Tag Archives: short stories

The Evolution Of Things

Phones aren’t phones anymore.  It’s not a thing you use to call people.  It’s a thing you use to avoid people.  I’m guilty of it. I’m in the store and spot someone I haven’t seen in a long time.  I like them just fine but I don’t really want to talk to them. I pull my cell phone out and look busy.  I might “like” one of their updates on Facebook as I take a left in the cat food aisle even though I don’t need cat food.  It’s easier to have a relationship with your phone than people– it’s never wrong about how to get somewhere even if it’s never been there before.  It’s funny.  I ask it the same silly questions and laugh every time.  Calls have become intrusive.oil

Spy Hunter was one of the best video games ever.  I never owned it–  it owned me and my milk money.  Quarters that were supposed to be used to buy a carton of milk at lunch time never made it out of the Short Stop gas station I would race to each morning.  The little bell on the door would announce my arrival and the smell of the pizza pockets in the glass case would test my loyalty to Spy Hunter.  I could save three days of milk money and be able to buy a pizza pocket if I really wanted to.  A few times a year I’d have a dollar but it was too unpredictable to count on so I just made up my mind that I only liked the smell of pizza pockets not the taste.  This allowed me to suck in all the greasy pizza pocket aroma I wanted without feeling like I should have saved my money for the pizza pocket.  If I happened to glance at someone who did buy a pizza pocket and sat down at the little deli table near Spy Hunter, I would quickly break the gaze and remind myself that even though the cheesy strands that stretched unbelievable lengths before bending to gravity looked just like the cheese on real pizza, it was scalding hot from being trapped in the toasty dough pocket.

The summer before I had $1.25 that I was going to use to get into the city pool.  They wouldn’t let us in because we didn’t have bathing suits, only cut off shorts.  As we walked back to the trailer park, I could see the spirits of my sister, neighborhood best friend and two of my little brothers were low.  I collected their pool money from them and told them we could still have fun at the gas station and even had enough to get three pizza pockets and split them.  I wolfed my half down so fast I scalded my whole mouth with the hot pizza sauce and cheese.  It wasn’t like the sauce and cheese from pizza, it was better.  I took a drink from the root beer we were sharing and it burned even more.  I made myself forget the cheese and sauce were from heaven during the rest of the year.  When my sister or brother would look at the glass case I would remind them of the bad burns I had for a week and they would nod.  They remembered we hated pizza pockets on that particular day.

I usually got a dollar when my grandma from California visited.  She always had dollars and would give each of us one after she gave us our hugs and commented on how much we had grown.  As soon as we got the dollar she would start in on how we better listen to my mom and not fight with each other.  We didn’t have a phone at our house but my mom would save her quarters and call my grandma from the payphone outside the grocery store.  Sometimes we would go to town just to use the phone.  If my mom was really tired she would park in front of the phone booth but wait in the car with my sister and brothers.  I would take the change and run into the phone booth and pick up the heavy and important feeling phone.  I’d start dropping the change into the slot and after each coin disappeared I’d poke my finger at the little trap door where some of the coins might return. Once the coins had been accepted I would begin dialing the number I had memorized.  You always had to dial a 1 first because it was to a different state.  Then the area code.  All my mom’s family lived in the 208 area code.  It was always sunny and beautiful in 208.  It had to be– that’s where oranges, grapes and lemons grew.  It was sunny enough to wear shorts the whole year around unless you actually lived in 208.  If you lived in 208, you would think it was too cold for shorts in December and probably even wear a jacket when I thought it was warm enough for shorts.  I had to pretend I was cold one winter when we went after my cousin told me it was weird I thought it was hot.  One of her friends asked me if we were poor and that’s why I didn’t wear a jacket in the morning even though it was really cold.  She said her mom told her she should be nice to poor people and not make fun of them.  I told her she was dumb and we were not poor.  We had plenty of jackets but only wore them if it was snowing.

