To Lola and the Titas, Who I Know Are Here, and I Thank Them

Our ancestors are here. Their light shines through us and we illuminate like the fish bones my Lola would pluck from the crown of my head. They would appear there if I accidentally swallowed one. Then, Lola would feed me perfect bites of fish and rice from her soft hands, assuring I would not swallow another bone. I only remembered this when I found myself doing the same for my own children, fingers to their lips.

I understand why I crave food that reminds me of home; I miss my mom and the family that came with her. I swallowed her stories so long ago that they are mostly lost to me now. But when I make food my ancestors like, they return and I remember. They cling to my clothes and trail behind me wherever I go: garlic, vinegar, soy. They linger in the thresholds, sometimes drifting out into the street, enticing neighbors to ask: What’s cooking? And, I can’t answer, because it’s too awkward to explain to someone you hardly know:

You smell the ghosts of food cooked two days ago. I am happy share the leftovers with you. But, please be prepared to listen as each bite rises from the crown of my head, like steam from hot rice. I’m not chewing. I am talking, and all the tiny bones that hurt to swallow are now illuminated by light.

I bet you won’t ask what’s cooking next time you are passing by and wonder. Or, will you?

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Interesting to observe

Other interesting lives

And what others find interesting.


Don’t you miss Mexico?

I asked him.

I wanted deep conversations.

He wanted to be left alone with his work.


My body and all its liquid


Stark and naked

I am always startled to see it.

Full glory

and grace.

He tells me I’m beautiful.

Then there’s beauty I haven’t developed a pallet for




On the outskirts

Mourning for their proximity

Distanced now.

There was never a choice in the matter.

Many said we’d forget about the dogs

Would cease to love them.


We move through days

tethered to diapers and feedings

and we love the chore.

The smell of humans

Skin to skin

an aroma

that once it hits you

never leaves,

will always be





It all boils down to water.

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Say What You Want To Say

This gallery contains 11 photos.

Grief aches near my heart, rises up into my shoulders and throat. It contracts, becomes full, and opens. The sound of my sob shocks me. It is unrecognizable. Each morning, each night, and all the way in between; it’s uncomfortable. I … Continue reading

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Jungle Room

The plants have all been moved inside. 

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Life, Love and Letttus

 I make a terrible gardener. I’m afraid of bugs and spiders, and I’m  never completely comfortable touching dirt. But the good Lord knows I tried. 

I started with a vigor, clearing the land, laying bricks, planting seeds. I tore up weeds before they crept up too far. And Teo, he was just a babe. I’d have to dart outside as he napped, monitor tied around my neck, and dig in the dirt. Somewhere along the way, I began to link the tilling of my garden with the rearing of Teo, as if the two were intertwined; reflections of one another. I know this is a silly thought, and probably hormone related, for as the hormones waned, and the plants began to grow, and Teo became the sturdy baby I knew he would someday become, I relaxed. I let the weeds grow wild as Teo learned to crawl along the dirt and grass. Flowers grew tall and bountiful, some taller than myself, which isn’t saying much, but 5’1″ is tall for a flower if you ask me. 

No longer fearful of the outcome, I sit beside it. It smells like marigolds and water. I listen. It’s a home for crickets. And it’s where I get my tomatoes these days.

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Dad In Missoula

In all honesty, whenever I hear that one of my parents needs my help, my initial reaction is anger and resentment. Anger for all the times I’ve been thrown in jail for being an “unruly” child, or thrown out on the streets for being a “slut”. Anger because my father abandoned us for a younger, prettier family. Resentment because Mom and Dad were both in denial that they would ever get old and need to be cared for. They never planned for this. Dad used to always tell us that when he was ready to die, he would go out into the woods, lay down and die.

Right now, I feel I deserve nothing but to be enveloped in my new baby, but the needs of my parents are around every one of his milestones.

I understand my anger towards my parents is an attempt to convince myself that my parents don’t deserve my help. Selfishly, I want to simply live my life with carefree ease. Who can blame me?

I call Dad in the hospital.

“I heard you fell,” I say.

“No, that’s not what happened”, he responds. “I was driving through Missoula, trying to get home. I had to stop to rest, and I happened to stop here, at Providence Hospital.”

“Well, I’m glad you’re being taken care of, Dad,” I reply, as my eyes well up with tears. He is thousands of miles from Missoula and hasn’t driven in years. It’s never fun or amusing to witness the frail confusion of someone you love.

“I guess I didn’t realize how tired I truly am,” he tells me.

I remember something I read by Abraham-Hicks, that suggested that the best thing you can do for a person who is not doing well is to envision them in his or her highest, most resilent, healthy state of being. I go to one of Dad’s many boxes of photos I’ve inherited to find a picture of him in his youth to meditate on. I open a box I’ve never opened before to find two journals. In them, my parents have recorded my actions and outfits for the first two years of my life. I read some of the entries. My anger lifts like a fog and my resentment melts away. In their writings, I clearly see how human they are. In their notes, they love immensely and they are flawed, just as we all do and are. 

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Cat Baby


Last night, I dreamt Teo was half kitten, a black and grey tabby. He was substantially adorable. I wish I could show you.

