was alive). I know I should be glowing with excitement each time I see this stuff, but the thrill is gone. What truly gets my nerdy, correct pooh etiquette mind going, is the people I encounter every day.

Here is the part where I reveal the cold hard core of my nerd nature: I think 'everyday' people are awesome and amazing. When you watch them unawares, there is beauty in their faces and movements. Listening to individual stories of childhood and current situations gives surprises and viewpoints that fill me with this settling of soulful bliss.

Where do I find these weirdos? A horde of them are co-workers. They know who they are.

Anyways, let's all take a moment to send the IRS a silent thank you for Heather's gift basket. Because, we all know they would never be unthoughtful.

Heather Leigh,
Nerd With Chocolate Caramels

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Disgruntled Health Nut

I have had it up to here (over my head) with my teenage sons. Just as I was about to top my popcorn addiction with melted butter, one of those beasts informed me that melted coconut oil is not only healthier but tasty as well. I nearly flung the stove top popcorn maker at him. I should have.

Because in the past year, they have both been getting into the health scene. One day we are doing our monthly fast food restaurant visit, and the next they are concerned about the mere quarter cup of processed sugar in one soda. "All of that stuff is junk. It's bad for you," they whine. So there goes my excuse to pig out on grease laden fries and questionable sandwiches.

And exercise? Used to be I could get away with walking our dog around the block. I mean, if it's at a crisp pace, isn't that enough? But noooo. Now I get tethered into gym workouts. I thought I was going in for pie and lattes last month. Turns out I am now signed up for Pilates!!! Imagine my pains, enduring twice a week inner core body moves that the human body was not designed for.

When I try to get out of working out with them, I get eye rolling and guilt trips. What the fudge is going on here, people? Does my suffering know no bounds?

The only thing that saves me is the six daily hours they are in school. They are not home to witness my weekly nibbling of spice drops, the only good candy left in the United States. I know those spicy gelatin wonders are coated in crunchy, thick white sugar. That they are stuffed with corn syrup and hazardous food dye. That baby carrots are yummy, too, but won't wear down my liver. But, dangnabitt! What is the reason for being a hard working writer if I can't savor the wild side of unhealthy living? I have rights too, you know.

But I'll tell you one thing for certain. If they try and take Cabernet from me, I am not making any more tofu stir frys or organic butternut squash roasts. And forget camping trips because nature and sun are supposedly 'good' for you. There is only so much a woman can take.

I am so ruffled by this change forced onto my life style, that I refuse to tell my son that the coconut oil drizzled over the popcorn actually is yummier than butter. And you have better not tell him either! If you do, I will drag you down with me on a pilates-driven ship while we snack on edemame and avoid gluten.

Well, good night then. I have to get a decent sleep because proper sleep time is needed for mental alertness and better health. Yeah, I know. I've succumbed to their way of thinking. Despicable, miserable mother, just trying to make the most out of what life has hit me with.

Heather Leigh,
Coconut oil popcorn martyr

Monday, May 9, 2016

Improper Birds

Naughty stuff going down in our maple tree. Birdie porn on a branch. Seems there is one particular limb that is a favorite swingers spot for swallows. IN MY FRONT YARD!

How did this particular branch become the local House of Ill Repute? Is there an underground club where such things are chirped about? Is it a privately owned branch with a hired marketing firm? I mean, there must be a thousand limbs on that big tree--why pick on just one?

You are probably thinking that I am supporting the horrid behavior by watching and writing about it. But, sheesh, every time I finish a paragraph and glance out the window, I have a bird's eye view of the continuous party. What once was a healthy habit of not over-gazing at my computer screen has turned into sick, stalker, depraved writing.

It is said that writers need to have many life experiences to yank out topics to write about. I don't know how I am going to use these gross carrying-ons of the local bird gangs. But someday, somewhere, I will use this knowledge. I am certain that Mother Nature did not impose upon my vantage point with out future reason. I have trust in the Universe.

And what about those birds?

