Howdy Traipsers,

Aside from some smoke last week triggering pangs of climate despair and Googling “are there fires in New Zealand?” summer is rushing along in its headlong, giddy fashion. May the fickle fire gods keep your area smoke-free.

Quite the calculation. When does this become the season to avoid, and when does it force you from a place you adore?

The positives in Bend – outdoor access, our friends, a house and tightly-knit neighborhood we love - still dramatically outweigh the negatives of potential smoke. There’s nowhere else I’d rather live.

However, obviously there’s a tipping point. For now, we’re trying not to get wrapped up in future fearcasting and simply enjoying the summertime magic.

Beyond local summer life, next up for me is bikepacking the burly 540-mile Colorado Trail from Denver to Durango. If you live along the route and want to meet up, just hit reply and send me an email! Always a pleasure to meet Traipsing About readers.

This week’s newsletter:

Your real masterpiece, newsletter sampling, better than average, a sunscreen hack, and lightening your partner's load.


Exploring the Cascade Mountains in our backyard with Chelsea last week. A reminder why I love this area.

Your body is not your masterpiece

The five-paragraph essay Your Body Is Not Your Masterpiece by Glennon Doyle is SO good.

Here are a couple of the essay's paragraphs, but I highly recommend reading the entire piece and/or forwarding the essay to someone you know who might benefit from it.

Stop spending all day obsessing, cursing, perfecting your body like it’s all you’ve got to offer the world. Your body is not your art, it’s your paintbrush. Whether your paintbrush is a tall paintbrush or a thin paintbrush or a stocky paintbrush or a scratched up paintbrush is completely irrelevant. What is relevant is that YOU HAVE A PAINTBRUSH which can be used to transfer your insides onto the canvas of your life — where others can see it and be inspired and comforted by it.

Your body is not your offering. It’s just a really amazing instrument which you can use to create your offering each day. Don’t curse your paintbrush. Don’t sit in a corner wishing you had a different paintbrush. You’re wasting time. You’ve got the one you got. Be grateful, because without it you’d have nothing with which to paint your life’s work. Your life’s work is the love you give and receive — and your body is the instrument you use to accept and offer love on your soul’s behalf. It’s a system.

Related: My blog post Ditching a Self-Bullying Mindset

Expose yourself to fresh newsletters

I know most of you only have time for one newsletter full of weighty, thought-provoking content. (Obviously I mean this newsletter). However, perhaps you’d like to expand your sights a bit? But how to efficiently discover new work?

Enter The Sample, which sends newsletter samples your way with an easy 1-click subscribe if you dig the content. Select a few criteria to help hone the algorithm, then rate what they send your way to further dial things in. I’ve found some excellent new newsletters to broaden my world.

(Discovered via Recomendo, which continues to be a favorite newsletter of mine for variety and useful tools/insights.)

I just completed my 2nd round of 100 days of Italian study and music practice. Travel threw off my piano routine a bit, but hey, it's summer!

I expected my enthusiasm to wane, but creating an accountability program with a friend in conjunction with this calendar majorly upped my commitment and consistency and I'm seeing solid progress. Here's a blank calendar (adapted/stolen like an artist from Austin Kleon).

Hacking sunscreen tubes (literally)

Who among us hasn’t squeezed furiously on a toothpaste, sunscreen or lotion tube trying to get the last drop out, failing miserably? Yup. Thought so.

I hate tossing the tubes before they're empty, but if you cut the bottom off then everything just dries out. *sigh*

Chelsea, brilliant practical wife of mine, found this hack: simply cut a middle section out of the tube, then slip the bigger piece over the rest of it.  Boom. The contents are totally accessible and don't dry out. You’re officially winning.

If only this worked on those horribly-shaped applesauce containers.


Lightening your partner's load

Think about this: what things are easy for you that your partner hates to do or always procrastinates? What if you could swiftly knock an item off their to-do list without breaking a sweat vs. them grinding their teeth and hating every moment of it? What a gift!

Over the years, I’ve applied this in various areas of our lives. Chelsea would rather flee the country than handle tax stuff, so I do that. I also don’t mind cleaning up the kitchen before bed, but I hate mopping the floor for some reason, so she handles that.

Try it out. I bet the gratitude you receive will be 6x the effort you put into the task.

Our garden is going absolutely ballistic this year. Chelsea, aka resident garden genius, started every plant here from seed!

Thanks for stopping by Traipsing About. Hack up some sunscreen, use your best paintbrush, and find some fresh newsletters...but maybe only after you help somebody out with a task?

Catch you in a couple weeks!

P.S. My piano teacher is from Brazil, birthplace of Bossa nova music. (Think different styles of beats and unconventional chords.) He suggested the minor key piece Luiza. This piano version is fabulous. So far I can only play the parts before he gets all Jazz Master, but a boy can dream!

Oh, what the heck, here's another garden shot. Hard to believe this back yard was an ugly patch of lawn just last year!
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