Category Archives: memoir


When I was in high school, my choir director was a fun, goofy guy. One day he was assigning locations for sectional practice and said “Soprano’s in the back room, Toids, stay in here, Men in the practice room” We looked at him funny for a second. “What?”


“Oh. Yeah. Well I was thinking Altos, altoids… toids.”

His train of thought made a lot of sense and resulted in a fun nickname for my section, but it only gained him weird glances at first because none of us were aware of his reasoning.

I encounter this a lot. Maybe it’s because I hang out with a an assortment of characters and have eclectic tastes. Maybe it’s because I have an overactive imagination. Whatever the reason, I tend to make connections that leave people going “huh?”

This inevitably leads to me trying to explain my convoluted thought process and more often than not giving up. Some things are better left off inside my head. I do have a lot of awesome stories to tell though and it is disappointing when people don’t “get” them or don’t care enough to listen all the way through.

But life is mostly us reliving and retelling the lessons we’ve learned. We share our experiences with others so that they mean something. The people and events that make up my past and my present are imperative to who I am.

So I will babble on, ignoring the fact I am being ignored.

Not that everyone ignores me. Some people listen, and share their stories in return. Let’s hope that that remains the case when more than two people read my blog.

Special Places

In Jerry Spinelli’s book Stargirl, which I wrote about yesterday, Stargirl talks about enchanted places. Often these are places that she goes to meditate. This got me thinking about special places and why we need them.

As a child, I always wanted a tree fort. Forts are supposed to be magical places where secrets are kept and anything can happen. Forts offer a solace from the busy outside world. A tree fort offers the benefit of being literally rooted in nature. You’re surrounded by leaves, branches, the traces of animals. And the best thing about a tree fort is that it doesn’t just come to you. You have to ascend out of the everyday and into the magical. You might even have to build it yourself. Working for the ability to be in your own special place makes it even more magical. Read the rest of this entry

Car History Part 3: Freddie


After the traumatic experience of watching my car burn to a crisp on the side of the road, it’s a wonder that I wanted to drive again at all. But I still needed to get places, and an automobile seemed a lot more convenient than a bike or just walking everywhere.
And so the search for an affordable vehicle began again.

This time less than a month passed before I heard from my mechanic. He was actually looking to sell one of his personal vehicles, since his wife was tired of having seven cars and trucks lying around the place. He had a nice little GMC truck, would I be interested? I went to check it out, and instantly fell in love. The truck was a beautiful light blue. He was perfect.

Dale warned me that the truck had a four-cylinder engine and was a bit wimpy, so I shouldn’t rush intersections while I had the air conditioning on. My friend Sydney took me to get my truck and get the appropriate paperwork filled out. We decided right then that my truck needed a name.

“He’s definitely a boy,” I said. “But he’s so pretty!”

“OMG He’s Gay!” Sydney exclaimed! “His name should be Lance! After Lance Bass, because he’s pretty AND gay! And Lancelot, cause knights are awesome!” It was decided.

Later, I told my mom, and she was skeptical. “Lance?” That doesn’t sound like a name you’d choose.”

“Well, I thought about Freddie for a second… but Lance is perfect. But Freddie could be after Freddie Mercury! and Freddie Prinze Jr! One is gay and the other pretty! hmm… Oh! I know, I’ll call him Frederick Lancelot the Third! Since he’s my third vehicle. He can be Freddie or Lance for short depending on my mood.”

A beautiful friendship has blossomed between Freddie and I since. In the past six years he had become dented, but they scars just add character to his beautiful blue exterior. He has transported me safely on many roadtrips, and in return I have tried to take care of him best as I can.

“Hopefully he doesn’t succumb to a fiery death like Thelma” I tell Beth and Katy one night at our favorite coffee shop.

“No, that’s been done. Freddie is doomed to drown! You better learn what to do when your car is submerged in water! or if you’re caught in an avalanche!”

And so I have.

Car History Part 2: Thelma


One good thing about the period where I hadn’t had my car was that I made really good friends with my co-workers. School was closer to work than my house, so I would usually walk there straight from school if I worked, which put me there an hour early. So I hung out in the lobby and joked around with whoever was working. But on days when I worked later, or on weekends, I still had to walk. It was a cold winter. I ended up being sick almost all of January, and missing out on some shifts because of it. That was not helping my car fund.

Finally, in April, my mechanic called. He knew we were looking for a car, and one of his customers was looking to sell his. I was excited beyond belief. I was getting a car! It was another Oldsmobile, a white LSS. Dale, my mechanic, checked it out for me and made sure it was in good condition before we bought it. I had to make some payments, because the insurance money wasn’t enough to cover it, but it was the best deal we were going to get. Once again, I had a car.

I named her Thelma, because she was an old lady. I had not seen Thelma and Louise, but I had heard of it, and I thought Thelma was the perfect name for my car. Unfortunately, that gave her a horrible fate. Read the rest of this entry

Car History Part 1: The Crapsmobile


One of my favorite stories to tell is my car history. My truck is very dear to me, and how I came to get him is quite an entertaining story. So, I’ve decided to relate the story in 3 parts, one for each car that I’ve owned. So I hope you have some popcorn and possibly a tissue box (ok, you probably won’t need one, but I did at the time.) Here’s part one; Come back the next two days for the rest of the story.

Like every teenager, I couldn’t wait to get my driver’s license and a car. Getting a car meant freedom. It also meant I had to get a job. But before I could even start to worry about that, I had to learn to drive. Read the rest of this entry

Childhood Nature Memory

During my last semester of college, I took a science writing class. Despite it’s name, and luckily for me, it was not about writing technical science jargon or lab reports. It mostly covered nature writing and bringing scientific issues to the general population by interweaving personal experiences with  scientific fact.

I loved the class, which was taught by Ceiridwen Terrill, author of Part Wild, a memoir about her experiences owning a part wolf.

In the class, we were told one day to write a childhood nature memory, using as much detail as possible. Here is the result.

Childhood Nature Memory

As I walk down the overgrown paths near my Grandma’s house, the sights overload my nine-year old brain. I’m visiting Grammy and her husband, Tom, in Yerington, Nevada, which is basically the middle of nowhere. The land is mostly desert, but not far from the house there’s a patch of trees. To my mind, I’m in an endless desert that in need of exploring. I run into the house every night rambling about the animal prints I see. “Maybe if you were quieter, you’d see some animals too.” Grandpa Tom quips. I don’t really pay attention to him though. The animals obviously just didn’t come out to play at the same hours I did.

One evening, Grammy decides that we are going for a walk. We walk along an animal beaten trail toward the trees. When we get near a clearing before the tree cluster, Grammy pulls me back, telling me to be quiet. Seconds later, the clearing is filled with almost fifty deer, heading toward the water that I can’t believe exists in this barren land. Not a hundred feet away from us are more deer than I’ve seen in my entire life.

Later at the house, I tell Grandpa Tom what we’ve seen. “See! I am quiet enough!” Grammy and Tom just looked at each other mischievously and let me continue my excited ramblings.