pan am prep


Soooooooo….. it’s not quite as sunny as we thought it might be!


Nor is it as warm!


Or saaaaaaaay….. balmy.


But it IS frolicsome and the kids DO have fun with it.

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And it’s gorgeous. Just double dipped in soul-clenching beauty.



It’s Northern California at its best.


But we are not supposed to be in Northern California still, are we? Oh no! According to our plan, we are supposed to be meandering on our way south to the border.


Some things have happened and I’ll tell you something about it.

Part One (yes, this has Parts 🙂 )

1. My brother lives in a really small town. My address is now his. We were having a bunch of REALLY IMPORTANT things mailed to us here. We completed our change of address before leaving Alameda, from the places we purchased/ordered our items, we clearly indicated MY BROTHER’S ADDRESS as ours.

2. It’s a really small town. The post-person who received the mail didn’t know me/Mikey. Looked at the mail, the names, the address and was like, “nope, that’s Dana’s place, don’t know any Meriah, wrong address!” – AND – get this – SHIPPED IT BACK!!!!!

*insert incredulity*


It took us a while to figure it out… we were waiting and waiting and then wondering, then called the places and they had it all tracked and it had been delivered then… RETURNED!

So we had to go to the Post Office, introduce ourselves, show our ID, and now wait for our stuff to get re-sent. We can expect to receive the stuff within a couple of weeks.

Part Two:

1. Truck: when we took it for our camping trip test shortly after arriving, Mikey noticed something on the manifold that needed doing. That led to something else on the transmission. I’m a bad person to be talking about this stuff because when I see/hear “manifold”, I just think “destiny” – and I know that’s supposed to be coupled with “manifest” but I can’t stop myself.

Anyway. Where was I.

“Manifold”. So, he’s been doing truck fixing work for a good solid week. All done, it’s looking GREAT, he says, YAY! And that’s good enough for me.

2. Sleeping: when we took it for our camping trip test, I got about, oh, 30 winks of sleep. It was way up there on the list of what’s uncomfortable, and a big part of that had to do with being sandwiched between MACQUINN (-space hog cranky pants) and MIKEY (-space hog, cranky pants). I was on my side and could.not.move. I wasn’t cold (- praise God) but I couldn’t move.

I told Mikey that I don’t want that experience again if I can help it, and asked him to build MacQuinn a hammock. Like this, as shown from the Cabbage Rose Cottage:


Mikey shrugged, grumbled, and is making it. Bless the man.

3. Stuff: I’ve been living on Life Remotely and going through Jessica’s fabulous lists. She is soooo organized! She must be a Virgo! I’m enthralled with her lists, her links, her research. And I’m also really grateful because she’s cutting my time down to just following what she did. This list of hers is my favorite and I am going through it carefully, comparing it to what we have.

A big question remaining is whether or not to purchase the Garmin Nuvi – or not.

I think a lot of you would be like, WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAT?!!! How can you even THINK of driving the Pan Am without a GARMIN?!

But see, this is the thing. Our budget is really tight right now. Mikey thinks we can find stuff on paper maps. I am – to be honest – a little worn down with him complaining about every.single.thing we purchase (- if he had his druthers, we would be doing this in a tent with a horse pulling us on a buggy and that’s IT). It seems like OpenMaps are a good option – we could download free maps onto the iPhone/iPad when in wifi and go from there. We might suck it up and buy a $60 Garmin app later if it seems necessary.

But…. yeah. That’s where it is now.

Part Three:

1. Blog: Multi-site: still not in place. Still inching its way forward! I am hopeful!

You know, I switched from Blogger to self-hosted wp so that I could get something like multi-site in place. This has actually been close to two years in the making. Two. Years. Crazy, huh.

And the funny thing to me is that when it’s done, YOU won’t even know. It’s not like this blog is going to spout poetry or stand up and jive for you. It’s just going to look the same, but be deeply functional.

2. Homeschooling stuff: this isn’t that big a deal because soooooooooooooooo much is online. I just like having my ducks in a row.

3. Halloween: this hurts. We gave away ALL of our costumes. I had a trove – just lots of fun stuff for the kids to dress up and play in and with. Handmade things too, like Micah’s handcrafted robot suit!

We gave it all away and now it seems like we are going to be here for it and I don’t have anything for the kids. I also don’t have a lot of time. And like I said, our budget is really, really tight right now.

