Thursday, November 4, 2010


I am struggling with depression, again.

I don't like the way that I am dealing with it. I actually told someone today that "I have a right to be defensive because people are assholes." Of course, it is a good quote... buuuuut not the type of person that I want to be.

It is a funny dichotomy, here I am trying to be a Christian and I have trouble tolerating the basic dealings that I have with people. Disappointing.

I think that it is bitterness, disguised, well... not sure what it is disguised as. Perhaps it is just bitterness.

I am having a really hard time forgiving people of long ago. I have been considering Emillie's disappearance and the catalysts for said disappearance. Not doing so well on the forgiveness front.

Calling a therapist about EMDR. Something has to change.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


I have been thinking a lot lately about my political views. Any person who is my friend knows all about my non-Republican leanings ("leanings" is probably not a strong enough word.) Some would call me a bleeding-heart liberal or worse perhaps even Socialist. I should say that I really don't like labels, and until the election of Barack Obama, was a registered Independent. So, if I am a "Liberal" I must ask myself, how did I come to this point? Is it a correct label?

Spoiler alert: I am one of those people who likes to analyze everything to the most minute of points, so this isn't going to be a post solely about my dislike of the Tea Party or Tom Coburn it's really about the experiences in my life that have made me, really abhor so much that "Conservative" politics has come to mean.

To begin, I was born into a middle class family. Both parents were the first of their kin to go to college. We were your basic, Mid-Western Protestant family, two cars, ranch house etc. That is until my dad was diagnosed with Diabetes, after which, he lost nearly every job he had for health reasons (American Civil Liberties hadn't happened yet.) We moved all over the South and Mid-West, and missed out on the supposed benefits of "Reganomics". When I was 7, my dad died having struggled with his illness, the job market, taking care of his family, etc. In addition to the gaping psychological hole this left in our lives, it also left my mother the sole provider for three kids.

We didn't have a Dickens childhood, but it was a mess. Six years later, after my mom extricated herself from my wretched "stepfather", we ended up in a shelter for abused women and children. So we went from middle-class to poor to homeless all in a relative short time. At the aforementioned shelter, we meet all kinds of people. Of course, there were the much-maligned welfare mothers and drug-addicts, but, there were also a good number of seemingly normal people stuck in absolutely abnormal circumstances.

After the shelter, life fell into a groove. Mom worked, my younger sister and I went to school and worked and my brother went to college and worked.

My brother and I did the college thing, taking out loans, working our way through, getting good grades etc. My sister, well, that is another story for later.

While in college, I came to find God in a different way than I had before and converted to Catholicism. In addition to the beauty and wonder of the Church, it was in line with my Pro-Life views, and had a strong sense of Social Justice. I began to identify with certain conservative points that are non negotiable, mostly having to do with Life issues. Therefore, I began to embrace more and more of the conservative message. I was a message of contrasts, here I am identifying with the conservative, Right while I was a male, music major with a minor in dance at an uber conservative college. It is not an exaggeration to say that I was taunted and felt threatened on a daily basis while walking the halls, returning to my dorm or eating in the café.

Whatever, I made it through and went on to grad school, marriage and parenthood. I self identified as a conservative until sometime after 9/11 when the tactics of G. W. Bush started to make me think.

Here we are in two wars. both ill-conceived and one some might say was illegal. OK, so that didn't feel right.
Next, the tax cuts and spending behavior of the government just seemed irresponsible...
Next, we were dipped into the recession post 9/11 which destroyed the job market and put my wife and I into the forefront of the jobless masses. It just wasn't going well for me and those conservative beliefs.

I absolutely believe in the right to life, but the party that I identify with is strongly in support of the death penalty. They also give lip service to being "pro-life" while the destroy the education and social systems which serve those minorities which are most at risk for pregnancy...

It just kept piling on! Then, it was in 2005 when my sister disappeared from her home in Highland Beach that I began to realize how broken the government was and how the Republican party was not doing anything to fix it. There were so many facets to the story of my sister which, I believe were the catalyst away from so-called "Conservatism." Some of it was social justice, some law enforcement, some just calloused behavior by elected officials (thank you Tom Coburn.)

