Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Desert Rat

I gave my high school boyfriend a potted cactus for Valentine’s Day. All my friends gave their boyfriends fresh roses.

“I don’t get it. What are you trying to say?” he asked.

“It won’t die,” I said.

He gave me a look and then smiled. “You are so strange! I dig it.”

I’m a desert rat.

I grew up in an inhospitable environment. I like it. It’s tough on the outside. Protects itself from harm.

Every plant, tree and bush is like DON‘T MESS! OR I’LL CUT YOU!

YIKES! I say to the Prickly Pear cactus lodged in my ankle.

Mad Respect, I say.

But the desert also has a softness.

My heart melts into nothing when I see a family of Quail. Mama in front followed by 5 or 6 tiny birdies and Papa at the rear. Papa thinks he’s all tough and trying to protect and defend. Sadly he is at the bottom of the food chain and is just that… FOOD.

I love how they are all dressed up with a fluffy flippy feather stickin’ straight up out they heads. Sooo cute!

I liked growing up in the desert because then I could watch the cowboys shoot off a rattle snake head. BLAM! SPLAT!

The desert is tough!

The desert is hungry.

A month ago my sister’s husband thought it would be a great idea to buy CHICKENS. Yeah. CHICKENS with feathers and everything. He wanted fresh eggs.

So he built a sturdy coop with whatever coops are made of.

He was being watched…


They waited until the chickens were secure in their new home and my bro-in-law was at church.


I imagine the chickens said, BOK BOK CLUCK… HOLY SH*T!

The coyotes tore the carefully constructed coop to shreds and devoured the lil biddies.

Can you imagine what that last hen thought as she waited for her turn? She was like, BOK BOK THROUGH THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW OF DEATH…. FEAR NO EVIL… *SCREAM*

And scene.


When I was in elementary school we played in the desert during recess.

We hid under mesquite trees and made forts and threw each other with rocks.

Someone always ended up falling in the cacti.

“WAAHHHH HAAAA! Help!” said Francisco with a face full of Jumping Cactus. We always assisted The Francisco in question to the school nurse.

The school nurse always had tweezers at the ready. It was not unusual to go to the nurse’s office and find a child whimpering with his pants around his ankles as Nurse methodically plucked both her mustache and his back side.

Did you know Jumping Cactus (also called Teddy Bear Cactus) will ATTACK you?! Yeah. If you walk by and even THINK about giving it a dirty look it will fly full force into your left leg and will make a FOOL of you as you dance around and whimper and attempt to dislodge it with your fingers.

If you are ever attacked by a Jumping Cholla Teddy Bear Cactus don’t use your fingers to remove it!!! You must use two sticks (like chop sticks) and pry it off. Then you may throw your friend with the sticks because whilst you were jumping around as though you had a jalapeno shoved up inside your booty she was laughing at you .

The desert taught me to be tough. To watch my step. Protect myself against Pricks.

I am raising my children in the desert.

They often come to me with complaints.

“Mama! I have pokies in my feet!”

“It’ll put hair on your chest,” I say to my little girls as I pull out the tweezers.

This world is full of Pricks and I want my children to be prepared.

PS I live with my parents. This is the shack they live in. When we were teens we called it The Great And Spacious Building. (It’s a Mormon joke…)