Friday, April 24, 2015


Long before I moved to Phoenix, I knew something of the desert because I had seen Hollywood representations of the desert - usually a lone cowboy lurching across a dry expanse after his horse has died - the sun searing overhead. And I had seen Hollywood "Indians" doing rain dances. I knew that rain in the desert was a precious commodity. But "desert" to me meant an endless landscape of scrub brush and cactus.

On that first day that it rained after my move to Phoenix, I came out of my office and noticed three women standing at the huge window looking out over our parking lot. They were standing and staring out. I was curious. Had there been an accident? What was going on? I looked around the huge room of cubicles and saw other employees going about their business. I walked over to the women at the window and asked, "What's going on?" One of them turned to me with dreamy looking eyes and responded, "It's raining!" An Easterner used to rain, I nodded and walked away, wondering how these crazy people came to be employed.

I later learned that those three women were Phoenix natives. To them, rain still had magic. The rest of us took rain for granted.

Alexander McCall Smith writes a mystery series set in Botswana, a landlocked country in Southern Africa. His hero, Precious Ramotswe describes rain in the desert: "First there was that smell, that smell of rain, so unlike anything else, but immediately recognizable and enough to make the heart of a dry person soar; for that, thought Mma Ramotswe, is what we Batswana are: dry people, people who can live with dust and dryness but whose hearts dream of rain and water."

There is dust aplenty here in Phoenix. It creeps in through the smallest of openings. It gets in machinery. It settles on everything. It is different from normal household dust, which is mainly made up of dead skin cells. No, this dust is outdoor dust, which hangs in the air and invades, an imperceptible army until it accumulates. So when the rain comes, it cleans the air in a way that is hard to describe.

Today, when it began to rain, I stood at the window and stared out at it. I've been in Phoenix for about 12 years now and I'm just beginning to understand the magic of rain and water. My heart is soaring a little as I listen to that gorgeous rain. How could I have been so blind?

Saturday, April 18, 2015


Three sisters. We share the same parents. But we each occupy very unique spaces and have different stories to tell. First, there is my "twin" sister. She's actually 10 months older. But for a few weeks each year, we're the same age, so we call each other "twin". Here we are:

Words and phrases I would use to describe this sister: Tender. Generous of spirit. Tenacious when arguing facts. Easily wounded when attacked on a personal level. Brilliant mind. Singer. Loving. Loyal. Geek. Strives to do the right thing. Cat collector. Muser. Voracious reader. Surprising sense of humor, when she is in the mood! Introvert. Creative problem solver. Justice seeker. Trivia aficionado, though she doesn't always realize something is trivia and is surprised that others don't know! Math brain, but a lover of words --- and Ramen.

My other sister is 8 years older. She left for college when I was not yet 10. We've had a relationship by telephone since then, seeing each other very rarely. Here we are:

Words and phrases I would use to describe this sister: Musical. Rule follower. Natural leader, though she often lets others lead. Nurturing. Brilliant. Witty. Quick. Cozy reader. Has an eye for color like nobody else I know. Survivor. RVer. Sees things, but doesn't feel the need to always say things. Introvert who fakes extroversion quite well. Can capture an idea in very few words. Private. High standards. Delicious laugh.

I love my sisters, but I love them each in a different way.

My "twin" is my lifeline. She is often the very first person I call when I am unable to decide something important. She is a great comfort to me. I know that she will always be honest and straight with me, with her eye on being authentic and gentle in helping me discover my truth. She is my champion. She is my comfort and my refuge.

My older sister has often been someone who seemed out of reach - not in a personal sense, but in the sense that I could never quite measure up. She is a gifted woman with amazing talent. I always looked up to her as someone whose achievements and life choices were beyond my capability. I secretly idolized her, though she probably never realized it. But I was looking at her from a distance. Only within the last year have we really begun to see each other clearly. She has a wonderful soul. And I love laughing with her.

Would I be the same person without these sisters? I don't think so. They are each precious to me. And I am grateful for their presence in my life. Given our genetic history, we should have many years ahead in which to love and laugh together. I hope so!

{My sweetheart read this and asked me, "What about your brother?" This is about SISTERS. I'll devote a separate chapter to my beloved brother.}

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

x is for eXcuse me

A is for Actually, I wasn't even talking to you.
B is for Bite me.
C is for Can you shut up for just ONE MINUTE???
D is for Don't push me, you mouth-breathing idiot.
E is for Every time I have an original idea, you somehow claim ownership!
F is for For God's sake, spare us your melodrama.
G is for Get over it.
H is for Holy Mother of God - what is your problem?
I is for I can not BELIEVE you are bringing that up AGAIN.
J is for Just give me a minute while I try to find words you will actually understand.
K is for Kiss my --- never mind.
L is for Leave the discussion to people who actually know something about this topic.
M is for Make me!
N is for No, I will not.
O is for Oh, HELL no.
P is for Promises, promises.
Q is for Quit assuming that you are the authority on every subject known to humankind!
R is for Research this issue and come back when you know something.
S is for Stop trying to scare everyone with your fake statistics!
T is for Take your assumptions and go jump in the lake.
U is for Until you provide documentation, I'll choose to believe you made that up.
V is for Vilifying what you do not understand simply makes you sound stupid.
W is for What the HECK are you trying to suggest?
X is for eXcuse me, but you are repeating yourself again.
Y is for Yelling does not make your point any more articulate.
Z is for Zip it!

Sunday, April 5, 2015


I dreamed again of a little girl.
This time she was just a flutter,
    that first little sensation of a life growing inside.
But I knew it was her.

She's been coming to me in my dreams,
     reaching through the cosmic ether,
     kissing my soul.

Sometimes she's a toddler, all grins and bustle.
Sometimes she's a small child, full of why and wonder.

I can't decide if this is a child who will come to me in future,
     or the one I lost too early,
     or some version of myself I'm being invited to embrace.

I know it makes me happy to know she's there,
     waiting in my dreams,