No one in 208 had ever heard of Spy Hunter or pizza pockets.  They didn’t go to gas stations, they had little trucks parked along the sidewalk that sold laundry soap, chips, snow cones and real tacos.  We told them not to feel bad that they lived spyhuntergamesomewhere without cool video games to spend their milk money on the way to school.  We told them how pizza pockets were even better than real pizza because the cheese stayed extra hot–  the crust was like a little bread oven that kept everything steamy.  My littlest brother started crying.  We all tried to get him to shut up–  my mom could hear him cry down the street even if there were a million other little cry babies around.  I made the 208 girl with the winter jacket on give my brother her chips to quiet him down convincing her that if my mom came out there, she would set off a chain of mom’s interrupting a scheduled game of shark and freeze tag.  It would be her loss.  Our mom would go back inside once she saw my brother was happy but her mom looked especially grouchy and she might not get to play the game and this was no ordinary shark freeze tag game…..I would be showing them how to use the secret oil slick trick to avoid being tagged.  She gave him her soda too.

After my parents divorced, we moved to a bigger town and had a phone in our house.  My grandma would call right to the house and I don’t remember ever knowing her phone number by heart again.  My mom would keep a little notebook with all the phone numbers in there.  We would have long distance when we first connected the phone but after a month or two we would get it disconnected from talking to much to the 208 and not paying the phone bill.  My mom would just call from a friends house or my grandma would call in to the house if we still had a working line–  you could have a working line to get incoming calls but no long distance calls out.  My brothers were all in school now, even the little one.  He never played Spy Hunter but loved to play Nintendo.  Him and the rest of the former cry babies were so good at Mario Brothers they knew how to cheat the game.
They would trap a turtle and kick the shell repeatedly against a pipe in the game and it would give them extra points and lives.  I never knew if the people who made the game meant for people to be able to do that or not.  It didn’t seem right to cheat the game.  I tried to play Mario Brothers but didn’t like the controller.  I was used to the turtleshellcontrollers being fixed to this massive box I would lean against.  They would make fun of how I moved the controllers like I was driving a car–  they held the controllers a special way and mostly just used their fingers to move the tiny buttons in all different directions at the same time.  When I got to the place where you could cheat, I would hand the controller over to one of my brothers so they could rack up points for me.  It wouldn’t matter, I never lasted long.  These games seemed like they could go on forever.  There wasn’t any season to take a break from them like Spy Hunter free summers.  The day we didn’t make it into the swimming pool was the only summer day I played the game.  I only got milk money during school time.  It was no fun watching someone else play the game and eat pizza pockets so I stayed out of the Short Stop during summer.

Mario Brothers lived in our living room.  He was always on as long as no one reset the game, used up all the ill gotten turtle shell extra lives or turned the game off.  We owned the game and it owned us.  Newer systems came out with wireless controllers and new adventures for old characters.  New worlds are layered over and connections have little in common with joysticks or controllers- access has nothing and everything to do with being connected today.  I am always connected and it’s never just a game.  It’s evolved.  I can eat pizza pockets anytime now and can even find a table at the Short Stop if I want to.  I drove thru the little town the other day when I went to see my dad.  I grabbed a handful of napkins and slid into the empty bench at the table.  The other seats were taken.  I couldn’t say for sure but I think I went to school with one of the guys sitting there–  it looked like he was with his son.  They all had their heads down, eyes fixed on their phones. Connected and entertained–  from games to gaming.


The True Story of Nacho & Super Bug

WP_20150724_08_38_32_ProAlmost a year ago I gave my dad a mission. He accepted.  I wanted to see what he saw.  You can know someone your whole life and one day accept and admit you probably don’t even know yourself. Nacho and his super bug is a case of a child thinking they are outsmarting their parent–  forgetting that they only let you believe this.

I can see how his questions and interest were leading me to a mission.  He wanted to see what I saw when he showed me why I am as I am.

