The Heat Is On*

In a few hours, it will be 95 degrees. I dare not doubt the weatherman’s forecast, as I just left the pre-noon outdoors, and it was already volcano-lava-hot. Any exercise must be done in the wee small hours these days.

Despite getting only three hours of sleep last night, and despite the forecast of a Martha Reeve’s heatwave, I donned my jogging apparel, headed to the local soccer park, and began climbing the hills around the perimeter.

Perhaps the path was once grassy, but now it is a knobby rubble of limestone, ripe for ankle injuries and displaced hips. Save a lone runner wearing what appeared to be a long-sleeved shirt made of shimmery black Glad trash bags ( a self-sauna?), I had the path to myself.

As I ascended, I passed evening primroses, Indian paintbrushes, and daisies, bending into candy cane shapes in the 20+ mph winds. I cinched my ballcap tighter, to the point where I almost felt I was being birthed again. Small white butterflies suddenly appeared, staying two steps ahead of me, swerving about like hybrid cars steered by texting teenagers. There must have been a half dozen of them, apparently delighted by spring. So, too, was I, inhaling the syrupy scent of wafting chinaberry blossoms. I love me some chinaberry trees!

Nearby excavators kicked up limestone dust, as they prepared yet another new subdivision, rising like weeds around here. I turned away, shielding my eyes from the dust, avoiding a head-on collision with a shrubby mesquite tree, and noticing my butterfly friends had departed.

The ridge was steep, and my quads ached, but I thought of our friends at church who do marathons in wheelchairs, and, of course, I always think of Nick Vujicic, the motivational speaker who has no limbs. It hasn’t stopped him from enjoying the beach with his wife and son.

When I got to the top, I took in the sight of rooftops stretching to the horizon. There I was, queen of all I surveyed, lording over the peasant village. It felt good, being so high above other things, looking down on the soccer fields, the tennis courts, the swimming pool (getting freshly-chlorinated), and the parking lots. Perspective changes everything.

I jogged my hour, and that was enough. I didn’t want to. But I was glad I did. Did it burn off the calories I ate in a handful of raw pistachios this morning? Probably not. But sometimes Nike is right. Just do it.



* not to be confused with another cattier post, The Heat Is Not On, Glenn Frey

Little Buds

If you look very closely, you can see the little buds on our vitex tree. Soon it will be covered with purple cone blossoms.

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And the cottonwood tree, which was bare last week, is moving full speed ahead! Look at her go!

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But that stubborn fig tree still thinks it’s winter. He poked me hard in the back when I was mowing last week, and I still have a bruise to show for it. I should cut a wide swath around him next time.

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Dog Park, Part II

Dog Park 021Yesterday, after a second service sermon (oh, how my pastor would love that alliteration) and a meal of brisket, beans, and cole slaw, we took advantage of the 77 degree weather (which has now–as per the usual winter inconsistency–become 44 and will become 18 this evening–honestly, it’s like living in a BIPOLAR vortex) and took our two dogs to the nearby dog park.

While we were there, we noticed an enormous black monster truck of a dog. It didn’t run; it galloped. Furthermore, it lacked any clear features. It was in essence, a big black furry blur. At first, I thought it might be Obama’s Portuguese Water Dog, Sunny, but it was too large. After consulting with my canophilist friend, Lisa, we determined it was in fact a Jacqueline Kennedy Bouvier Des Flandres. And while neither the Kennedys nor the Obamas possessed such a breed, the Reagans did.

Nancy Reagan aptly wrote that the dog grew to be the “size of a pony.”

They named their dog Lucky, like “Get Lucky,” the song that won both album and record of the year last night at The Grammys. While we’re at it, I wonder how long they’ll continue to use those terms: album and record, especially when an entire generation has never touched an actual vinyl record. Or cassette. And they don’t play CDs. Anway, back to behemoth dog…This was what we saw:

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He sniffed around.

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He led the chase.

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He tried to use his size to bully others, but he got back whatever he gave.

Dog Park 035These dogs managed to get him balled up like a circus bear.

Dog Park 060He made a grand exit when he finally departed, and a sense of loss filled the park. Five seconds later, the dogs began molesting each other again.

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What Does The Owl Say?

The Barred Owl is also known as the Hoot Owl and the Eight Hooter and the Rain Owl and the Wood Owl and the Striped Owl. Oh, my goodness, I think that’s all the adjectives and nouns that exist. We saw this sign at the Nature & Science Center and cracked up at the mating call of the barred owls:


Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you all?  Is that a rhetorical question?


Actually, where I live, it should be, “Who cooks for y’all?” But owls probably don’t have a regional dialect.

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