A Daughter's Tale (or, An Ongoing Saga)

Dear Family,

When we moved out of our house in June, Eliza’s health was on an overall upswing. She had only approximately three tantrums over the next five months: one in Ithaca, one (I think) in Texas, and maybe once again in Arizona. But nothing much more…

Settling Down, Family Style

Dear Family,

Happy Thanksgiving! I am so grateful to all of you, and thankful for friendship and lovely people. And I hope your celebrations today were much more fun than they were stressful. I am grateful for those of you with whom we spent today, and I miss all of you with whom we didn’t.


And meanwhile, I know you’ve been just dying to know: What Are The Amaral Matilskys doing with themselves, now that it’s almost winter?!

Product Reviews for a Grand Adventure!

Dear Family,

“We have the best government that money can buy.”
- Mark Twain (maybe)

Recent events leave me depressed, grasping for hope, and speechless. Well, actually, I’m as full of opinions as every single person on Facebook, but in the interest of not Spouting them, I shall refrain from political discussion. Mostly. At least for today.

Into The Desert

Dear Family,

“When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money. Then take half the clothes and twice the money.” -– Susan Heller


It is certainly a legitimate option, when faced with health issues and challenging life circumstances, to choose low-key/ soothingly boring action steps such as making "lifestyle changes”, drinking less coffee, or finding reliable sources for cheap recreational drugs.

However, as you may know, by the time this past spring rolled around, my life was kind of resembling one non-stop action step.

Texas and Beyond!

Dear Family,

“If an ass goes travelling he will not come home a horse.”
—Thomas Fuller


-- Texarkana, TX (Wright Patman Dam, Clear Spring Campground)

It's Not The Mosquitos, People!

This guest post by Lauren Ayers is an eloquent reminder of how important it is to demand science and investigation from those who create our news feeds.


Almost every print article or electronic report about the increased rate of microencephaly could be titled, “Terrorist Zika Mosquitoes Invade the USA.”

However, there is plenty of evidence that some other factors play a role. So why do Americans hear only about a rare virus carried by mosquitoes?

East of Texas

Dear Family,

Fuck simplicity. Or more specifically, whatever it was I said a short time ago concerning how I thought getting rid of most of our stuff, selling our house, and moving into a camper was going to bring us closer to it.

I was obviously just trying to soothe my fears. Or Jeff's. Or I was in total denial.

But I'm guessing you probably already knew that: there is absolutely nothing simple about traveling with four children in a tent trailer and van with two fridges and a Special Diet and seven bicycles in tow. Nothing. At all. Simple.

The Traveling End of The Beginning

Dear Family,

Concerning Spanking - A Post Script

The day after I sent my last update, a friend wrote:

"I can't not respond to this. I grew up in this. I was this child. Complete with the hitting and the cult-like religious involvement. And yes, it is a cult. Report it. Next time, please report it. It damages. For life.

"Even if they ultimately get off because it's legal, there will be a CPS investigation in their file. Even if that means nothing, you have not stood by. We have to stop standing by.

Contemplating a Strike

A group of church families were camped nearby during the first week we were here. Lots of kids. Lots of rowdiness. A little girl just a year older than Eliza, who came over to play pretend games on the second afternoon.

That second night, I overheard a father and a crying child in their tent across the street: "I told you to put on your pull-up, and I told you AGAIN to put on your pull-up, and when I turned around, you were lying there with your legs out and you had NOT put on your pull-up. You have to learn to do as you're told!"

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