He likes bugs.  I mean, he really likes bugs.  I am sure there is a message in the bug pictures, a riddle.  I discover clues every time I explore the images downloaded from his story card- SD card sounds so boring and Nacho is anything but boring.

The grasshopper is his favorite. In fact, he drove around for two days with great care not to dislodge super bug from his perch.  I wish I could say no bugs were harmed in the making of this collection but super bug looks suspiciously serene for a grasshopper.  In general, grasshoppers aren’t known for being good photo shoot models.

My definition of beauty is about feeling.  My curiosity is curious.  I believe the impossible is impossible until it’s possible.  I’ve seen a world where an outwardly reserved patriarch laughs so loud no one can hear it. The mystery of the echos he’s timed for me to hear at the precise time I need it cannot be captured.  They float free between yesterday and tomorrow landing on the banks of where we we all meet in the distant someday.  The hint of remorse and restrained hope shout to the keen listener.  I shout back.  Forgiveness is a heartbreaking series of reliving something that never should have been and then letting it go until the next time.  I tell a story of a time he says I was too young to remember.  The old Polaroid is always tucked in the space between the glass and frame.  The picture inside the frame is not the one that matters, it’s a canvas for the very real business of life.  The judgement of a young daughter resounded and carried the one thing we all need.  Our purpose is revealed with time.




Dog Gone

He usually has good advice
He usually has good advice

I’m all for taking inspiration from nature. Here’s an instance of taking it too far. My dog has beautiful color. He’s lucky– it’s natural. I had his beautiful coat in mind as I walked back and forth in the hair color aisle. I pulled out my cell phone a few times and held it up to the rows of hair dye boxes.  I found one that looked like a close match for my soon to be new look.  I was excited to get back home and start the hair makeover.  The end result was less than natural. True story.

This had happened before–  I’m no stranger to hair gone wrong. My hair didn’t look so bad in the forgiving light of the bathroom.  It’s always dusky in there and a dim room does wonders for my hair and skin.  Everything always looks great in there.download (2)

The hair dye had only dyed the top section of hair. Tiers are good if you are talking about UNESCO protected rice fields in Japan or even wedding cake.  You don’t really want your hair to ever be described as tiered.  There were three prominent bands of color perfectly tiered and colorful.  It reminded me of those rocket popsicles. You know, download (4)those tri-color popsicles that are shaped like a rocket.  Now before you say, “That’s not so bad,” the pictures didn’t do the vibrant orange section of the rocket justice.  It was a mix of gray and orange at the top, the rest of my hair did their own thing.  I needed them to work as a team and they turned on me.

The dog looked up at me several times and while I’ve never seen a dog laugh, I’m sure that’s what he did.  I tried to get him to sit still in front of the mirror with me so I could compare shades.  He proved to be squirrely in addition to being a sneaky fox with mind control powers.  My husband aaaaaDSCN0483once again proved his love by agreeing to go to the store and getting me a dark color to cover up.                   As I waited for a new box of makeover magic, I had plenty of time to think about where I might have went wrong. I thought about calling the hair colorist expert, I had never seen the number on the box.  Lots of good information on boxes if you take time to read them.  Instead, I reflected deeply. Perhaps the dog wasn’t the best person to ask about my new look. Imitation is the best form of flattery. He was pleased with himself.

Plenty of time to think

Fotos Y Recuerdos






All photos by I. Garay

Words by Me ❤

The Day I Gave My Dad A Camera

He is a man of few words.  As the years go by, it becomes clear he has something to tell me.  Isn’t that just the way it is with everyone.  Each morning begins with new resolve, today will be the day I say, “I love you.”

He’s been on a mission I wish he would have began so many years ago.  I’ve lost the child in me that would ask questions and miss the signs it made him uncomfortable.  I’m a polite daughter, a caring daughter– all the things a good daughter should be.

