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Glimpses of Inspiration

North Lake Tahoe

 "Beware the Jabberwock, my son! The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!"      Lewis Carroll


"Let your fiction grow out of the land beneath your feet."   Eudora Welty

Published

"Chicken In Turkey"

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"Tiny Tattoos"

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"Haunted By Glue Guns"

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"Smokey in the boys' room"

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(contributor, page 27)"I Salute You, Mother"

Wednesday
Oct252017

Furry Purrfection

I look at my cat’s face and know there is a God. It is perfect. A symphony of triangles. Her eyes are inverted right triangles, her nose, an isosceles. Her ears and head, more triangles. She’s a plush toy brought to life. How can she not be a gift created for us to love and to be loved by? Endearing playfulness and curiosity, impressive cleverness and agility. Entertainment and beauty elegantly married into life. Then she barfs. 

Tuesday
Jan262016

Ladybug in My Cilantro

Now that there’s hardly a trace of snow, I’m wondering about the fate of a ladybug I found in my cilantro two months ago. Actually there were two of them. After putting the first one outside I saw the other one, its tiny legs desperately working the green contours underfoot. I was fairly certain it was the wife looking for her husband because I could feel her desire to vent. “Charles! I told you we should have asked for directions!”

I put her out with him, feeling kind of bad about it because when I removed the cilantro from the fridge they’d probably thanked God that the cold snap was over. They’d also survived my chopping off the stems and the torrential downpour as I cleaned the bunch. I’m sure they breathed tiny sighs of relief after making it through all that, not to mention their likely misadventures traveling from field to Raley’s produce section.

But I put them out in the frigid Tahoe air. Tell me, though, would a truly heartless person have thrown a sprig of cilantro after them? Doubt it. Besides, they're proven survivors of refrigeration. They’re fine.

Thursday
Dec102015

Goals

Me: You boys need to do something other than Black Ops. You need goals.

Son #3: We have goals.

Son #4: Reach 15th prestige, get gold camo, unlock all pro perks...

Son #3: Get to round 35 on Kino, get to round twenty on “5,” complete all lifetime challenges...

Son #4: So, can we start achieving our goals?

Me: Sigh. 

Thursday
Oct012015

Touched By A Spider

I saw the spider before I stepped into the shower. It wasn’t huge, maybe nickel size. I could have removed it, but didn’t need to. The water current would soon send it down the drain, which had happened the day before, I think with another spider, but you never know. Maybe this was the same spider back for revenge. You know how they do that.

Yesterday, I’d marveled at how the current covered the entire tile floor, pulling in the spider at the edge of the stream, sweeping it along in a graceful swirl pattern—all the while its eight legs wildly strumming—then suddenly disappearing. Thus, when I stepped in today, I figured the same drain sequence would unfold.

It didn’t. The spider had found the no-stream zone, a refuge near the wall with the shower head. No matter how I angled the stream, it would not reach the spider. Obviously, this was a gifted and talented spider. I pushed the shower head more and even kicked water in the spider’s direction, hoping to bump it into the current washing by. It drew in its legs and became a dark blob, an unmoving dark blob. I kept my eye on it as I washed my face, best I could. Its legs popped out. To my surprise, I felt relief. It was still alive. I wanted it to live. It deserved to live. Its struggle for life had been so compelling.

It wasn’t a wash hair day so my shower would soon end. With a quick glance at my shower pal I realized the spider looked different from moments ago. Only six legs were now visible and they were all to one side, making it look like a tiny squid. I wondered if the spider would again pop to life, springing up with all legs out in the right places. It didn’t. I turned off the water and studied it. It still looked wet and heavy. I dried off and grabbed a cotton swab. Perhaps if I gently poked it—the equivalent of arachnid CPR—it would start moving.

The moment the swab touched the spider, I knew it was dead. The drenched blob moved only where I pushed it. My heart sank. I rolled it onto the swab and gave it a proper burial in the nearby porcelain urn. I flushed, sending the spider round and round in its final swirling pattern. I stared after it once it was gone. What had just happened to me, to have been so moved by a spider?

Saturday
Sep132014

Random Acts of Weirdness

I said to my 13-year-old son, “Paul, you left the tortillas on the counter and the bag open.” I looked to the family room where he was sitting on the couch reading a magazine. A half-full bottle of orange Gatorade was balanced on his head. “Paul, why is there a Gatorade bottle on your head?”

He replied, “Why is there not a Gatorade bottle on your head?”

I paused. “Good point.” I put the tortillas away for that one.

Paul can pull off random acts of weirdness. So what’s the difference between funny weird and weird weird, you know, like the boy who used to flip up his eyelids in class?