The Short Version
I was born and raised in beautiful Denver, Colorado. Technically, I still have an address there, however my husband and I (plus our two cats, Dui and Patch) actually reside in our blue van. We can usually be found in the Western Hemisphere getting lost looking for independent coffee shops where I can do some writing and where my husband can do some surfing on the web and manage our investments. Before living in the van and writing for a living, I was a primary school teacher for 7 years, four of which were in Abu Dhabi, UAE, at an international school. I received my Master's Degree in Education from the University of Denver and a BS in Science from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Most of all, though, I have this burning desire to write, so here I go!
The Short-ish Version
Seriously, I have NO clue what just happened. I look back at everything I've done in my 32 years - the good (going to college, grad school, marrying my husband, loving the family I have), the bad (can't think of anything because I'm totally perfect!), and the ugly (somewhat can't believe I ever thought tight-rolling my stonewashed jeans into neon pink and yellow socks was cool...)--and think, "What the...? Really? Me?"
I'm lucky to have made a lot of mistakes and lived through them (ummm... this is where I confess to crashing my father's car with 5 friends in it into a snowbank going 75 mph down a mountain pass when I was 17 and somehow walking away only with the car making a very annoying sound which it still has to this day...or about the time that I stranded myself in the deserts around Moab jeeping by myself and nearly tipping the vehicle over only to be saved by a group of passers by with a wench...whew!). Having said that, I'm just a regular patron of life, one who believes that "You can't change people's minds. You can open them," to quote Oliver Stone.
Since living in the Middle East and having traveled to some of the world's most amazing places (Turkey, Indonesia, Cambodia, and Sri Lanka just to name a few), my eyes opened like an earthquake creates a crack in the ground. This world is massive and I'm like a gnat amongst all of its grandiosity and beauty. Actually, I'm more like a bee because I'm busy. No, I think I'm more like a natural sponge because I try to learn as much as I can. No, wait, I think I might be more like a pig. They are really intelligent, you know, and well...hmmm...they do wallow in their own muck. Nevermind. So, I'm not like a pig but more like a BUTTERFLY!!! That's it! I just float along, from one place to the next, absorbing the beauty around me, but I do have a purpose--to entertain. That's what I love. To entertain...so hopefully the specifics of me, which if you want to know them you'll find below, do that for you. Maybe not. Don't read anything more if you don't care. Sometimes I don't care. Then I have to pee.
The I-Should-Just-Write-An-Autobiography Version
My Early Life
In my mind, I had it good. I had no idea that dinner, at times, was a struggle to put on the table in the sense that mulah just wasn't available. I had no clue that my father wanted to work for himself, sacrificed nearly everything to do so, and borrowed a small chunk of change from my mother to begin his own engineering firm. That chunk of change, which she had saved from working as a dental assistant, had paid for office supplies, insurance, and the numerous casserole dishes that were to last at least 2-3 nights for dinner. Plus, that tiny amount of money--I think it was about $6,000--purchased me and my mom some awesome quality time together; I was lucky that my mother stayed home with me as I grew up (and was still able to do so after my sister came along). My earliest memory I can recall is of playing for hours on end in a playhouse that my father built me in our back yard. It was complete with a "drive-thru" window (dad put a four panel, single-pane window on hinges; genius!). Apparently I thought this was the bees knees, as I would later hear, and I'd just spend my days opening and closing that drive-thru window to dump random things out of it - sand was a favorite, then came water, then the fall leaves that used to fall around the yard. I remember that I had the tiniest of dump-trucks in my toy collection. It really wasn't much bigger than one's fist. The cab was orange and the bed was yellow. I'd fill that baby up with as many ash leaves as I could, drive it to the "McDonald's" that was forever open in my back yard, scuttle into the playhouse, open the window, order a "cheeseburger Happy Meal with orange drink", serve myself, close the window, pitter-patter back out, and dump the leaves under the grill. Repeatedly. I needed a sibling.
Pattie indeed came along, four years after I did, and now I had my first "customer". In truth, Pattie would be my first fan as she had a front row seat to all of the madness - good and goofy, ill and icky - that was inside my mind. Television in my life was limited to one hour per week. That's right! And, wow, did I ever become really good at persuading Pattie that the show I really wanted to watch was what she should spend her hour watching too. That aside, we imagined up every game possible to play in our basement, roller-bladed in the house only to be told to stop scuffing up the floors, played "school" for hours on end, and when the computerized cash register was a gift for Christmas one year, we played "store" until it was time for a bath.
My Middle Life
You know, I'll fill this in later when I'm ready to face it. :0)
My Now Life
Mmmm...I live in a van. With my man. Oh, and our two cats. It is a lot of fun, really. We get lost, a lot. But that only means that we have found something we weren't looking for to begin with. The van is a 2011 Mercedes Sprinter--think the long, tall, and skinny version of FedEx delivery vans--in a dark, but not quite royal, blue. Actually, it's color is nearly identical to that of Cookie Monster, so we have lovingly named our vehicle after the said muppet. For short, it's known as "Monster". We put huge tires on it to make it look that much beefier and following along with the Muppet-theme, I came across a Wembley Fraggle who resides on the dashboard and bobs his head to the beat of the road.
Many people ask us, "Where will you go next?" and the truth is, we don't know. So far, we have really just let the weather kick us around North America as we avoid hurricanes, snow storms, and gully-washers. The best part about not having a plan means that we can pop up in the most unexpected of places. So far, we have seen the beautiful lands of Illinois, Indiana, West Virginia, Pennsylvania (Yay for Benjamin Franklin!), New York, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Ottowa, Quebec, Michigan, and the lakes, rivers, valleys, and people in between. Did you know that West Virginia has a booming natural gas industry? Or that Washington, D.C., is home to more free museums than you can count on two hands? My favorite was the Smithsonian Natural History Museum (i.e. the National Natural History Museum). On display currently (as of November 2012) is a 48-foot boa constrictor from millions of years ago. It's favorite meal was a giant crocodile and it's mouth could open wide enough that I could lay down in it. Not that I'd want to, but I could. My new favorite small town is Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ottowa where the people are incredibly nice, eh, and willing to bend over backwards for you without a second thought. The main street here is full of independently owned book stores, fudge shops, coffee shops, clothiers, and lined with horse-drawn carriages. A wonderfully fun place to visit in the brisk fall but one that I hear is even better in the warmer months due to fantastic festivals and wineries. Yum!
So, where will we be next? Who knows?! But we are leaning more towards warmer weather...