Saturday, August 11, 2012

The "Zowie" Factor

It was senior date night at the cinema last night. Couples of a certain age packed the theater to cluck at Hope Springs, a movie in which unhappy Meryl Streep drags repressed Tommy Lee Jones off to intensive couples counseling. Midway through the movie I leaned over and whispered to my date, “why doesn’t she just rearrange the furniture?”

We rearrange our marital furnishings about once a decade. I used to literally move the furniture around when my husband went on a business trip. I did it for effect. He never knew what he would come home to, so to save his shins from nasty bruising(“Ouch! You moved the table!”) he made sure not to go away too often or be gone too long.

Our most recent re-arrangement is a getaway in the desert. We’ve had a lot of fun establishing a home to fit priorities that are different from our normal daily life. This culminated in our choice of an area rug to define a grouping of comfy mission style furniture. It came down to a choice between this—
Choice #1

and this—
Choice #2

Conversation #1:
Me: Well, the colors are perfect.
He: And it fits the theme. The pillow will work.
Me: But, it’s kind of a cliché.
He: I was thinking that, too.

Conversation #2:
Me: Wow! Not what I would have picked but
He: Very different from what I thought we said we wanted but
Me: It has energy
He: It has emotion
Me: Yes! It makes me feel good!
He: Will your pillow work?
Me: No, but I don’t care. It’s...zowie.

When “zowie” is part of your mutual vocabulary, your chances of needing marital counseling diminishes.

Pillow for sale

Monday, August 6, 2012

Life Gets Wild

It’s 4 pm and I’m trying to save an article I’m writing that’s heading off a cliff called mundane when a shadow passes across my face. I look up and a jumbo jet-sized wing blocks my view of the mesquite tree.  It’s not a plane, it’s a bird; an owl to be specific. He lands on the rocks not ten yards from where I now stand, camera in hand. We have a staring contest. He wins.
I’ve wanted all my life to be this close to one of these magnificent creatures, and here I am in my office blogging about it.
He stays on the rocks for quite awhile, aware of the bunnies cavorting around him (dumb bunnies) but uninterested. The ground around our desert house is littered with body parts that tell us he is well fed. Later he lifts into the air, circles at minimum altitude and ascends into a neighboring mesquite tree. There he stays for quite awhile, but now he’s back down on the ground upsetting the cactus wrens. His chin feathers beat to the rhythm of his panting breath. It’s 111 degrees outside. I want to bring him a dish of water, but I know better.
This beats anything I’ve seen on TV, except maybe for Gabby going for gold. This is a CBS Sunday Morning moment of nature. When the bunny we’ve been watching hops right in front of the owl, I write the headline for this blog: Murder on the Patio. I see the talons grip the furry body, the beak tear the baby bunny limb from limb, the blood fly...but it doesn’t happen. I think I could have watched it though. I surprise myself.
I’m watching him now. He dips his head at something in sight. He raises his head and his throat vibrates. He looks at me and I confess; I don’t know very much about owls but I don’t think he should be here. I hope he’s okay.

Saturday, August 4, 2012


David Coleman |
I just finished the Hunger Games series. I wasn’t surprised that the ending was similar to J.K. Rowling’s wrap up of the Harry Potter series. What is left after fighting the horror of evil but to hunker down in the reflection of the family firelight?

It called to mind the comment our Hungarian tour guide Peter made on how his country survived war and oppression. “Politics and people are not the same thing,” he reminded us. “People will find a way to be happy.” Katniss finds snatches of happiness in her children and in Peeta’s love.

[Spoiler alert] I anticipated that Katniss would not be allowed to indulge her raging desire for personal revenge.  She came close but chose the higher ground—unseating the new regime’s power play that would institutionalize the status quo. What if she had aimed even higher? The God who says “vengeance is mine; I will repay” could write an ending that truly satisfies.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Quire in the hole

Quire: a collection of 24 or sometimes 25 sheets of paper of the same size and quality.  Would it be stretching it to inquire if the depression under our orange tree cares naught about who lowers a warm body into the cooling oasis at its roots? Yesterday, it was a bunny. Today it’s a covey of quail, roughly the same size as the bunny and sharing the similar qualities—the desire for shade and a safe place to nap. A dimple in the rocks visible from our living room window provides us with endless entertainment!