A new voice with words I’ve yet to learn, pierces my heart even though the meaning escapes me.  His eyes rest on shots I would overthink.  He sees something he needs to tell me in each image we look at together each time we meet.  I can’t ask what I want to.  Like so much with my father, directness must be set aside.  Instead I ask what he likes about the picture.  I see such emotion.  I hear the words I now understand were there the entirety of my life.

Lupus & Me: Mirror Mirror

Moon face.  It’s an incredible change to your face that seems to happen overnight when you are pumped full of things to suppress your own immune system. My chipmunk cheeks are one of the final reminders that just a few weeks ago I was in the hospital.  When I woke up that day, I felt fine.  It was lupus again with a reminder that fine was only skin deep.  Not even skin deep if I made the mistake of letting the sun rest on any part of my face for too long.

The last several months were peppered with visits to the emergency room and follow up visits–  if I didn’t have a diagnosis of lupus already, it would have been understandable if my family questioned my sanity.  My fingers would turn a scary shade of grape for a while.  My feet began to play dead, well that’s what it felt like.  They were cold which was no problem, right?  I love fuzzy socks.  A few days before being admitted to the hospital I grabbed the brush on the dresser near my bed.  My legs stretched out still on the bed as I sat up and scooted back against the headboard.  I leaned forward and tapped the brush handle against my ankle bone.  I could see it make contact but nothing, I could feel nothing.  One foot playing dead and the other unsure of it’s next move.  This was new but as unwelcome as the old ways lupus usually surfaced.

Symptoms like arthritis are easy to describe and not too hard to confirm.  Even without tests, you can feel swelling of joints aflame. Weird things like a bulging hot fluid bubble hanging off your elbow are quickly identified. This lady on the bus asked if she could feel it.  She seemed harmless so I agreed.  “Bursitis,” she said, “it’s called bursitis and it hurts like hell doesn’t it?” There is comfort sometimes in having a name, something to call what keeps you up at night.  My sleep wasn’t chased away by the unknown anymore, it stopped needing a reason to escape me a long time ago.  More than 10 years ago I fell into a hole.  It was dark day after dark day, mostly because no one close to me knew what was wrong.  Doctors are just people and sometimes a case becomes too much so they give you a referral and wish you the best.  They don’t want to see you again and it’s nothing personal.  When systemic lupus attacks the brain it can resemble anything from a forgetfulness, demonic attack to straight up insanity .  They are called neuropsychiatric disorders and can leave as quickly as they start.  Most of the time it doesn’t come on full force.  It can progress slowly over weeks and months.  In some cases, like mine, it was a rapid descent that took over in a matter of days.  It would only take a few days to emerge once the steroids and chemotherapy hit my system.  I think we all have at least one experience in life that becomes more than a collection of memories.  You tell your life story and there is a before and after that time– sometimes because it’s easier to reference it but stick to talking about every other thing around it.  It’s not a bad strategy and in my case might have worked–  maybe lupus was offended I had started referring to it as , “….the time I got really sick.”

I’ve never really seen the spot where the needle entered my spine.  The doctors were searching for an answer to explain the sudden onset of behavior that began as peculiar and peaked at frightening.  The spinal tap ruled out certain bacteria and some types of infection.  My fingers twitched and locked in the most unnatural way.  The television in my room crashed to the floor after I disconnected it from the wall, then from the satellite dish and DVD player.  Anything to make things stop, things I knew were only possible if I was crazy.  A commercial that started out harmless fooled me and was the last thing I remember before pulling the tv this way and that way trying to shut it up.  My husband and mother ran to the door and since the doorknob had been removed earlier that week, the chair I put in front of it was no good.  I thought I was protecting them from whatever demons lived in my room and followed me everywhere except to the mailbox.  I took to checking the neighbors mailboxes at all hours to get relief from talking shadows and something I am certain was the devil.  Even though all of this is crammed into, “…the time I got really sick,” talking around it really only made me question if it all really happened.  Everyone gets sick, right? Not everyone ends up in a padded room, literally in a padded room.  It was a hard return to normal last time.  After, I remember being afraid to smile too much or be too happy–  what if people thought I was acting weird.  The little square of emotions I decided were safe and didn’t make me stand out became my normal for a time that lasted much longer than the prescriptions and weekly treatments.  That was last time.