But! We’ve been watching a lot of Star Wars and I think I can whip up a few costumes pretty easily & cheaply/freely based on that. I am feeling cheerful once more.


We still need to test the camper out some more, we need to comb through absolutely everything with the proverbial fine-toothed comb. Absolutely every*single*belonging of ours needs to have a purpose and a place.

So it’s probably not a bad thing that the whole Post Office kerflummox has forced us to stay put.

AND! those of you who are championing us on this venture! You can expect your post cards next week!

Thank you.





Today’s Saturday and I had to triple check that. My Cool Cat profile series is on hold till I get this blog fixed – all my moaning and groaning for so long about multi-site…? Yeah, it’s still going on, but THE END IS IN SIGHT! For real, really it is. And once it is, what that means is if you are reading this blog for JUST travel or JUST disability (or art/family) – you’d want to subscribe to those feeds.

The main blog – here – will be for all posts. But all the other sites – Family With a Little Moxie, Travel With a Little Moxie, Art With a Little Moxie and Disability With a Little Moxie are in and of themselves, separate blogs. Separate blogs that will talk only about those respective subjects on those sites (- which is why if you dig one or the other but not all, you really should just subscribe to the one you like). But if you like it all – just stay right here on the main site. 🙂

And! speaking of posts! There are so many great ones this week because of it being National Down syndrome Awareness month here in the US. I’m a little overwhelmed by it all because it’s like, during this ONE MONTH, fifty million brilliant posts about Down syndrome float the internets and it’s just too much for my set of eyes to gulp down. But! Two blogs are standing out for me right now because they are fantastic writers who don’t usually write all that much – Our Cora Bean and The Unknown Contributor.

The post that had nothing to do with Down syndrome but everything to do with friendship and had me bawling? That was this one, How to Say Goodbye, from my friend Melissa.

She’s my best friend that I’ve never met and we ‘talk’ to each other pretty much all day long through texting. I have been avoiding thinking about what it’s going to be like when I’m not able to reach her.

I am convinced that in some former life we churned butter side by side in Sweden or Ireland or someplace cold. I think it had to have been someplace cold because she has this thing for knitting that I don’t think can be born so easily or quickly besides having spent one’s former life freezing. Anyway, I think we sat there, side by side, in some former life, and talked about easy things like cats and kids, in between squirts from milking the cows or butter pounds, and slipping in the harder things like justice, religion, purpose, meaning and integrity in life when our breaths were caught. Maybe we talked about Star Trek then too, but I doubt it because I picture us in our former lives with long skirts and no electricity. But who knows, right?!

So, I don’t know what I’m going to do without her while I’m on the road.

But I do know that it’s extra impetus for finding a place to settle and calling her on over and finally meeting – only then, hopefully, it will be sitting side by side on a beach – maybe she’ll knit swimsuits? – and we’ll talk about easy things like coconuts and kids, in between trickles of sand running through our feet.



My One True Darling Man, Mikey and I have caught our breaths after the events of last week and are dealing with the final sift through and purge of our stuff  (- okay, MY stuff! ALL MINE HONEY!! I admit it! It’s MINE! ). It’s really not hard. Once you’ve gone through the agony of truckloads of your possessions slipping beyond you, it’s really not hard to let go of that last Duran Duran CD. You know?

We’re also in big-time camper-prep mode. You see, we did not have time or space to test out the camper and tweak it all until now. We are testing EVERYTHING: each and every article of clothing, plate ware, chairs, lanterns, charging hookups, coats – it’s COLD!! We are freezing our asses off!!! – shoes, I mean, everything!

It’s the final heave-ho.

Like we are walking sideways while holding on to the rail, dipping toes into the water before we jump off.

It’s exciting because we are ready and it’s scary as it all can get out because, well, um, yeah, I don’t think I need to expound on that part, do I? Of course it’s scary! What about leaving your country with your 3 little kids in a teeny tiny camper is not scary?!

Here’s some photos from the last week from my Instagram – I’m @withalittlemoxie there if you care to follow my feed – and also some photos that I wanted to post but didn’t.

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Have a great Saturday.

Oh – and I’m also posting a photo a day of Moxie over on Disability With a Little Moxie – in honour and celebration of Ds Awareness.

