Happy holidays, Traipsers!
I'm a bit of a (recovering) holiday grinch, but Chelsea and I reached a cease fire on music this year and settled in a neutral zone
of Christmas peaceful piano (<-Spotify). As a personal therapy project, I even learned how to play a few holiday songs on the piano. Ho ho ho!

This Week's Newsletter:

Oregon and NorCal road tripping, maintaining holiday connection, hacking your cell phone bill, and beautiful Japanese art.


Exploring Fern Canyon in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park.

Circling Back to the Oregon Coast and NorCal Redwoods

Between the pandemic and smoke, we spent a biiit more time at home this year. (Anyone else?) Luckily, early December presented a rare clear weather window, so we packed the van and headed west toward the ocean.

This wasn’t an adventure trip with Type 2 fun. Nope, this was a vacation, a chance to revisit areas we fondly remembered from kicking off our van trip in 2013.

We had simple goals as we drove over the Cascades: 1) turn our faces to the salty ocean spray during Oregon Coast beach walks and 2) wander with necks craned back in the towering redwoods of Northern California.

Since covid disclaimers are all the rage, here’s ours: other than gas fillups, we were completely self-contained for the entire week. Well, we rescued an injured seagull, but I don't think they can catch the virus...

For lots of pictures of the coast and redwoods,
check out the rest of the post here!

Remembering Christmas Family Fun

Thanks to the damndemic, we are skipping our usual holiday gathering with Chelsea's family. Sad, but necessary. Silver lining: her parents can't destroy us at card games!

To keep the holiday tradition going, I'm revisiting past photos from Christmas each morning. Then I pick a few and text it to everyone - the goofier, the better. It's obviously not the same as being together, but seeing all the smiles and antics from past years connects us and reminds us of the good times.

As easy as setting a recurring calendar event for each morning, searching for "December 25" in your photos app, and sending away!

This would also be fun year-round as a daily or weekly practice...

By Land, By Sea, By Air: a gyotaku print available here. (Cedar stump, kelp, feather.)

Gyotaku Art Prints

My friend and wise mentor, Duncan Berry, recently created a stunning series of art prints using the ancient method of gyotaku. While gyotaku's origins are in fish printing (it means "fish" + "rubbing"), the found nature objects that Duncan printed are my favorite for their simple beauty.

I loved the three-piece print pictured above, as well as this boa kelp spiral. I have no idea how he gets such minute detail, but I'm excited to learn the method next time I visit him.

Hack Your Cell Phone Bill

'Tis the season for giving, but Verizon is not on my charity list. Instead, this week I discovered an easy cell phone hack that might save you some cash. Their stock price will be fine, don't worry.

After being annoyed with recent changes to our plan, I finally upgraded to unlimited data. Ugh, an extra $60/mo on our bill (our parents are on the plan with us). Or so I thought.

Turns out Verizon offers $10 off per line IF you switch your payments from credit card to checking account or debit card. End result: we now have unlimited data for five lines, plus coverage in Mexico and Canada...for just $10 more per month than I was paying for sharing 4GB and running out every time we traveled.

Hold. The. Phone! (Sorry, had to do it.)

Guess what?
Verizon does it, and so does ATT. Unless you hate money and enjoy giving it to large corporations, I recommend investigating further. Let me know if it works for you!
That's it for this edition. Two parting shots: these running laces are my favorite recent <$10 life upgrade - tying shoes is so over! I'm also digging the Andrew Bird Spotify radio mix. Good grief that guy can whistle.
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