i’m being serious

As a parent, you know to look forward to, or at least think ahead of time about, certain changes, transitions, your kids will go through, and the implications for the rest of the family, particularly budgetary implications. Yeah I know that’s a long comma-filled thought, but I think it’s grammatically correct enough.

To some degree, and maybe this is because I’m a heavy-duty planner, I thought about things like the cost of school lunches and clubs and back-to-school clothes and whatnot. I even thought (a little) about weddings and college educations. Maybe that’s better than most, I don’t know.

I didn’t think much about the whole car situation. We hadn’t really planned on buying our kids their first cars, we didn’t encourage them to create any car-focused savings. We didn’t have a plan at all, really. And, honestly maybe that’s fine. I’m not pushing the notion that parents should be responsible for supplying their children with vehicles (or paying for their weddings or college educations or school lunches, for that matter). I’m just saying we had zero plan.

What happened then, at least with Keaton (our first driver) is that she basically assumed primary drivership of my vehicle when I started cycling to work. I mean it makes sense, my car was sitting idle in the garage and someone may as well use it. That’s been the case now for about a year. I rarely drive my car, and I’m used to not having a vehicle here on-demand even when I’m not at work.

And, really, it really hasn’t even been a thing. I don’t miss driving (I still drive, just way less), nor have I wound-up in a bunch of frustrating situations where I’m stranded without a vehicle. When Sharaun and I need separate vehicles, we give Keaton advanced notice and work out how we’re going to make things work. It’s been a non-issue.

So to the point of my post: I have proposed to Sharaun, and she’s agreed, that when Keaton heads to school, wherever that may be, we’re going to “gift” her my car (which is basically already her car) and attempt to not replace it with a second car for the family (minus Keaton). We’re going to give being a one-car family a shot, see how it works for us.

I know there will be some instances where it’ll be inconvenient and frustrating. But the tens of thousands we’d save not buying a 2nd car could buy a ton of public transportation or rideshare rides before we’d break even. Heck if a longer-term need arises maybe even renting a vehicle for a week or so.

I’m eager to see how it works. I think it’ll be a good exercise in humility and good humor for me, since Sharaun will be the one with all-time access to a vehicle and I’m the one volunteering to go without. My bike gets me to work and back, and with coordination and patience I think we can handle the rest.

I’ll let you know how it goes. Hugs.


Some of my favorite moments are silent moments alone in my darkened house just before sunrise.

I’ve written about it several times before so it feels a bit redundant, but there’s something comforting about the way the lack of sound and light feels like a blanket, a cocoon.

In those moments I tend to feel a swelling of gratitude for our abode. A small protective castle just for us where we’re sheltered from wind and cold and heat and rain and bugs and bluster. I look around with a Christmas morning contentedness, feeling in love with the cozy clutter and soft blankets. At complete and welcomed odds with the small frustrations I feel noticing all the small imperfections in the critical light of daytime.

Yeah I’ve written about this before.

The sun rises over the lake in pinks and oranges, and the fog over the water seems to be running away like a vampire. Means I have to put down my book and fold up my blanket and make another cup of coffee and wake my family for church and get in the shower.

Until later then.

too much of a good thing

When we moved to Florida and settled after our year on the road, I decided that I wanted to become a regular blood donor as a way to honor my parents. Both mom and dad both died of blood cancer (MDS), and both received regular transfusions in the years prior to passing, so I saw firsthand how important blood can be to someone’s quality of life.

I donated every eight weeks, which is as often as allowed, for several years.

A little less than a year ago, my regular labs from a routine doctor’s appointment came back showing a little anemia. When I told my physician I had donated blood the day before my labs, she said that it was probably just bad timing and that my iron was depleted from the donation the day before. We decided to check it again in a few months.

At the next bloodwork, the anemia was more pronounced – iron, hemoglobin, and hematocrit all notably low. I had a moment of panic, not having heard those last two words since the days of monitoring dad and mom’s status as their MDS progressed. My doctor referred me to a hematologist, asked me to not donate blood anymore, and put me on oral iron supplements.

Two weeks later I went to the oncology center to give more blood and had a small emotional breakdown in the lobby, recalling my visits with dad. Seeing the sick people packed into this cancer Costco really brought back those memories. The oncologist said my numbers had improved in the two weeks since I’d started supplemental iron, but were still too low. They asked me to schedule a colonoscopy to check for internal bleeding and told me to continue taking iron.

Months later (the American healthcare system is anything but swift) I got a clean bill of health from gastroenterology and went back to oncology for more bloodwork. All numbers back in-range, no internal bleeding.