Those misguided youths are flagrantly displaying public acts of egg fertilization. I hope they understand the gravity of what they are pursuing for a moment of birdie bliss. Because I can foresee the arduous task of nest building taking over their time. Saturday nights spent chirping on telephone wires will now be taken over by the home building process.

Are these rebellious couples ready to be parents? Do they have what it takes to fish out worms from the soil at all hours of the day? Mush bugs in their mouth for their starving babies? Feed the ever-hungry infants that want nothing but food, food, food all day long.

What about teaching their children to fly? Do those instant-gratifying, feathered beings have the guts to kick their offspring out of the nest in a couple of months? This is not pansy, scaredy cat stuff we're talking about here, folks. Imagine teaching your children to walk by tossing them into oncoming New York traffic, hoping they make it across the street.

Of great concern is our virgin puppy, Daisy. What if she sees those punks mating out the window? What impression will it make upon her innocent, childish mind? We have gone out of our way to keep her unspoiled from the shadow side of wild life. All of our protection could be for nothing if she catches on to what is happening IN HER VERY FRONT YARD! A life of ruin and turmoil will surely follow after her mind is split open by bird coupling.

What is a tree owner to do in these times of trouble?

If you have any ideas as to how to handle my predicament, please, please, let me know.

Until then, I will continue on as the proper author that I am.

Heather Leigh,
Owner of a porn branch

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Smile Over Sadness: Aunt Judy

My Aunt Judy passed away a few weeks ago. She is the one who illustrated all of my children's book covers (except for Hey, Little Baby). We shared a blog of free stories for children; I wrote, she drew. We spoke or emailed weekly. So guess what? She was a big part of my life.

In writing about her now, I seek to avoid sadness. Yes, she was an incredible aunt and person. But she would laugh and tell me I was being a dramatic writer if I wrote something like that. So I'm going to tell you stuff that will make us both smile.

Okay, so I am the world's slowest eater. Why am I the slowest? Because I no longer have any competition. By the time I get through my salad, others are finishing dessert. Judy had me totally completely beat in our uncompetitive race. She was twice as unfast.

This is due to her addiction to listening. Yes, you heard me. She was one of those wackos who listened when you talked. She told me, "Why would I want to talk about myself? I all ready know about me."

Who says crazy stuff like that? I mean, what is the point of a conversation if you are not fighting for your chance to show off your fine choice of words, brilliant ideas, and exhilarating highlights of every thing that ever happened to you.

Don't let it be thought here that she never spoke. In one conversation, we could solve all of the world's problems. Trouble was, nobody ever asked us. If the Big Shots in power ever followed the Judy and Heather World Advice Discussions, we would have World Peace by this weekend. But I suppose the world was just not ready to listen like Judy did.

She was one of those wackos who 'followed her bliss' by becoming a professional illustrator. Imagine how bizarre this world would be if everyone were  in a career that they loved. I shutter just thinking about it. And, of course, just like all those motivational books preach, she made money by waltzing along in life, doing as she pleased, drawing dogs, people as cartoons, animals. She even had the audacity to make pictures that were designed for kids through adults. Realistic to cartoon. Her talent was, sheesh, what is that big word I'm looking for? Oh, yeah...unlimited.

Except that, boy was she ever picky. Could not let anything with her name on it go out into the public that was not to the best of her ability. She even researched her stuff as well. Made sure the dog breeds were just right, surfers were on the waves correctly, elephants had their ears shaped true to form. Wow, you'd have thought she really, truly cared about what was put out into the world.

When my boys were small, I went to her constantly for advice. While every one else was telling me to be more strict, punishing, and to make demands at the drop of a dirty diaper, she talked of a different path. Wild tips like listening, compromise, guidance and love. Learning through example, natural consequences, being firm yet gentle.

And me, being the Judy fan that I have always been, I followed her parenting style. And what do I have to show for my loyalty? Nothing but two thoughtful, caring boys who learned to listen, be polite, discuss ideas, and be wonderful. Just like her son.