Since that time it has been steadily downhill for the "conservative" agenda, I mean really? I am the ideal! A hard-working guy, with some intelligence and energy. I am working to do good, paying my way through college and doing my best to take care of my family. Why is it that I can't get ahead? Why am I saddled with a mortgage payment of student loans? Why is simple health care so expensive that I went 3-years without regularly testing by blood sugar? I worked my ass of to be a productive member of society, to get an education, to work and to be responsible. Why is it that the hard work has really just left me with a huge heap of debt and no way to pay it back? Here are some other points:

The trend deregulation (which goes back to Nixon) has allowed normal people to get screwed by all sorts of financial institutions, retail outlets, food providers, auto companies, etc.

Also, the business of health care has gone unchecked for so long that it is literally bankrupting our society. (Don't talk to me about health care unless you have a disease, says the Diabetic boy!)

Furthermore, I don't see how you can be pro-life, without looking at the entirety of life. Not just the birth, but the living and dying as well. Post Kennedy, we have destroyed the workings of Social Justice in favor of wealth. Perhaps I am wrong, but it seems that one of the best ways to stop abortion is to help anyone considering the practice to see the value of their own life.

I could go on forever...

I know that these issues are more nuanced, and that no political party has the answer or can be absolved from blame. That being said, the Republican Party has nothing to offer me and runs counter to most of what I hold dear.

I truly believe in justice and I truly feel that the Republican party really has nothing to advocate for justice or equity at this point.

So, where does that leave me? I guess that I am a Catholic, who believes in a moderate social agenda and moderate-to liberal fiscal policies...

Where do I go in our current political system? I cannot abide a party that serves the likes of Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, Tom Coburn, The Koch brother etc.

I cannot serve a party that would destroy the middle class, social security, health care and the like in some absurdist idea of liberty. To those who say that the rich are over taxed, I say that the rich wouldn't be rich if it weren't for the work of those they seek to deny the liberty of education, health and general safety.

So, it seems that I am, by default, now a member of the Democratic party. I desire is that we can find balance in our system or I am afraid we will end in ruins like other empires...

OK, enough for now.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

"My name was Faggot before I moved to Portland"

I stole that title from the fantastic barber at Bishops Barbershop on Beaverton Hillsboro Highway. We were talking about the dangers of growing up in a small Midwestern town and liking art, dance etc.

I know, I know... how cliche! Pretty much every movie, opera, or rap video has some sort of "not fitting in", being the outsider and coming back to kick ass plot line running through it. Well, I suppose that is because the cliche it is true. In my case, it was hard to win the label of Heterosexual man when you enjoy a good show tune, like French antiques and happen to live in Leavenworth, KS. Just sayin'

At any rate, the dude from whom I stole the quote pretty much rocks in every sense of the word. He just graduated Summa cum Laude with degrees in Poly Sci.and Philosophy, passed the LSAT in the 98th percentile plays trumpet, upright bass, piano, organ and also has 15 years of classical dance under his belt. Pretty awesome, no? Why the hell would he or anyone else be tormented to the point that it takes tranquilizers to go into social situations? It always baffles me, interesting, talented people who just don't fit the standards of society. Why is it that we chastise people for reading Chaucer and studying Nijinsky? Men and women alike... So strange.

At any rate, from the age of about 8 (before I even knew what the word meant) I was called a "Faggot" or some other form of the label. Family, school mates, people who hardly knew me. What the fuck, right? Wuss, gay, pussy, peter-puffer, etc... AWFUL.

To be honest, I didn't even know what the word meant until I was in the 7th grade, just that they (the "faggots" that is) were good targets for physical violence and didn't get picked for team sports first. "Whatever" I thought, "it's just a word" until somebody told me (whilst holding me down and smacking me with a traffic patrol stick) what they did to win the moniker. Not that it should matter either way. It just changed the perception.

After a while, it just became a label, I had other things to deal with. The ignorance of high school pales in comparison to the stupidity of real life and the latter seemed to win out in the end.

I made it through and survived. I even went to an extremely conservative college in an even smaller Kansas town and had the nerve to major in Music and minor in Classical Dance. The first year was rough, I remember "Faggot" being whispered as I passed the football player's table in the lunch hall early in my tenure. I turned around and said "is that the best you've got? $20,000 a year for college and that is the best you have?" I then rattled off a list of alternative names that would surely make Howard Stern blush. I had nightmares for about a week, sure that the team was going to kill me and dump my body into a dumpster, but after that confrontation, I didn't notice the names as much. Not sure if they stopped or I just stopped caring.