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The Promise


Bill’s been sanding floors.

It is hard work, he reports.

Teo and I stay away those long hours he’s sanding. When Bill’s day is done he’s covered in wood-dust, coated like a soft fawn.

These days, when it’s just Teo and I, I often feel there’s so much going on within 600 square feet of a home and I find myself speaking and thinking in fragments:




So much love.

Poop everywhere.

Pee everywhere.

Dog hair: everywhere.

Tame your fear.


Fear, a survival instinct. Next to it sits the feeling of utter joy. I’ve never been happier as when I’m when I’m carrying Teo on my hip through our apartment and his hand lands on my heart as the dogs trot around my ankles. No, I’ve never been happier. I want to protect this happiness and the feeling drives me mad. I search for faith. There was a time when I was certain there was something beyond what we can see and hear and touch.

I once wrote a shape poem about that time:


I prayed before

bedtime that God

would help me find my

yellow budgie. I had

let her out of her cage.

Perched her in the hibiscus

tree that’s kept in my room

(Mom says it’s because my room

gets the best light). Instead of staying

perched like she was told, she flew off

to somewhere I couldn’t find. So there

in the dark, with my hands neatly folded,

I promised to never doubt God’s existence

if He would please bring me my budgie

(and Egyptian Cartouche necklace. It has

my name spelled in hieroglyphics). I shot that

prayer up like a laser beam through Heaven’s

clouds and my plea flooded all the rooms of

God’s castle. After an hour or so, God agreed

to take me up on the bargain, and I was startled

by the sound of flapping wings. I turned on the

light to see my budgie flying around the ceiling

before he tumbled, wings open, behind the big chair. I never knew birds could fall. I leapt out of bed and pulled the chair from the wall and there was my budgie looking

up at me.Her legs tangled

in my Egyptian Cartouche

necklace. I untangled

her and put her back

her in her cage.

She seemed relieved

to finally be home.

God doesn’t always

agree to my bargains,

just sometimes, every

blue moon or so. And

when He does, it

always surprises

me. And I don’t

know why.

I guess as time moved on and life became even more precious, my faith slowly diminished. It’s not completely gone, I’d just like to beef it up some. I feel like if I don’t, I’ll never be able to let go of this fear and therefore, I won’t be open to receive love and light.

Do you have miracle story that helps you remember why you have faith to begin with?


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We Almost Lived in a Motorhome





We drove to Vermont, where we stayed a few days: frolicked in waterfalls, floated down rivers and slept under trees, before heading out to Cape Cod, a place I had always wanted to see. I ate a chilli-dog along the way.


Cape Cod was different from how I imagined it, though not in a bad way. One night we saw a fog; an eerie, misty fog.



One day, we sailed.



We watched fireworks as the sips of tiny mosquitos stung.


We ate lobster.


I enjoyed sundresses, and holding Sister Dog.


On the way back, we sat in traffic jams. Wretched traffic jams.


I looked out the window, a lot. I saw a motorcycle gang. A real, live motor cycle gang. One member had a baseball bat strapped across his handlebars. I have no pictures to show you. I was too afraid that photographing them would piss them off.


When we arrived to Georgia, my aunt cooked.


And every time I leave, I miss her all over again.


We returned home and I fussed about Mom, her being so far away. The only solution would be to bring her back here, or move down there. We’d have more support with mom down there, but I wondered if we could be both places at once. We decided living in a motor home would be a good way to find out.

Summer22_web Summer21_web

So much has happened between then and now. It was too hard to unravel our life, resolve ourselves of most of our belongings and just move into a motor home. We were uncertain. We still are.

I often wonder how life would be for us now, had we just gone for it, and at times, we talk like it’s still going to happen someday.

Security is only a superstition. It does not exist in nature nor do the children of men, as a whole, experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than out right exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. ~quote by Helen Keller Found in “My Life As a Mountain Guide”, biography of Louis Whittaker.


What about you? Could you give it all up for a life on the road?

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A Cure?


In Savannah, Mom asked if she was dying. My heart soured with sadness.

“We are all dying, Mom,” I answered.

“No, did the doctor tell you that I’m dying?”

“No Mom. The doctor did not say that.”

This disease forces you to face the truth, yet fabrications become necessary.

“But why then,” she went on, “for some reason, does it feel like it’s all coming to an end?”

I miss my mom everyday, and I’m sad when I find myself speaking of her in past tense. I acknowledge that she’s still here, and wonder if the part of her that I know and love has really grown so small, that it’s hardly decipherable. The parts I knew and love only come to me in dreams now, like warm wind, forceful, through the cold, the way it dances through trees just before a storm.

And just as I was about to publish this post, my phone dings: a text from E.

Did you see this? he texted, and the blue letters of a link glow. The link takes me to an article in ScienceAlert: they’ve found a cure for Alzheimer’s.

It comforts me to know E. is thinking of Mom, too. I know this has all been incredibly hard on both of us, but is it true? Could this nightmare be coming to an end?

The news makes me want to celebrate. I’m renewed with hope. Just when I had given up praying for what I finally convinced myself was impossible: life never ceases to surprise me.


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