Once again, can you imagine a world in which we all listened to our children? Too much for me to handle in one sitting.

She also had to go and have a supportive, kind, respectful marriage to a great guy. Where does that leave the rest of us? Are we supposed to follow in her footsteps and turn marriage into a joyful partnership? Where is the fun in having no abuse, drama, or temper tantrum arguments? Those are some pretty high goals to set for two people.

Now that she is gone, there is a big, gaping hole in my life. Every day, for the rest of my life, I will be attempting to fill it with appreciation of the time I got to spend with her. If I go on any more about this kind of talk, however, I will be crying for another night.

Aunt Judy was splendiferous and will be missed for the rest of my life.

If there is a way for you to get this message in your body-less form: I love you, Aunt Judy. But then, you already knew that.

Oh, if anyone out there passes on before I do and can give her this message, please pass it on: I tried so, so hard, but I can't get into mystery novels. I know you loved them, but I will just never share your favorite book genre. Sorry.

Heather Leigh
Niece of Judy, Aunt Extraordinaire

Monday, March 28, 2016

Dear Readers

This may come as a big shock, but the Internal Revenue Service, IRS, is doing two things that baffle me.  Seems that two years ago, there was a screw up between what I reported and what they have on their records. I sent in proof that I am in the right on this issue, BUT IN THE MEANTIME, while it is being sorted out, I will be forced to pay interest charges on the discrepancy. Even if I I am double, triple-proofed as having done the right thing, I will still be punished. And, of course, never paid back those charges.

Do you think I could charge them interest for the hassle of fixing what may be their mistake? How about the postage and handling, stress, copying fees, and time spent away from writing that I am doling out on this fun event. I'm sure they will at least send me a fruit basket for my troubles.

They should, because we are on close terms. I know we are on comfy terms because when they write these letters to me, explaining why I have to pay for what is not my fault, they address the message as: 'Dear Heather Leigh'. Webster's Dictionary defines dear as: beloved, loved. See? They do care.

Nothing like being loved by the IRS.

Although, I am curious as to what they do to those they do not love. Perhaps the uncared for are forced to become an IRS auditor. That must be it. I have always wondered who would volunteer for such a position. Now we know the secret.

There is a locked windowless basement with thousands of forgotten U.S. citizens going through the records of small businesses, tax payers who make below living wages, and elderly on fixed income. So if you get audited some day, remember that the person doing the dirty deed is not your enemy. They are people like you and me who did not pay the interest charges for uncommitted crimes, or non-adored citizens. Pity those poor folk; keep them in your prayers.

And here is my promise to you, my dear Readers. If I find a discrepancy between what you tell me and what I understand, I will never charge you for the misunderstanding. No, not a thing. Because I am nice like that.

In the coming days until the end of the tax season, I wish you non-punishment for whatever you tell the IRS. Stay away from closed-in basements. Be careful who you say 'Dear' to. Put away money for interest in case you are charged for doing the right thing.

If you ever figure out the logic behind the IRS, please let me know. I believe that there may be thousands of other folks who are baffled by what they do. We would all appreciate more clarity with that bureaucracy that kindly takes in our money.

From your beloved author,
Heather Leigh

Monday, March 14, 2016

Sydney the Great

When the boys were four and seven years old, we finally moved into a house. It was then that I was doomed to follow through on a promise made--a family dog. We spent several weeks visiting the Animal Shelter. There were many wonderful canines ready for homes, but none of them matched what we were looking for. Either they were not interested in a home of chaotic, rambunctious boys, or we did not feel the pull of love to take him/her home.

Then there came Sydney. After claiming that we were looking for a small mutt, we ended up falling in love with a fifty-five pound pedigree Australian Shepherd. In the visiting room of the Shelter, she sat beside me, laid her head in my lap and told me she was ready to be our companion. Well then, that was settled.