I moved to Portland for love. For the same person that I fell in love with in high school. Said human had just graduated from college and had settled in Oregon. They cared not for the labels of others, but rather liked me. We were married within a year and have three children nearly nine years later.

Looking back, I have often thought about how growing up in Portland would have been different. Not that the labels aren't there. Just the ones that I had for all of those years aren't such a big deal. I wonder what I would have been here?

I know that it is silly, but I think that the barber reminded me how monumental it is to come into yourself. To take control of the perception that others have of you and accept or deny it. I also have to say that I am proud for the massive amount of courage it took me to listen to that shit for all of those years and to not let it kill me. To anyone with a label, be it fat, ugly, fag, dike, ad libitum, ad nauseum... know that I admire you. It aint easy...

My name was Faggot before I moved to Portland, now it is Zakk. The rest of it is incidental.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Monday, April 12, 2010

How Leonard, Jerry, Malinda, Nicole, Erin and St. Benedict Saved My life

It is funny how the course of your life can turn on a dime.

In 1998, I was a college dropout struggling to become an interior designer. I smoked a pack and a half of Marlboro Reds a day and drank about five gallons of Diet Coke. At 5' 10" I weighed about 130 pounds and ate every day at Wendy's. A type 1 diabetic, I hadn't checked my blood sugar in two years and just took insulin to survive.

I worked at the most absurd design store, Abdiana Design Center. It was located in the 9 story Firestone building in downtown Kansas City. It's owner, Nick, scared the shit out of me. He, the oldest of five brothers, would berate his employees and allow his family to run roughshod over the store (once his younger brother, wielding a running circular saw chased a construction worker around the bedding floor.) I worked from 8 in the morning until 8 at night, driving to and from my mother's house 45 minutes away in Leavenworth, KS.

My life consisted of work, smoking and Diet Coke. It all seemed fine. I mean, I was 20 and the lead designer at a huge furniture store, that cool, right? I drove a Pontiac Sunbird convertible and spent money on clothes and shoes. I did not have any aspirations beyond this, life was done. I was a loser and my options were Abdiana or fast food, I chose Abdiana.

In late July, as I was driving to work, my nose began to hemorrhage. It was so bad that I spent 25 minutes shoving tissues up my nose while chain smoking on the side of I-70. This began to happen with a regular frequency, always on the way to work, inevitably ruining an expensive shirt (I took to wearing a t shirt while driving and changing once I got to work.) By August, I was crying uncontrollably as I drove home every evening. Most of my friends had gone off to college, many of them were extremely conservative Baptists who shunned me once I took up my Diet Coke habit. I listened to Natalie Merchant and cried, I smoked and cried, I bled and cried it was very exciting.

The last week in August 1998, I walked into work. Picked up my schedule for the day and began to make small talk with Nicole, the receptionist. As we were talking, I began sobbing. I cried so hard that she had to drag me to the far corner of one of the galleries to calm me down. I sobbed my loneliness, poverty and distaste for the life that I was living. Nicole answered, leave now and never come back. Dumbfounded, I said that I couldn't! I had a car payment, I had a raging Diet Coke and nicotine habit to maintain! Nicole countered that I "would DIE if I stayed." That did it for me.

Ten minutes later, I was driving back to Leavenworth, smoking with a new-found fervor. I called my mother and told her that for all intents and purposes I was having a nervous breakdown. She took it rather well and was supportive of the move away from working at Abdiana. She let me stay at home in slightly more than a catatonic state.

Once a week, I would drive to Walmart and purchase one carton of Marlboro's and a case of Diet Coke, that was pretty much it for about two weeks. One the third week of the nervous breakdown, I noticed that my nose had stopped bleeding and that I could avoid crying for the better part of most days. I set out on that week's Walmart run, I hated the whole process of going into the store, inevitably I would meet someone that I knew from school or church, they would ask what I was up to and I would reply "trying not to slit my wrists!" Most people failed to find the humor in such statements and so the trips began to occur later and later in the evening.

