Cars: 2011 Nissan Altima Hybrid

Huge. That best describes this car. I cannot believe this isn’t technically a full-size. It’s as big as an Accord and nearly the same equipment. Nissan’s always confused me about trim. Anyway. It’s a hybrid getting about 25mpg in traffic, which is rather low compared to the Prius. But it sure is sportier. It had a lot of pickup. But it’s really twitchy. It feels heavy and the steering overassisted. Around corners and ovee bumps it feels unsure. But on the expressway very capable. Even the usually-annoying CVT is palatable in this car.

Tasha: 1997-2011

I remember the day she came home. It was confusing to have a dog in our family after so many years. But she was definitely part of the family, not only as a pet but almost as a little sister.

My mom was home a lot for the first years of her life. She didn’t sit, beg, shake hands — none of the standard tricks. She was her own puppy who sorta just understood.

She knew who to get food from. She knew to argue back or how to get your attention. She just knew. It’s a trait you don’t often find with animals. Through my mom’s cancer, dad’s surgeries, on car rides up north — she was always there.

She would sit on my dad’s shoulder or she had a spot on the center seat in dad’s old Dodge pickup between my parents. She couldn’t sleep without both of them being home as she often slept with the two of them.

Fiercely loyal, she’d “chew out” anyone who came close to the car or house. At 18″ tall there was little she could do but she made it seem she was 6′ tall.

The memories are endless and I will not be able to let her die in my soul. She’s out there now, free of pain or any earthly challenges she faced. In her last year, she had lost movement in her hind legs altogether. She had also gone deaf.

She fell asleep forever sometime the afternoon of Thursday, August 4 just three months before her 14th birthday. I miss her now as I always have when I said goodbye to her. You never know when your last goodbye is your last goodbye. This one I remember. And always will.