In the days before we could bring her home, the boys and I wondered who would leave behind such a beautiful, intelligent breed. When we got her to her new dwelling, we learned very quickly why clever dogs can actually be too clever. A list of her accomplishments over the years:

Escaping from every fenced-in enclosure: six foot fences, locked gates, indestructible metal dog crate. Who ever advertised on that dog crate box that no dog could break out of it, never met Sydney. Silly fools.

Propping her paws on the counter, edging down glass jars, biting gently and lowering jar to ground, opening with her teeth. Eating contents without a crack in the glass--including a very expensive jar of Macadamia nuts that I still have not forgiven her for.

Wolfing down a box of chocolates and never getting sick.

Eating and peeling avocados and avoiding the pit.

Breaking through a glass front door without a scratch. Imagine our surprise when we got home to discover the front of our dog on the porch and the back of her in the house. I still can't figure out how she did not hurt herself. Perhaps she was a stunt dog in a previous life?

Jumping out of the car window while I was driving into the Dog Park. At least the window was rolled down a few inches so it was not broken.

What we learned from Sydney: Don't leave anything on the counter. Buy a solid wood door. Keep the windows up at the Dog Park.

What she never did learn was how to hide the evidence of her naughtiness. After eating a bag of pink candy, she tried to tell us the candy just disappeared while we were gone. There was no connection between her previously white chest fur suddenly turning pink. Aren't dogs color blind?

It was after a few of these Sydney accomplishments that I began to get an inkling as to why her previous owners thought that perhaps she was a bit difficult to keep as a pet. But what they may have failed to notice are her plus sides.

I was always protected. Just try to hug me in her presence--she would stand in front of me and block the way. You could have been a hug attacker!

Waiting outside the bathroom door, she would not let any child come close. She knew it was my moment of peace and was there to make sure I got it.

She almost drowned in the river attempting to herd us back to the shore. This from the dog who hates getting wet.

At walk time, she could jump and leap in a full circle in excitement. Taught us the value of simple pleasures.

Always waited at the door for our arrival. Nothing like coming home after traffic, smog and stress to a loving warm ball of fur. She knew her value.

Now that she is old, things have changed a bit. A daily walk around the block takes about half an hour. Sleep is more fun than the Dog Park. No glass doors or metal cages have been busted in several years. But she is still our adored, beautiful, wonderful Sydney. The people who left her behind were just plain stupid.

Heather Leigh,
Owner of that too clever dog

P.S. I was going to wait until she passed to write about how wonderful she is. But then I realized that once she is gone, I won't be able to talk about her for quite a while.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Cutie Canines

I have a serious problem and I don't want anyone telling me this is no big deal. Our dogs love fruits and vegetables. I can hear what you are thinking: healthy animals are a good thing. Their diet choices keep them away from illness, the vet, diarrhea issues, whatever. Well, that is all good for those canines--but what about me?

The California Cuties, mandarin oranges, are in season (are they only available in California? Any out-of-staters out there, please let me know). Those bright orange lively spheres are sweeter and better than any candy on the market. Easy to peel, no seeds, zesty with flavor and juice, seems like they should be illegal or at least bad for you like a donut.

So here is where the issue zooms in. Sydney and Daisy are even more smitten with them than I am. Translation: I'm allowed to eat one segment, next goes to Syd and then Daisy. I'm allowed to eat one-third of those golf ball sized treats! The whole Cutie season only lasts a month.

And you should see them when we get a watermelon, Sydney's favorite fruit. It's a wonder they don't attack me while it is being cut. Sheesh.

I know what else you are thinking. That I am the owner, the master, the Akeela. That I should be able to say no to those furry companions. But Sydney is fifteen years old. She is in her last year of life expectancy (something that will bring me to wrenching tears if I dwell on it for more than ten seconds). You try and say 'no' when this may be her last Cutie season.

Of course, she has passed on her fruit and veggie, begging and obsession to puppy Daisy. Can't just treat one dog and not the other. Talk about sibling rivalry issues that would cause mayhem and madness in our peaceful home.