Despite my timing of 11pm, this week was no exception, as soon as I entered the door "Zakk Hoyt?" rang our from across the courtesy desk. It was Jerry, one of my mom's friends and the wife of a local theater director. "Zakk, is that you? It has been so long, you look so well!" I could not dodge the occurrence! "Jerry! How are you?" I bellowed back swallowing the bowling ball of introversion and promising myself an extra cigarette for the trouble of this pleasantry... Jerry and I talked for a while about nothing in particular when out of the blue she mentioned that her husband was directing West Side Story in Atchison, KS. She urged me to try out, noting that I had been "such a fine singer and actor in high school." I said thank you and left it at that grabbed my smokes and hightailed it out of Wally World!

A week later, a flier was taped to our front door:


West Side Story

Next Thursday and Friday
Atchison Commuity Theater

Jerry had added a note, reminding me that I had always been so talented in high school. I threw the flier away...

A week passed and on Thursday we got a call. My mom answered, it was Jerry. She wanted me to go to the auditions. My mother somehow convinced me to leave the house and drive the 25 minutes to Atchison. I smoked the whole way there. I must have smelled like a humidor or at the very least an ashtray.

I was completely unprepared. After a bout with a sexually harassing high school music teacher, I had abandoned music all together and taken up the current regiment of cigarettes and Diet Coke. I signed in and when asked what I would like to sing, I mentioned that I didn't have anything prepared. The accompanist handed me a book of Broadway favorites and told me to pick something that I knew. I had never seen West Side Story, didn't know a thing about the play, its music or characters so when filling out the paperwork I checked that I was interested in all roles that applied to my voice type.

I sat alone in the small theater. This was a joint production with the local college's opera workshop program. As always, they were short on male singers and thus the need to reach into the community. There were a lot of talented people, my age and younger for the most part. I sat for about an hour before my name was called. A slight flutter of nerves but no bleeding or urge to slit my wrists... As I mounted the stage, I announced that I would be singing "On the Street Where You Live" (the only song that I knew, sort of in the entire book of Broadway favorites.)

I hadn't warmed up, really I hadn't sung since I graduated from High School two and a half years prior. I had smoked, really nonstop all the way to the audition and hadn't had an ounce of water in years.

When my mouth opened, I was taken aback. It was good, actually, quite good. I remembered the song and eeked out some sort of dramatic interpretation. That was it... I drove home.

The next day the assistant director called and asked me to come back to sing some more and do some reading. My mom urged me to go and so I did. This time, I smoked a little less and dressed a little more presentably.

I was there for three hours, singing and dancing, reading and interpreting. I figured that I would be offered a chorus slot that I could easily turn down and then easily resume my chain smoking, nose bleeding, Diet Coke drinking life and at the very least get a job at the local McDonald's.

I drove home to Leavenworth and not ten minutes out of the car we received a call, this time I answered. It was the assistant director, she offered me the part of Tony. I had to ask her if it was a good role. She laughed and told me that it was the lead...

I took the part.

I quit smoking, got the soundtrack to the musical and began to learn my lines. I couldn't read music and as noted before, hadn't sung in years so it was an uphill battle.

I sang, I danced, I kissed Maria and was shot. The audience cried and we received many standing ovations.

In addition to ovations and a four page, full-color spread in the local newspaper arts section I got a huge scholarship to Benedictine, the college that co-sponsored the production.

Each semester at Benedictine, I made it to the Dean's list. I performed in everything that I could. I truly quit smoking, switched to Diet Dr. Pepper with an occasional water. I began checking my blood sugar, eating three meals a day and learned to read music.

Two years into my time at Benedictine, I became a Catholic and began to discern a vocation to the priesthood. God had other plans, I fell in love with Erin, now my wife and moved to Portland, OR. I finished my education as a Laurel's Scholar for the state of Oregon and was offered a teaching fellowship for my graduate work at PSU.

On a dime... One wrong step and I would be flipping burgers. Thank you God for saving me.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Welcome to heaven Mrs. Mayfield

In the 90's I stayed with my stepfather's mother Virginia several times. She was a kind old lady who really only liked me, we got on rather well. My sister was too cute and not interested in her antiques and dotty ways and my mom was marrying her son and thus was not well-received either (it should be noted that she wasn't much for her son either... he had the audacity to wear jeans to Easter brunch!) At any rate, it was perfect for me. A slightly senile old lady from an aristocratic old family living in a house full of lovely things. Other 13 year old children had skate boards and Metallica, I had portraits of Civil War generals and stories of the distant Kennedy relation of my step-grandmother. Really, I was quite happy.

