Dads & Dinnertime

I recall some of my happiest childhood memories taking place on weeknights between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.  That magical hour before dinnertime equaled anticipation, joy, silliness, laughter, love, and happiness....more

Once Upon a Library

I remember lots of books from my childhood. Not specific books, but lots of them. My father was an elementary school teacher until he retired a few years ago. My mother still works as a children's librarian. So, books were kind of a big deal in my household....more

The Cat Before Christmas

Once upon a long-ago Christmas, my beloved Sam the Cat wore a Santa hat and allowed me to take his photograph. Once. And so, with a grateful nod and sincerest apologies to Clement Clark Moore, here is a festive version of that most memorable, once-in-a-lifetime, Samcat Christmas moment. A Visit from Saint Sam-the-Cat — or — The Cat...more

If Vintage is In, Why Doesn't Anyone Have a Home Phone Anymore?

I saw the most amazing sight the other day. It wasn’t a double rainbow or a mama cow giving birth to a calf – all of those could certainly be deemed amazing. It wasn’t even my daughter washing my car or folding a load of laundry – other amazing sights to behold. The thing I saw was just as uncommon and out-of-the ordinary as those things and just as gratifying. A simple pay phone. That’s what I saw. Nothing newfangled about it; no upgrades to the ones I remember from my youth. Just plain and simple and, well, beautiful....more

Family, love and light

We used to visit them in the Blue Mountains outside of Walla Walla, Washington. Summer vacations where my mom would ship my sister and I off with grandpa to visit relatives in Idaho and Washington for weeks at a time. Concentrated time in a smokey minivan with my annoying little sister and only a notebook and walkman for company. It's a miracle we survived....more

First Communion, Nostalgia, and How Time Really Does Fly

Facebook newsfeeds teem with Prom photos this time of year, and--if you are Catholic--with First Communion pictures.  Both are rites of passage that many of us can relate to and which engender nostalgia (or PTSD, depending on what your Prom experience was)....more

Childhood dreams

We made them crowd into the shed, sweltering in the Sacramento summer. It was our "classroom." And by golly, we had signed binder paper permission slips from their parents which meant that even if we had to chase them, our siblings would comply. For awhile anyway.Getting them to do their homework was another story entirely.Welcome to my childhood dream....more

Dear Diary

Dear Diary:Let me begin with an apology. I know I’ve neglected you these last few years–since 1985, in fact, when I went to college, and life took off. During my freshman year, for example, I spent at least two weeks giggling over the name Balzac. Then I made some friends, and quite often we were compelled to dance to “Sweet Child of Mine” until 1 a.m. It left very little time for recording my thoughts, unfortunately. As it turns out, reflection isn’t a priority when one is counting down to Steak Night in the cafeteria....more

Places I Used to Know

We went to Half Moon Bay today, to go to the beach. It was a deliciously lazy time, dragging fingers through sand, splashing in  shallow pools.When I was nine, my mother moved to Half Moon Bay, out of spite, according to my father. Every other weekend, he would have to make the hour and a half drive to pick me up from an overnight visitation. The commute was clearly my mother’s way of punishing him. As an adult, looking back, this is darkly hilarious to me. Growing up with this mentality was proof that my parents’ divorce exemplified all human deficits....more