There is also no fairness with this whole sheboogle. Because, see, I do not share any enthusiasm for their treats. No, I just can't get into dog biscuits, doggies nibbles, or even pig ears. Nothing! Not one iota of my body wants to get down on the floor and chew away at a bone or chunk of raw hide. They get every bit of their snack to themselves. Not once has anyone in our family looked at them with big eyes and yearned for a piece of their stuff.

Okay, there was that one time when the boys were five and eight. Older one dared the younger to eat a dog biscuit. He did it, but only because it was smeared in peanut butter. That doesn't count as begging.

Guess I'll have to smuggle my fruit to work from now on. Well, I don't know. I do kind of love those dogs. Maybe I can share just one more Cutie.

Heather Leigh,
Companion to Veggie Lovers

P.S. I know the third thing you are all thinking: what are the vegetables they love? Carrots and corn on the cob at the top, onions at the bottom.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Humor and Therapy

I have two main goals as a parent:
1. To not screw up so bad that the boys need therapy to get over me.
2. To screw up enough to give them a sense of humor.

So far, I seem to be succeeding in the second goal. The first is pending as they are still at home. How do I know they have  a sense of humor? Here is a remark made years ago by my second son:

"Good babies come from Disneyland. Bad babies from the back alleys of Taco Bell."

My first son and I are religious attenders of the monthly Improv show in town and we laugh too loudly at The Muppets.

Both make me laugh even when I am not partaking in wine.

All that is left now to fulfill my life-long wish to have moderately dysfunctional offspring, is to get them into moderately dysfunctional families of their own. Ohhh, the joys of being a parent.

Yesterday we went on our trip to the dentist. In our small town, the only decent office that accepts our insurance is two and a half hours away. Anyhoo, most of their conversation revolved around comic books and movies. It is one of the few topics under which they are both in agreement on major issues. Here is how I know that they are seriously maturing: At five and eight years old, they had one of the biggest arguments ever known amongst siblings. Is the Incredible Hulk a real superhero? This led to a huge, knock down, screaming rampage.

And now, ten years later, they can rationally agree that the green muscled hunk needs more airtime in the movie theatre. I am the proud mother of two maturing young men.

When we stopped for lunch at the Chinese food restaurant, no one in our family screamed that I starve my children by making them eat healthy food. Neither of them flung peas, spit wads, or scalding tea. I never heard a single burping of the entire alphabet. And no one slid under the table in search of previously chewed bubble gum to snack on.

People tell me the boys are so good because they had good parenting. But I know this is not the truth. I have seen some pretty darned terrific parents whose kids had major issues. The reality is that I have been blessed.

Heather Leigh
Proud mother of non-belchers

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Drafts of Poop

"The first draft of anything is shit" --Ernest Hemingway

These words of education are intermingled with Stephen King's On Writing. While perched on top of their giant shoulders, I have learned to keep writing/bleeding through that rough draft without looking back and turning into a pillar of salt. The current crap I am wading through is for Massage Therapists.

Please don't divulge my prior secret identity, but for a dozen years I was a massage therapist. It was the 'day job' that I happened to love. Actually, it's not that I don't want it known that I rubbed shoulders in exchange for mortgage payments and tofu. I am not ashamed of my previous income source. Massage was a great career. What other job is there in which people are so happy to see you? Everybody loves the massage woman.

The big problemo with people finding out that I know how to take away aches and pains, is that I always had to wonder if they loved me for my hands or my witty personality. And, as soon as they had knowledge of my profession I would hear, "Oh, I could really use a good massage."

They would gaze at their tight shoulders and then stare pleadingly into my eyes. Kind of like the dogs when I stand near their jar of biscuits. For the people, I would answer that I could use a really good massage, too. For the dogs, I just eat the biscuit in front of them and laugh.

No, I don't really do that. No human likes dog biscuits.