Virginia, was about 80 and drove a creamy yellow Lincoln Continental that her other Adonis like grandsons had nicknamed the "SS Virginia." Car and its driver were a menace to all of Springfield, MO (the place where she had lived her entire life.) Every day, she would pack into that huge car and drive about town running her own version of the Welcome Wagon. The car was quite worse for the wear after she had backed it out of the side of her narrow garage one too many times.

To complete her effect, she had a small white toy poodle whom she insisted was named "Jacques" although she could not pronounce the name she took great pride in the little French nod to culture and dignity.

Virginia was born into a prominent family, who were the founders of a local department store. Her parents lived in a lavish, craftsman style house on a tree-lined street in town. She would tell stories of her coming out party and the dances that they held on the wide front porch (whose windows retracted into the floor to ease the hot summers.)

In her late teens, she married "well" to a man who was for all intents and purposes the epitome of a douche bag. He was abusive and a womanizer and they divorced within 10 years of their marriage (not before having and traumatizing their son, my future stepfather.)

Virginia's wealthy, Catholic upbringing had not prepared her for the shame of being divorced in the 50's. Once a social doyenne, she was reduced by the social insult of a failed marriage. Her mother was not supportive and it seems was jealous of her doting father, this relationship seems to have become more strained after the divorce.

Unfortunately, the comfortable upbringing of her childhood did not carry into her adulthood. After the divorce and as her parents aged, their money waned. In addition, Virginia's brother was a terrible alcoholic who drank away a good portion of the family fortune (it was mentioned that at one low point in the 70's she opened the door of his car only to have numerous empty bottles of the only alcohol he could afford at the time, Listerine.) Despite this indignities, Virginia held her head high. She worked and lived with a sense of class that seems to be lost on my generation. Her meals (often cold meat sandwiches, with the crust removed and halved) were eaten on the Spode china she received as a wedding gift with sterling flatware and cut glass.

A creative woman, her home reflected an imagined opulence. The familial trappings of wealth came to reside in her tiny little ranch (still located in a lovely neighborhood even though the rent was only $250 dollars a month.) Her skills as a social butterfly did not go to waste, but were parlayed into a business welcoming newcomers to town with packets of advertising and coupons.

She maintained her place at society functions by volunteering and through sheer force of will, perhaps diminished but no less proud. As we polished silver at her dining room table, she would tell stories of how her wealthier friends wouldn't lend their sterling tea sets for fundraisers and so she would proudly offer her Gorham six-piece set for whatever altar society meeting, sale or auction it was needed for never realizing or perhaps caring that the sale of just some of her finery would have alleviated the masked poverty she lived in.

The last summer that I saw her, I stayed with her for two weeks to help her have a garage sale. The first two days were spent carting things from the attic, the next two days selling them in the back yard and the rest of the two weeks, she and I drove all over town. We took an inventory of each of her families former residences. Her parent's large home (she had to sell it after their death to pay for their dying years and her brother's embarrassing condition.) Her maternal grandmother's home, a lavish Victorian in a lovely part of town and her paternal grandparent's home or at least the site of it, they had donated the home to a local hospital which some time later had torn the mansion down for a parking lot. We even drove past the condo of her now-deceased former husband. The woman he had left her for still lived there (a muttered "whore" could be heard as we passed her unit.) It was a strange and rich two weeks.

Almost 20 years later I fondly remember the time I spent at her house.

Sadly, Her son informed me that she had died several years ago and that he had acquired the Gorham, Spode, paintings, antiques, etc. He didn't mention her really, just the things... Sad.

Today, as I was driving, I remembered a detail that I am sure that I was too young to really understand. Once, Virginia mentioned that she had considered taking Jacques and herself out into the forest where they would starve to death. At the time, coming from a family prone to sarcasm, I don't know that I gave it much thought, considering it a morbid joke. After all these years, I decided that she felt that it was really an option for her, no muss, no fuss, no burden. I think the only thing that kept her from it was the questions by those of her former social class and the doctrine of her now defunct Catholic faith. In my teen self-centered psyche I didn't make the connection to the profound loneliness that she must have felt.

Dearest Virginia, you were loved by me. Even though we knew each other for a few short years you were important to me. I am sure that you are in heaven, welcoming, as in life, newcomers t0 their now eternal home.

