There is a place along the lonely road of Interstate 15 in the desert heat of southern Utah that I fell in love with as a child. I think I’m just about the only one who loved it. My mother certainly didn’t. My grandparents who owned the place didn’t seem particularly thrilled with the hassel of dealing with renters, mice, maintenance and more. Perhaps it was because I was still young enough to not see the mosquitoes and rodents and dirt that I could love it like no one else.
My grandparents’ home in Leeds, Utah was not fancy. The upstairs was rented. The basement where we stayed had concrete floors and sparse furnishings. One could always count on finding large bugs hiding in uncomfortable places. There was nothing in Leeds. My Grandma would drive us twenty minutes south to get dinner at Shoney’s where I’d always get the soup and salad bar and end up disappointed that it was actually just soup and salad. Continue reading
Posted in A Grain of Sand
Tagged awaken, California, childhood, city girl, creative writing, desert, Earth, Feeling the Earth, foreshadowing, freeways, geology, I15, interstate, Leeds, man-made, mosquitoes, Mother Earth, non-fiction, red rock, rock, San Gabriel Mountains, sand, sandstone, Utah, Wind
WARNING: Guilty Pleasure Writing ahead. My favorite character, Elizabeth DiMaggio, is a movie star. She handles it like a pro. Her brother, Nate could do without the constant hounding from the press, but when you are a DiMaggio, it’s just something you have to put up with.
“Miss DiMaggio, who designed that dress?” “Liz what did you do for your birthday?” “What is your favorite drink, Liz, now that you are old enough to drink?” “Why did you choose not to attend Stanford, Miss DiMaggio?” “Miss DiMaggio, are the rumors true that you are dating Liam Hemsworth?”
Liz had stepped out of the restaurant with Nate, only 5 seconds before, but already they were being swarmed. Nate had done his job of alerting the paparazzi to their location well. Not a single question was addressed to him, which was just the way he liked it.
“Liz, what did you drink tonight? “Are the rumors true that you have dropped out of college to pursue a music career like your mother?” “Is it true that you recently put together a committee on running for senate?” Continue reading
Posted in E.A. DiMaggio
Tagged 21st birthday, acting, alcohol, cameras, creative writing, Elizabeth DiMaggio, Exceptions Guaranteed, famous, Feeding the Wolves, Fiction, flashing lights, flirty, Hungry, let loose, Liam Hemsworth, little black dress, movie star, Nate DiMaggio, paparazzi, run for office, satisfied, siblings, Stanford, starlet, swarmed, wink, wolves
This is not the blog I was planning on posting today, but this is what happened today, and I couldn’t let it just pass by. It’s not my normal type of post and if you don’t have kids, you may not get it, but it’s my real life. And while the worlds we create in our minds can be beautiful and healing and strong, sometimes real life needs to be remembered more.
Today I sent my twins to their first day of kindergarten, and as they lined up with their brand new classmates, I cried.
You should know something about me. I don’t cry. I didn’t cry when the twins got vaccinations. I didn’t cry when I left them with a babysitter. I didn’t cry when they first spent the night at their Nana’s without me, or when they were sick with fevers, or when they got their first scraped knee. Because I don’t cry. Continue reading
Posted in Uncategorized
Tagged children, creative writing, cry, empathy, first day of school, friends, growing up, kindergarten, last in line, mother, motherhood, non-fiction, not forgotten, scared, twins
This is the last part in series I wrote about my time at field camp in college. You can read the previous parts here. I hope you enjoy it. Let me know what you think.
It was the last day of field camp. I had a bunch of stuff to do, but there wasn’t really time to do any of it. So, I was just checking out a few rocks near the road, climbing hills, half for fun, and knowing I’d never be this alone and not lonely again.
The TA dropped me off at a hill made of the Navajo Sandstone. This was my rock. Nearly 400 miles away, this rock was the first that took my breath away. Just a couple months ago I had found out that I would have the opportunity to study this rock for my master’s thesis. It was a dream come true. Ending field camp with the same rock I’d soon start my graduate work with seemed fitting. Doug had a ton of Navajo Sandstone in his mapping area, but I had only this one hill. I had spent the whole week in dirty stuff like the Dakota Sandstone. But now on the last day, here was my Navajo Sandstone. Continue reading
Posted in A Grain of Sand
Tagged 190 million years, alone, blue sky, cliff, college, coming-of-age, creative writing, desert, field camp, geology, hill, last chance, memoir, Navajo Sandstone, non-fiction, sand, sand dunes, Wahoo, wasteland, yell, Zion National Park
This is the fourth part in a short series from my time at field camp in college. You can read previous parts here. The last part will be posted next week.
I was alone, and things could have been better. Like if Doug was here. But it could have been worse too. Like if I had to work with anyone else. Last week during field camp, our field partners had been assigned, and while I liked the three guys I’d been assigned, let’s just say we had different work philosophies.
Doug’s hint during the mid term had cured my inability to read a map, and the last week had cured my desire for self-preservation. Since I had last heard Doug’s wahoo, I had nearly fallen off a cliff, been seconds away from being swept away by a swollen stream, bordered on heat exhaustion, and pushed the limits of my mental distress until it came close to breaking. (Or maybe it actually did break.) I hadn’t heard a single wahoo the whole time. Doug shouted from the mountain tops plenty, we just weren’t together. We weren’t even in the same canyon.
This week, I was glad to be working totally alone. Everyday, the TA would drop me off in the morning along a dirt road. Everyday, in the evening he’d be back on the road waiting. In-between it was all up to me. I didn’t see a single person. Continue reading
Posted in A Grain of Sand, Uncategorized
Tagged alone, Ashley National Forest, conglomerate, cows, creative writing, Doug, Duschesne River Formation, field camp, geology, map, non-fiction, rain, sandstone, self-preservation, shale, solitude, summer, Wahoo, Wendy's
This is the third part in a short series from my time at field camp in college. Look for the next parts in the coming weeks. You can read previous parts here.
I sat on a rock on the side of a dirt road sucking breaths in my mouth and out my nose, trying not to panic. It was the midterm of field camp, a test where all the students wandered the same map area inscribing the rock formations onto their paper topo maps. We were all together, but also alone. I was alone.
I had no idea where I was. Geologically, I knew I was sitting in the middle of the Banded Formation, a red shaly unit, but that didn’t help me with the test, since I could have been anywhere on the map I held in my hand, and therefore didn’t know where to scribble a note about this rock unit. I heard a couple students exchange pleasantries around the nearby hill, and put my head down as if I was deep into map making mode, and not trying desperately to hide my water-filled eyes.
Just in case you weren’t clear on this, you have to be able to read a map to be a geologist. So far, I’d spent my entire undergrad faking it, pretending I could do this, and now the reckoning had come. Not only was I going to fail this test, I was going to get lost in this desolate wilderness and die. That was the consequence of pretending you had what it takes. I had even seen a wooden cross stuck in the ground earlier in my aimless map-illiterate wandering. I thougt about finding it and laying down to die. No one would even have to— Continue reading
Posted in A Grain of Sand
Tagged Ash, clue, confidence, creative writing, Doug, field camp, fraud, friend, geology, lost, map, mountain, non-fiction, off road, panic, road, rock formations, tears, test, topo map, Utah, Wahoo