Anyway, back to writing rough drafts. This is my fourth non-fiction book and they are not the joy and laughter that sprays out when I write the Scout and Ellie series for kids. Eventually, I will revise this latest book to add my humor that I pray other people appreciate. But that first time? Every completed chapter is like spitting up a dry tooth ripped out of my mouth with rusty pliers. So far, three are done, so that means three stripped teeth. Good thing I have dental insurance.

Oh, is someone out there going to ask why I am writing/bleeding/vomiting something that is not fun? Well, you must be one of those not-addicted-to-writing types I've heard rumors about. You don't know the inner horrors of having creatures/words/information/stories nailed into your skull that can only escape your body through the magical thing called a computer keyboard.

See, I have all of this experience of having been a soother of tight muscles and I have to rip it out of me to make the memories stop haunting me day and night. If I don't  pass it on the the next generation of therapists, I will never have a moment of tea sipping peace again. It is just that bad.

Oh, the anguish of the massage therapist turned writer. Well, at least I have a way to destroy/murder/kill/humiliate my memories.

The funny part is, I don't even care if my plethora of facts and wisdom will truly help someone. I just have to get it out so that I can go on with my life of joy and bliss, laughter and stories.

Okay, well, I guess I do care. It would be nice to have been a service to at least a few hundred thousand million therapists. Passing on my knowledge to the next batch of healers would feel rather pleasant.

Rather like Hemingway must have felt knowing that his First Draft Shit philosophy helps so many of us keep trudging on through the muck of every day doo-doo.  That guy is my hero.

Heather Leigh,
Proud member of the Church of First Draft Shit

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Rain For Dogs

Why didn't anyone tell me it rains a lot in the Pacific Northwest? I thought all of these green trees and pastures that we are surrounded by were the result of water shipped in from the Rocky Mountains, hundreds of miles away. My friends have betrayed me. Someone out there could have given me the heads up that winter here entails days, weeks, months of rainy days. How was I supposed to know?

And as my family is from southern California, we're not going with the flow of this incessant water from the sky. The least little sprinkle sends us running to: 1. turn up the heater 2. hide under a mountain of blankets 3. refuse to come out until the insanity is over.

These poor locals here have water soaking their brain. Their temperature gauge is wildly miscued. While I maintain a thick, long, water proof coat from December until May, they prance around in t-shirts. Do they not know that 50 degrees F. is the level in which frost bite can saw off limbs? What is wrong with these people?

But the great thing about us being packed together from our fear of chill, is that we are closer as a family unit. My teenage sons are able to bicker and argue to their heart's content. And the subjects are always provocative and profound: from who ate the last veggie chicken pattie to whether or not we should play Pictionary. Don't even get me started on the joy of discovering who stole the last bag of caramel filled chocolate chips.

The boys and I often gaze out the window at the crazy people walking their dogs in the rain. It would be laughable, but what about those poor dogs? Don't they know that water has been known to melt the fur off even the shaggiest creature?

We are kept busy though, with cleaning the floors from puppy Daisy's romps in the back yard mud puddles. What more could we offer to a new dog than mud to play in? Right out the doggie door. What more could she ask for? And old dog Sydney receives mind stimulation in her attempt to not fall down in the slippery grass. Our dogs have it all here.

The only thing that keeps me going is the knowledge that our hometown has been experiencing torrential rains and flooding this year. Is it mean that I sit back and chuckle at their inability to bring about rain as a constant practice, and not as a major dump-out from above? I mean, at least we aren't that bad. Besides, it serves them right for not warning me about the months of rain here.

As I sit back, sip hot cocoa and munch warm popcorn, I guess I should be at peace. My children have a safe, dry place to argue about meaningless subjects. Friends back home are facing floods as revenge for not instructing me on the laws of Mother Nature. The dogs are thriving in muddy mind games.

And, in all seriousness, I am thankful that our family has a warm, dry safe home in which to watch the beautiful rain from our windows. Oh, and that heaters were invented!

Heather Leigh,
Betrayed Rain Victim