Monday, February 1, 2010


So I have moved a lot in my life... Here is a random attempt to chronicle the number:

Born 1978, St. Joseph, MO (Pickett St.) Mom and Dad loved this house, their first home purchased together.

1. Moved 1979, Milwaukee, WI: For Dad's job, great old house. Yellow wallpaper in my bedroom.

2. Moved 1980, St. Joseph, MO (Bittersweet St.) Rental house, not sure where dad worked at this time. Mom hated the full-length front window.

3. Moved 1982? LaPorte, IN: Another neat house, Emillie was born here. I started preschool.

4. Moved 1983? Woodstock, GA: Surprise move of sorts. New house, poorly built. When we moved after living here we sold most of what we owned so that we could make it back to the Midwest. Grandparents, Aunt and Uncle helped to drive us back.

5. Moved 1983? St. Joseph, MO (Grandma Wood's House): Not a good time, all 5 of us lived in one room (1000 sq ft house 7 people total.) Very bad...

6. Moved 1983, St Joeseph, MO (West Meadow Lane) Bad house, stressful time for family. Dad's diabetes continues to get in the way of work. Mom goes to work at the hospital.

7. Moved 1984, St Joseph, MO ( Mitchell Ave 3100 block?) Strange house, former owner had shot his wife accidentally (she survived.) Strange toile wallpaper allover the living room.

8. Moved, 1985, St Joseph, MO (Mitchell Ave 3400 block?) The house that I remember most from childhood. Badly remodeled Victorian. Dad passed away in 1986 from complications from diabetes and Sleep Apnea. Mom stopped working at the hospital so she could have more time with us, went to work for the St. Joseph Museum. Mom called this house the "Albatross."

9. Moved 1992, Leavenworth, KS (Herb's House) Mom and Herb married, we sold most of our stuff to consolidate households. 11 days later Herb beat up mom, we left. Had to come back the same night to get what we could. Herb yells at me to be careful because there is a "lot of stuff to move" Aaron had stayed in St. Joe, working and going to college.

10. Moved 1992, Leavenworth, KS (Alliance Against Family Violence) We started out at the Commander's Inn, to save money moved to the Alliance. Herb put anything we couldn't get that first night into a storage locker. We later moved all of those things into an acquaintance's house. The Alliance was a mixed bag... some scary folks: a woman I will never forget named Tami who wanted to kill us for eating her cake. The sweet Brenda who was so kind to us all. Zeda who had big dreams and a raging coke habit. Sheila the exotic dancer whose face looked like raw meat the night she moved in. The classmate from my High School who had to move in with her mom (talk about awkward...) The woman, CarolAnne given to pathological lying. All in all, a very strange place. I had to lie to tell my classmates where I lived as the shelter's location was secret. Most afternoons I would wander Delaware street hassling the Antique Store owners...

11. Moved 1993, Leavenworth KS (Columbia Street) Moved out of the shelter. House was too small but felt good! TERRIBLE move in! Bad storm, moving truck stuck on the hill in front of house where our stuff was stored. Electric blue woodwork and mirrored tiles. I slept in the front bedroom, Emillie in the back, mom in the dining room. Later, Aaron moved in with us, sleeping in the living room before he began coursework at St. Mary's College. I got sick, found out I had diabetes.

12. Moved 1993, Leavenworth, KS (Pawnee Street): Mom and Bill marry, move to his house. Bad house! Rent out Columbia House to mutual "friend." Terrible year... I was not dealing well with diabetes. Strange, strange, strange.

13. Moved 1994, Leavenworth, KS (Pin Oaks): Bill transferred to AZ, good move! Mom and Bill's marriage annulled! Strange neighbors, abusive boyfriend etc... Bulk of high school at this house. I was embarrassed but in hindsight was not so bad a place. Used to have carpool drop me off at the entrance of the wealthy suburb across the street so that folks didn't know where I really lived.

14. Moved 1996, Tonganoxie, KS (Stacy's House): After heated argument with Mom after I graduated High School, moved into a friend's house taking anything that I could from the house (HUGE REGRET.) Lived in unfinished basement. Sold most of what I had taken with me to pay for living and being stupid (I was 18) Worked at an A & W. Had no money and couldn't find a better job.