I’m sure if I opened up that yellow envelope holding medical records from the months surrounding what the doctors called a flare, I would find answers.  Answers and reassurances that I wasn’t crazy.  That envelope has sat in the same box for a long time unopened–  I think the part I know is enough about the last time.  Flares are for the road, to warn people.  I always thought they looked like dynamite and marveled at the magic when I saw the light crack through the red papery skin of the dynamite stick.  The time leading up to my flare that changed my life was painful ignorance.  After the days searching a mirror for a glimpse of me, it was still painful.  Losing control is like a falling feeling and I am not the kind of person that likes either.

I can’t get rid of lupus but it can get rid of me.  It’s as much a part of me as the veins and synapses that translate forgotten memory to whisper to sigh.  There is no magic pill to kill lupus.  There is no test except the one that brings you within an inch of death sometimes and unmasks what you wish remained unseen.

I kept the news that I was in the hospital quiet this time. In a few days, it will be the 1 month mark.  The day I woke up and went to quick doctor’s appointment during an early lunch from work and found myself in a hospital. Honestly, I don’t know why I asked the few people who knew to give me space.  Maybe because sometimes I think it’s harder for people I care about.  Maybe because it makes it easier for me to tell myself a nice lie I need once in a while.  There isn’t anything they can do.  Their words and feelings conveyed to me over a lifetime are enough to sustain me through darkest times.  I live each day since the time I got sick in a way I can only hope confirms that for them.  That’s one thing about coming to terms with your own mortality early in life, you lose whatever it is that keeps us from telling people we love them and it changes your entire life. It did mine anyways.  I’m still technically in the flare and my purse sounds like a rattlesnake with all the medicine bottles. I went back to work and each time I look in the mirror, I see a little more of me each day.

I decided for isolation this time.  It was different than the other times lupus tried to take over.  The first few days, especially that first one, I was in denial.  I felt fine, I had just went to the doctor for a regular visit and somehow mistakes must have been made that landed me in an emergency room with a bag of infusion magic chemo on standby.  I decided to take a picture of the changes– real pictures.  I cropped them here and there but for the most part, they are unedited.  This was a particularly hard day of acceptance.  They are hard to look at and I thought long and hard about posting them with the story.  It captured something my words can’t.  Take what you can from it. This time was different.  Don’t let anything stop you grasshopper.  I’m not.


An Invitation

As always, thank you for visiting my blog.  For those of you who follow, besos y abrazos!  That means xoxox ❤ Aaah a truly universal communication…I hope!

I am inspired everyday by the beauty and creativity of so many of your works and words.  Here’s an invitation I hope you each accept.

Tell me you life in a picture.  As you can see, I didn’t post one yet.  This is hard.  I can’t wait to see who joins me in searching.  Feel free to use words when you post.  It’s not a challenge.  It’s about what many of us came here to do.  Blog and expand our horizons.  Connect and hope in some small way we made a difference at the end of it all.


Lost & Found in New York by Estela Caballero

Lost & Found in New York by Estela Caballero.

Some people think it’s ugly here.  I used to agree.  I would go on and on about how I would never live here by choice and how I would move away as soon as I got the chance.  I did.  At the age of 16, I moved from a kind of small town to Long Island, New York.  I enrolled myself in William Floyd High School and found a part time job at Fashion Explosion, a clothing store.

Before the trip, I had never been on a plane or train.  The extent of my world travels was limited to the passenger seat of a car and the Greyhound bus with my mom once.  Long Island is more than an hour away from the actual city–  that’s what New Yorkers would call NYC- it was just “the city” to them.  I would ask the kids at school if they went to the city and was surprised at how many had never ventured more than a few miles outside of their hometown.  How could they live within a short distance from such an electric place and not ever been there?  I wouldn’t be one of them.

