Spring in Arizona. Time for capricious weather, breezy days, warm afternoons and POLLEN. Great clouds of yellow juniper pollen. People all over town are wearing a fetching shade of red around their noses, from the constant wiping. The companies that make Puffs and Kleenex have probably taken all the money they're making from us and thrown on the office floor to roll around in. Naked. And the woman who invented Zyrtec? We're nominating her for a Nobel Sneeze Prize.

Our cars have a yellow film of pollen. Our trash cans are full, but light because they're just full of tissues. But we love spring anyway. Tulips are in full bloom and the fruit trees are blossoming, too.

It makes me want to clean. And bake. And buy Easter candy. I love the joyous feeling of renewal that comes with spring and Easter. Each New Year seems like a chance to start over, and hopefully not repeat mistakes of the past; spring feels like a chance to liven up, rekindle your passion, freshen your environment and make things happen. After you're done sneezing, of course.

Last night, in a fit of spring excitement, I started on the sequel to my book. The story idea has been churning around in my brain for a while now: an unformed mess of fragments. When I leave it to ferment a while, it almost seems to organize itself into a sensible, connected series of thoughts. That's a great place to start writing. So I did. It took me 2.5 years to finish the first novel. I don't know what to expect on this one, except that if I didn't get started, it probably wouldn't get done, right? I think I've heard that somewhere before.

The other thing that spring brings to my house is a shedding dog. Oh. My. Heavens. You never saw such a shedding machine as my old blue dog. Every year she sheds enough that I could gather up the fur and knit another dog just like her. She looks like she has some crazy case of Mange. Huge chunks of fluffy blue undercoat swirl around on the spring breeze all over our yard. It migrates into the house (she's an outside dog), it packs up in her favorite napping spot like a felt bath mat. When she sits and looks at you, she is surrounded by her own fur floating around her like a nimbus. It's probably in the neighbor's yards downwind and I bet they're wondering where the hell all the blue fur is coming from.

And guess what? Dog fur makes me sneeze. Who says God doesn't have a sense of humor? :-)

What I See--Alita

Oh, Alita! What can I say? We've known eachother for so many years! Alita and I became acquainted first because our husbands worked to...