15. Moved 1996, Lawrence, KS (Jared's House): Failed attempt at college. Tried to live in an apartment, one of the greatest regrets of my life (treated roommate terribly.) I just could not motivate myself. Slept all day, walked around Lawrence all night. Used to sit in the Campanile to watch the sunrise. Diabetes was really in poor control.

16. Moved 1996, Leavenworth, KS (Pin Oaks): Moved back in with Mom and Emillie, lived in the basement. Worked at Sears, Country Cupboard and for a caterer... Really depressing, felt like a failure. Everyone else at college...

17. Moved 1996, Leavenworth, KS (John's House): Another bad attempt at adulthood. BAD idea, after short period of time John moved my things out to the garage. We were not a good fit as roommates...

18. Moved 1997, St. Joseph, MO (Jim's House): Move in with family friend who had just had triple bypass. Got a job working for a carpet store, chain-smoked... Most depressing point thus far. Moved into Jim's apartment, got him a job at the same place that I worked. Ended badly with him trying to be a "father figure" I did not deal well.

19. Moved 1997, Leavenworth, KS (Columbia): Life a real mess, move home with Mom and Em. Begin work on the Columbia house. Totally gut the house and begin rebuilding. Mom and Em slept in back bedroom. I slept on living room couch and later on floor. We had no walls for months. Hard time, I struggled a lot with debt. Went to work for a furniture store in KC, MO. Ended up working 80 hours a week for a really bad boss. Downward spiral into chain-smoking anorexia. Stress gets so bad that I begin to have spontaneous nosebleeds. Friend Nicole from work orders me to "leave and never come back" gives me a mix tape.

20. Moved 1998, Atchison, KS (Benedictine): less than a year later after somehow quitting smoking, and turning my brain around I was awarded the role of Tony in Benedictine's production of West Side Story. After, awarded scholarship... LIFE CHANGING! Became a student, found Christ and the Church. Almost became a priest! Found my friend Mary Carol who has been a constant support.

21. Moved 2001, Portland, OR (PSU): After a Christmas visit to Portland in 2000, I fell in love with Erin (my dream girl from High School. In less than 6 months I picked up and moved all the way across the country so that we could have a relationship. Accepted into the opera program at PSU, win Oregon Laurels Scholarship... Mom and I really begin to have a good relationship.

22. Moved 2002, Portland, OR (Powell) Erin and I get married! This was a cute apt. in a not so good neighborhood. Felt we needed to move after neighbors were threatening...

23. Moved 2002, Portland, OR (SW 66th) Big apartment, being remodeled. Great place! We found out we were going to have Abigail and decided to buy a house!

24. Moved 2004, Portland, OR (Wabash) The best house that we could afford. My brother and I remodeled ever surface in the house between Thanksgiving and New Years so that Erin could be in the house while pregnant. Hard financial times, Erin lost her job after maternity leave. I was only working part time for PSU... Emillie visits for the first and last time.

25. Moved 2006, Portland, OR (Mall): Sold Wabash house for a profit when we found out that Erin was pregnant again. Closing was a nightmare! Problems with the documents required 3 separate signings! Moved to Mall (on Easter Sunday with only Elizaebeth's help), ugly but large house. We remodeled every inch of the house. ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL! Would have stayed but the job market tanked! NO MONEY! We put the house on the market, it sold one day later... Oh and I got a great job at the same time, doh! At the same time, Emillie disappears. Mom gets Cancer. I lose my mind... (enter therapy)

26. Moved 2008, Portland, OR (Hurst) Rush job! Had to move, found great Victorian in North Portland. Had a terrible accident while moving, moving truck caused a great deal of damage to the Radio Shack on Lombard and to a late model Ford Taurus (uninsured driver...) At any rate, awesome garden! Unfortunately, Erin's job moved her to the other side of town creating a 1 hour commute. A year later, we knew that we had to move again.

27. Moved 2009, Portland, OR (Tacoma) The house of doom... Stupid! Only moved for Erin's job. House was half the size, in a terrible part of a great neighborhood. Landlord did NO maintenance (methane gas coming from the tub and sink drains... AWESOME! Oh, and 3 months after we moved in, Erin lost her job... The most depressing place that I have lived in here in Portland.

28. Moved 2010, Portland, OR (SW Hills): This will be the change. I want to stay here. We await the birth of the 3rd little Hoyt. Dear Lord, let us make this place our home.

Correct any inaccuracy! I am going to try to fill in some of these as actual stories with exposition...