I would call home and tell everyone about riding the subway without care of getting lost.  I was too naive to be afraid.  Most people kept their eyes fixed straight ahead, a few slept or chatted with someone they were travelling with.  It was obvious I wasn’t from New York.  I was fascinated with the views outside the subway windows that the other riders had long become tired of. I would walk to a bus stop, take the Long Island train to the subway and hop on with little more than just fare to get me somewhere and back.  I never figured out the schedules and didn’t even try planning trips.  With my poor sense of direction, it would have been pointless.  There was no rhyme or reason to how I spent the days travelling about.  I would listen to other passengers talk about where they were going or see something interesting up ahead and that’s where I would go.  I ended up in Coney Island once, me and my little son.  The only thing I knew about Coney Island is that they had rides there, a boardwalk and the hot dogs were supposed to be good.

El amor de un hijo
Estela with the wide grin. My son with the wide eyes– Coney Island

I followed the sights, sounds and smells.  Maps were of no use to me. This hasn’t improved with age.  My brain learns a different way–  I have to do something, really experience it and then I’ll never forget it.  I memorized the path to many places I would visit every chance I got.  One of those places was a huge swap meet in Jamaica, Queens.  It was an underground market that you could enter from several different streets that sloped into another world.  I was lost in youth and suffered from the immunity of reason.

I never made it to the Statue of Liberty and was conflicted about Ellis Island.  How could a place that welcomed generations of immigrants be a celebrated and honored place here?  Even the names so precious that glass cases protected the books the names were recorded on.  My place, the place that marked my father’s crossing was dark and anonymous–  the story only celebrated among close family.  I was only beginning to explore how I felt about the great differences and still unaware of how much those unexamined feelings were shaping who I was becoming.  No, I did not want to see Ellis Island and my jealousy would not allow me to visit Lady Liberty.

I walked in Times Square and on a crisp fall afternoon, I made my way to the Museum of Natural History.  The story of the world before man spread out before us.  My son pressed his nose against the glass, I did too until a man from the museum told us to stop it.  Images from that day are some of the clearest of all the days I have lived so far.  We hopped up the massive concrete stairs on the way up to the entrance like rabbits.  When it was time to leave the rabbits hopped a little slower.

With dinosaurs still fresh in our minds, we found our way to a huge set of rocks in Central Park.  We climbed around and I chased him.  I don’t remember much about the people we saw, just that there were so many.  I remember one man, an old man.  I was 16 and anyone near 30 seemed old to me.  Imagine my horror when I crossed into old age several years ago. The man told me I had a beautiful family.  He said to enjoy it.  He turned his head and went back to thinking.  There he remains seared in my memories along with the dinosaurs and rabbit hopping stairs.  His words were simple but carried a weight I couldn’t understand at the time.

I came back.  I’ve left other times over the years but I always come back.  When I would hear my daughter say she was getting as far away from this dry land, my heart would fall– only for a minute.  Then I remembered she has to.  She has to take the test and see if this place is really for her.  I want her to travel and go to places she can speak all the languages she learned.  I want all of my children to go farther and higher than I ever dared to dream.

My children know my story.  Each year on their birthdays, as they entered their teen years, I would think how different their lives are from mine when I was that age.  At 15 I was a mother. When Vanessa turned 17 my son asked me if it was true I had two children when I was her age. I told him yes, I had two kids at the time and I also had two jobs.  These are facts.  It is neither good or bad, it is the truth.  My truth and my story.

Something pulled me back here.  The same things that propelled me away, called me to return.  This is my place.  They will find their own in time.  People that know me from those early days say I am a fighter.  I don’t dispute that.  I will fight.  The difference now is that I stopped fighting for the wrong things.