The verdict? Too frequent blood donation had depleted my iron. My body needed time and supplemental help to rebound. Stop donating blood so frequently, they said. Maybe honor your folks by doing it on their birthdays twice a year instead.

An anxious several months and I’m disappointed because donating really did make me feel like I was doing something good for the world.

post-sister christmas

The week before Christmas, a conversation with Cohen:

Dripping with glee and restless anticipation, “Dad, I am so excited about Christmas. Every year Keaton let’s me sleep in her room and we stay up and talk and snuggle and we’re so excited we can’t go to sleep and and…” trailing-off into exuberant gibberish with the biggest smile.

Then with a visible pause, smile fading, head cocked in that something-just-came-to-me thoughtful posture, he looks at me and says, “Dad, will Keaton even be hear next Christmas?”

Oh, I see where we’re going. “Well buddy, regardless of what Keaton chooses to do after highschool, most kids come home to spend Christmas with their families, so I would say ‘yes’ she’ll be here.”

“But, it won’t be her room anymore really…” a little sad.

Seeing he’s still processing, I don’t offer a response… just waiting…

With a slowly spreading smile, “Well, I will invite her to spend the night in my room.”


stretch, read, cook

I like to say I “don’t really do new year resolutions,” but in truth I effectively do.

In the typically slower couple of weeks around the time when you take one calendar down and put up another, I tend to think about habits. Habits I formed in the elapsing year and habits I’d like to form in the coming one.

Looking back (and not having to turn my head all that much) to 2023, I am most proud of my new commuting routine of cycling to work. Come March 2024 I’ll have been riding to work for a full year, missing only a handful of days here and there due to weather or midday commitments requiring a combustion engine. One hour of elevated heart-rate each weekday, twelve miles round-trip.

As accomplished as my new cycling habit makes me feel, it was not a habit I set out to establish at the end of 2022. In fact, I only really consciously took two goals for the now-rearview year, as documented in my January 2023 post here. What’s more, I was 100% successful on both. I managed all our vehicle oil changes as well as last year’s taxes.

So cycling was a bonus. It wasn’t the only one, I also made conscious efforts to cook more, to share our performance-to-budget with the family at least 3x/year, and to have at least one date-night with Sharaun each month. While not grand goals in any sense, I’m happy that I was successful establishing those habits as well.

This year, then, I am aiming similarly low (read: achievable), writing down three smaller habits I hope to develop for the year:

  • Stretch for at least 5min at least 3 days/week, focusing on hips/core
  • Get back to regularly reading for fun, with a goal to finish minimum 6 books
  • Cook dinner for the family at least 3 days/month

I expect the last two bullets to come fairly easily, but the first one will be tough. Tough for all the reasons I’ve written about why exercise/physical habits are hard for me here before.

But, gotta try.

anole stroll

Like they’re pulling back a curtain to allow, and perhaps provide a bit of fanfare for, my passage – lizards rush from one side of the sidewalk to the next just in front of my bike tires as I ride to and from work each day. It’s like they’re revealing the path for me; opening the way.

So bold, too, darting across with a second to spare before getting crushed under me. Not indecisive like squirrels, they never hesitate they just go for it. So many, too. Like tens at a time for miles of ride.

I wonder what it is about an oncoming vehicle that makes them bolt across? Why not just stay put and avoid the risk? Is the side you’re running to “home?” Are you just across the way sunning or looking for food? Am I really that scary?


Yesterday evening Sharaun was gone to bunco, so the kids and I went out for Mexican. When we got home, Keaton suggested we play the multiplayer Mario Bros. that came out for the Wii in 2009. I’d never played it before, but I’ve watched the kids play.

I so love all Mario games. I’ve certainly not played all the games that have been released since I stopped keeping up back in the late 80s, but every time I see one I get excited. Same with Zelda, those classic NES anchor brands remind me of 5th grade and all the excitement of playing them for the first time.

Anyway we all played for over an hour and not only was the game fantastic but we had the best time. I haven’t played a video game in forever, but doing it with the kids instead of watching TV or all being separately scrolling devices was really great.

We laughed, made fun of each other, coordinated as a team, celebrated joint victory… it was awesome. And, unlike a lot of the newest games, like the amazing open world ones on the Switch, I didn’t think it was too complicated to control or play. Old-person approved.

So I guess this is all about Mario. Maybe I should throw something random in to make it not all about Mario…

Social media is actually a cancer, rotting away our humanity and intelligence and curiosity. I used to think we could never go back, never unopen that box. But now I think that the one thing that might slow or reverse the addiction is the industry’s own greed. With Facebook and Instagram and X all now looking to charge users monthly, they might actually help fight the very cancer they created. Let’s hope.