If He Could Talk to You Today

A year ago today, my little brother J.R. passed away. It was a long, sad, heart wrenching descent into the grips of alcoholism. I know, upbeat topic for today, right? But this week, this week alone, I have had two people who I love very much tell me about their family's heartaches because of addiction. One friend told me her son is in trouble with cocaine. He is a father, with three kids. Another friend was recounting the sadness and horror of losing her nephew to a … [Read more...]

Make Peace With Your Momma

Discovering the cache of Kodak slides in the basement could have made me feel bad or guilty or filled with regret. Instead, I laughed. I threw back my head and laughed out loud, like l-a-u-g-h-i-n-g out loud, spelled out. Then I said to no one except the cobwebs, “Okay, Mom. You’re in.” I had noticed the honey-colored wooden box on my cluttered work bench, amongst the rusty channel locks, duct tape and socket wrenches, laying where they were dropped by careless kids … [Read more...]

Brotherly Love

The first person to show up for my first-ever book signing was my little brother Paul. It’s a good thing the restaurant manager didn’t throw him out. He does, after all, look like a homeless person. That’s because he is. Sure, he couch surfs from one person’s house to the next, until something or somebody nudges him to the next. Paul’s been without a couch to call home since my mother passed away six years ago and I honestly don’t know how he continues to survive, but … [Read more...]

Survivor: Albuquerque

We need to hook a U-turn so I can tell you about Albuquerque. Merely typing the letters, A-L-B-U-Q-U-E-R-Q-U-E evokes powerful emotions. That’s because I had to type that word 9,000 times in journalism school. And even though I’m holed up in yes, another Motel 6, this time in San Luis Obisbo, with a stunning view an aluminum warehouse and mid-coast California mountains, (more like humps on the horizon compared to the Sandias) from my balcony window, there’s important … [Read more...]