Saturday, June 30, 2012


31 Things Update---The real class, the 31 days of it, ended mid-June.  I fell behind.  I decided that was okay.  I've finished something like 20 things.  I have 11 more things to write about.  They started to be things I wanted to write a lot about, so I decided to give myself some extra time.  I just need to finish before the end of September...when the "31 MORE Things" class starts.  Anyway, end side note, here's Thing Nine...

I remember one night when Miles was just starting to drink formula...he’d had some tummy troubles with the first brand we tried.  His doctor recommended we try a different kind and I headed to the store and bought three or four different types...some soy, some for young babies, different brands, etc.  And on the way home, I realized how much of a financial burden this might have been for another family.  Formula isn’t cheap, and I’d just bought a lot of it so I could guess and check which kind was best for Miles.  I realized how fortunate we were, that this was easy for us.

Though I don’t think we’re strictly “frugal,” we don’t have a lot of expensive habits.  Nathan walks to work and mows our lawn.   I make a weekly trip to Costco to stock our fridge with low cost milk.  All four of us prefer to wear our favorite clothes until they fall apart, or we outgrow them (in the case of the boys.)  I have pieces in my wardrobe from high school.  The boys in our family all get their haircuts at home.  Vacations are usually trips to stay with our relatives.  Nathan and the boys enjoy lovely meals prepared by Google at school and work.  Our ideal evening involves TV, library books, and quesadillas. Babysitters are almost always related to us, and therefore very affordable.

Even our splurges are fairly practical.  The boys go to a gloriously lovely daycare center.  We have nice cameras.  A fancy double stroller.  We live in California, which is a splurge of a sort.  Twice a month, two magical ladies come to vacuum, clean the bathrooms, and mop our floors.  

My guilty pleasures?  Manicures, once a month or so.  Coffee from the cart in the library, if I don’t have time to make it at home in the morning.  Digi scrapbooking supplies, and photobooks from Blurb or Shutterfly--though I always do these things during sales.  And I’m on a first name basis with the staff of my local LaBoulanger.  I buy my lunch at work way more than is “necessary.”  I could pack a lunch and eat at work.  But the process of walking downtown, ordering my usual sandwich, talking to the staff, sitting in the booth and reading my book makes me so happy.  The margherita al fresco,  probably my most frequent purchase.

Sunday, June 10, 2012


My first car was a 1980 Honda Accord, that had been painted a bright red-orange using a can of latex wall paint.  I know because the extra paint was included in the price of the car.  Then I inherited a series of cars from my mom.  First a red Nissan Sentra.  Then a silver Toyota Corrolla.  Then I bought my first Prius.  Then Nathan bought the second.  And now we have a van that’s more like a yacht than an automobile.  I’ve loved each of these cars in their time.  They’ve all served me well, and each one holds special memories of places I’ve gone, songs I’ve sung, and friends I’ve traveled with.  

But the Westfalia Camper remains my dream car.  

My dad had several of these campervans when I was a kid, and I loved our camping road trips.  I loved the hours on the highway.  I loved all the places I could hang out during the trip (front seat, back seat, sometimes the middle seats, and if those were missing, I could dance on the center floor space...this was before seat belts were popular.)  I loved that in the evenings, we’d pop the top up, cook ourselves some dinner, curl up in sleeping bags, and sleep outside, but not quite outside.  I decided I would spend a good deal of my post-college life seeing the U.S. in my own Westfalia camper.  My friends and I called it my “Westfalia Camper Plan.”  Heteo suggested we drive to Tierra del Fuego.

I love the space you find on a road trip.  As much as I appreciate the sights and the sounds and songs and the snacks associated with being in the car for hours, it may be the room to think I appreciate most.  Something about the rhythm of the highway makes the mind a little looser, and more relaxed.  I was driving back from mom’s house when I came up with “meteowrite.”  I spent another such drive choosing carpet for the house I hoped Nathan and I would buy one day.  I mapped out the boy’s family history blog on a trip to Fresno.  I’ve “written” countless stories.  It’s easy to imagine when you’re driving.

For our honeymoon, Nathan and I traveled to New Zealand, and we spent three weeks driving a campervan.  It was heavenly. Somewhere towards the end of our trip, I spent several hours imagining what it would be like to travel with our future children.  I bought us an imaginary RV, and pictured our cross-country road trips.  Perhaps the kids would be home schooled?  And they’d have their cameras, certainly.  My only requirement would be that they would update a blog, keeping a journal of their travels.  We’d drive and learn and see and think and document.

In real life, I don’t see the Westfalia Camper Plan as a viable option any time soon.  I don’t drive stick shift.  I don’t want to homeschool.  I like my job, I like my house.  But I do hope the boys develop a little bit of my wanderlust, and I hope they love a good road trip.  And they’d better like to blog.  Before too much longer, I’ll load them up in the yacht-van, pack some traveling tunes and some sleeping bags, and we’ll see where we end up.