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