The Story You Need To Tell Someone


The relationship between parents and their children is golden at it’s best. The dynamic changes with every new generation added to the family tree.

I have wonderful parents. They fought to give us a better life than they had. They did their best. It’s a challenge to picture them as children. In my mind they ever will remain larger than life. Neither of my parents grew up in families where pictures were commonplace. When faced with choices, developing a roll of film probably never made it to the top 10. They struggled with basic necessities for most of their lives. Aside from not having actual pictures, neither speak much about growing up. I was always afraid of bringing up painful memories for them so if they didn’t share, I didn’t ask– until recently.

I was speaking with my grandmother, the mother of my mother. On her last visit here, she had asked me if there was a way to get some songs for her and record them on a CD. She’s not ready for the little music thing– that’s what she calles the iPod. I grabbed a piece of paper to write down the names. Some were songs I remembered hearing when I visited her as a child. My grandmother did not have an easy life and it extended into her adult life. There were some songs missing from the list that I remember her saying she hated. They were the songs that would play loudly to mask sounds she wanted to protect her children from hearing. The titles were fitting– one of the songs was called Please Release Me.

Sometimes it’s easier to ask grandparents things. At least that’s how it is for me. I see the ease and comfort my own children have with all of their grandparents and there have been times, as a parent, I’ve been envious.

My grandmother added one final song to the request. Bill Anderson’s Five Little Fingers. She said this was my mother’s song. It was the song she played the day she brought my mother home from the hospital. Her birthday song.

My mother is the eldest. At the time my mother was born, I’m not sure if my grandmother fully grasped that she had entered a phase in her life that would break most people. She endured and overcame. Her strength and blood flow through my veins. If science ever pinpoints the gene for resilience, spirit of fire and strength of character, I am certain my grandmother and mother have at least twice the normal amount.

A few weeks after I had made my grandmother her CD, my mother came to visit. I asked her if she wanted a copy of the CD I had made for my grandmother. I excitedly told her it had her birthday song on it. She looked at me with a confused look and said she didn’t have a birthday song. I told her about the list and the story my grandmother had told me. It was a story my mother had never heard. She was moved to tears for more reasons than I will probably ever understand.

I’ve recently embarked on a new journey. I am honored you have all chosen to be a part of this adventure. The specifics of each family are different and special. However, I suspect that there are many of you that have a story you need to hear and a story you need to tell. Just as importantly, there is someone who needs to hear that story from you.

There is a radio program called StoryCorps that provides the public with prompts to help them find a start to their story. An easy way to begin a conversation you’ve been dying to have. I invite you to use my post today as a way to help you find your voice and perhaps find the chapter in your life you didn’t know was missing.

Here are some questions to get you started. Remember those grade school assignments you would have to take home and interview your parents…..

I’d love to read your story. Post in the comments section if you’d like to share. I am not a professional writer. I butcher sentences and grammar. Don’t let that stop you.

For Parents:

How did you choose my name?

Do you remember what was going through your mind when you first saw me?

The picture above is of me in the middle with my mom and grandmother.

Here’s a link to a complete set of questions:


My favorite question isn’t on the list but feel free to use it– “What’s my birthday song?”

Traveling Feet: Random Stuff


Standing near the Columbia River in Washington state.

4utu’s all about living each day to the fullest. Part of that is recognizing and enjoying the beauty and local treasures we sometimes take for granted.

Google Earth made my first trip to Mexico possible.  Using the street view feature I walked up and down the streets of a little town in Mexico, a rancho, they call it.  I don’t know if I’ll ever go.  A friend of mine told me living in fear isn’t really living.  She is right but the places I’d like to visit are too dangerous– it’s not the touristy places I want to go, it’s the ranchitos that are home to people I want to meet in person.

While I didn’t make it to Mexico, I did get to explore a few new states this year.  One trip had me touching down in Memphis, Tennessee and filling my belly with…

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