More Than Arm’s Length Now

my 4-legged son assumes the donut position
on the couch while I read and write at the dining table
signaling season’s end
friday afternoon
45 days ago we were inseparable
and some fear global warming
while I wonder who rescued who

Inspired by Annika Jensen’s William in Midnight Meanders




All you have to do is look at my four-legged son to understand. Those who have eyes will see. We met on my birthday in 2009. My husband mentioned our conversation about having a puppy to a friend at work and it happened that his dog had recently given birth to a male and female mini terrier mix. Bailador, who had yet to show me his name, was delivered to our door in less than an hour after I arrived at our place in Phoenix. My husband went to the door and, when his friend from work stepped inside, greeted me from across the room and rested something small and furry on the ground, it was all over but the shouting. I went down on my knees weeping for joy. The fur moved in my direction and licked away my tears. Though I had arrived late, the plan remained to go out for a birthday dinner. It didn’t seem right to welcome a new member of the family and leave him at home so I emptied the contents of my shoulder bag, put my pink neck roll inside and set the puppy upon it and took him along for the ride. We became inseparable.

Silencing the Flesh

I don’t know where I get the chutzpah sometimes. The following string of complaints actually came out of my mouth in response to the generic, how are you, while making a donation to a woman’s shelter today.

I’m sorry the bag burst as I was putting it in the truck and there’s more on the patio where I used to live, but I couldn’t carry the last big box. I just moved and didn’t place the order in time to have the gas connected before the holiday so I’ve been showering at the gym since Thursday. I just put my dog up for adoption and I teach online but my internet’s down.

Instead, I should’ve given thanks for all God made possible for them to do, for me to give, for the jobs we all have and that I had the company of a precious pup for two years. I immediately saw my half-empty response as a ruse of the enemy and returned to praising God for every tear, trial and triumph. I recalled Jesus’ invitation in Oswald Chambers’ devotional yesterday. Watch with me.

Simple Pleasures

Papi Celestial wants us to have it all, to know and love Him much the way He knows and loves us. Only to prevent spiritual bends (akin to decompression sickness experienced by some divers) as we emerge along the journey, He slows things down so we can adjust. I got that insight while walking the dog this evening. For context, recall the verse affirming that “all things work together for good to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). I’d been noticing how my back felt fine despite not having aligned it before leaving the bedroom this morning. I smiled almost coyly noticing that the whole back thing may just have been His way of getting my attention and allowing me to choose to slow down and sit with him first thing each morning – a practice that will continue and, cloaked in the form of a medical directive, remains unchallenged by all. Nice work!

The night sky a perfect periwinkle
a melon sweet as perfume
wonton soup to put all others to shame and
91 degrees in the desert.

It just doesn’t get any better, I say.
God says, watch Me!

After Reading An Email

I just want to stay home with my dogs and listen to the cars or the wind rushing purposefully by.

I write the following to the friend whose words brought me crashing back into contact with my would-be-writing-self:

breath-taking, ,
how can i go anywhere now
except back to the blank page
a life’s reply is the only response
respectful enough

did i mention i am launching an immigrant lit class for summer 1
then in class 16 weeks this fall
somehow, until now,
i thought i might be ready…to read…to cipher through
the sinews of such shared pasts
suffocatingly present

i am the one laid out
in need of some hand to hold



Puppy Trubs

Took puppy to the dog park this evening when communications broke down with hubby. We didn’t agree when it was time to leave so I sauntered to the car and retrieved the treats stashed in the armrest. He was waiting by the gate when I returned and sat when I said so.
We went over to Lowe’s for paint samples and light spackle and he stayed in the car with water and a handful of blue buffalo.
Hubby had no appetite when we returned so I cooked and enjoyed dinner myself, responded to email, took a shower while updating software and heard some whimpering at the door when I was drying off. I asked Gulliver what was wrong but am not up to speed on puppy lingo as yet. This was new behavior. I still did not catch on. And it IS a full moon.
When I came out and returned to check on the update, I got up for something – a birthday card – and when I returned to my seat I noticed the dark circle underneath. On closer inspection the liquid was still warm though relatively odorless.
Controlling my voice and surprisingly little anger, I rubbed his nose in it and said, No, Bad Dog, with not much enthusiasm. I simply felt defeated.
As far as I know it’s only the second time in eight months that such has occurred. I’d been singing such praises only four hours earlier in the dog park. Is this the type of thing that leads to home ownership?
One sage from the dog park related her efforts to housebreak her bundle of fur. Whenever he had an ‘accident’ she’d clean it up and place a small dish of his food next to it. Only she ran out of dishes. I tried the same thing. Gulliver simply went over to the small dish and began eating. I felt humiliated on his behalf. I don’t think the same strategy works for a dog that’s already housebroken. I don’t think he was sending me any message beyond, “I had to pee and you were in the shower. I barked. You shushed.” End of story. Despite my poor behavior he sleeps at my feet even now.

Snippet #2601

But whose counting? You walk in a dog park there’s going to be poop. There are two kinds of people in a dog park: those who pick it up and those who don’t. I’m of the former set and my husband of the latter. Tonight, in exasperation, I actually said, it’s a waste of brain power to remember where the poop was in order to avoid it when you walk around again in the coming darkness when you could just pick it up when you see it the first time. So I get the just desserts of those who speak their conscience but don’t act on it. Gulliver decides to roll in the grass, on purpose, exactly in the place where a nice bit of warm, soft poop was left behind. Only I didn’t discover this till he runs over to us for a quick how-do before taking off for an old acquaintance. I rub the soft hair at the back of his neck just ahead of his harness and, oops, there it is! I was smeared. I raise the offending fingers to my husband and say, THAT’s why we pick up the poop when we see it! He doesn’t seem to make the connection. So I repeat myself, bringing the hand closer to his face. He asks if it smells bad. Now, on a good day, I’m not the finger sniffing type. At dusk, in the dog park, even less. Of course it smells bad, I shriek, it’s POOP! I can laugh at myself now, after Gulliver’s had a bath. After the power struggle to see who’d end up the wettest is over. After I force his bum down over the drain in the kitchen sink for the umtieth time, yelling, SIT! as close to his muzzle as possible without getting a mouthful of dog hair. After his near instant licking forgiveness threatens to bring me to tears. After I scrub him dry, at first roughly, with the hand towel my husband drapes over a chair in the dining room when I ask for the BIG BLACK TOWEL. After I cocoon our four-legged son in the big towel I have retrieved from the linen closet and, more gently now, clean his ears, dry his tail and toes. After I imagine I would sit there rocking a damp dog on my lap forever or at least until one of us had to pee. But then and there, in the dog park, when I had opportunity to enjoy confirmation of having been right, again, and couldn’t, I was far from being in a laughing mood.