Last? But not least – I was featured over on Letters to Thrive – my letter to younger Meriah. Letters to Thrive has been my new-favorite-site for a long time now – it’s simply letters by women with a disability to their younger selves. How cool is that? How wonderful and powerful and smile-worthy is that? Check it out, bookmark, share (- the site; not talking about my piece but if you’d like to share that, I won’t complain one*tiny bit, not at all)




IMG_1327I just need to start with some photos because every post deserves photos, right?


We – and by “we” I mean MacQ and Moxie and myself – were sitting in the playground sandbox yesterday, hanging out and letting My One True Darling Man, Mikey clean and paint like an obsessed fiend. The ladies of the playground were the typical interesting Alameda mix of immigrant South East Asian (with sparkly, drape-y clohtes), mixed Asian (designer jeans clad), middle eastern (- burka wearing), plain ‘ole white (- that would be me and I honestly don’t remember what I was wearing but I’ll be happy if it was clean). I like that. I know I’m going to miss that because that’s a rare thing in the world, you know, to see so much diversity just hanging out around the sandbox and utterly chill with it.



We were sitting there and hanging out, our kids playing together and this other lady walks up (turns out she was Guatamalan! The youngest of 17!). We started talking, mostly in comraderie over the difficulty in teaching kids to NOT THROW SAND (“come ON guys! that stuff HURTS when it gets in your eyes!” – throw, throw, hysterical laughter, screams). I don’t know how it came up but it came up that we are moving.

‘Oh, tomorrow?” they nodded, sympathy in their eyes.

“Yes,” I said with a sigh. I wanted sympathy from anyone, from any source because I was so deeply tired of cleaning and packing and the non stop no-fun that moving with 3 kids is – heck, just make that MOVING; moving itself is a ball of no-fun.

“Where are you moving to?” they asked, curious. I could tell they were really wondering what part of Alameda I was moving to – a better part? Oooooh, one of the old Victorians? Where?

“Well, we don’t really know…. we are going to drive down the Pan American Highway towards South American and hopefully we’ll find where we want to live along the way.” I said this matter of factly, hoping the cadence of my voice was in that exact *right* tone of not too excited, but not too flat, just stating what’s what.

“Oh…. How nice…..” – and they looked politely away.

I bust out laughing,

HARD, big, belly laughs splitting out of me, “you guys think I’m off my rocker don’t you! just really crazy! I KNOW!! It sounds totally crazy doesn’t it?!!! ”

And my laughter loosened their laughter and we were all laughing together and it felt really good.

They still thought I was crazy.

I probably am.

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I just wanted to  mention that I’m really noticing a difference lately in Moxie’s play: she wants to play WITH other kids now. Not just side by side, not just in the same space but play alone. She wants to play WITH other kids. She’ll deliberately go up to kids and engage with them and try and play WITH them. It’s pretty cool because she seems to be playing really well with others, even without talking.



Oh, and…

When we first plopped ourselves down in the sandbox, the East Asian mother complimented me on my “beautiful daughter” – with a nod to MacQ and my “handsome son”, indicating Moxie. I laughed and was like, “you mean my beautiful SON (- with a nod to MacQ) and my handsome DAUGHTER (indicating Moxie)?

And so. That’s what I get for putting my boy in pink crocs with necklaces and giving my girl a shag haircut and dressing her in overalls…(*facepalm*)

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Last ones! I promise! But she was cute climbing up that thing, I just can’t resist

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Oh yes! I was telling you about ways in which you could make yourself all loopalicious, should you desire to go my route – and why would you want that?! Hahaha. [ really! why?!]

But yes. Things have been really super crackingly crazy over here in de casa. It’s like, total madness, so much so that I don’t even want to take photos of it. I know I should, to laugh at it in the future maybe? – but I just can’t. It’s utterly too much and that’s where I draw my line: no photos of the absurdity that we call “packing”.


We contacted our landlords and asked what colour to paint the walls back to (- I had selected some charming shades of lavendar, mint, yellow and pink when we moved in!) and the landlords said to buy the Home Depot Behr Brand of Kelly Moore Bone White Semi-Gloss. Got it. Okay. So Mikey went on down to Home Depot, went through it all there (- and you know how it is at Home Depot when you are having your convo about paint in the paint section with the one high school aged clerk looking all befuddled with middle-aged tired men wearily and borderline-exasperated lined up, rolling their eyes at anyone – which means YOU! –  asking questions…). Went through the asking for “bone white” ; “no bone white”, “no, there’s got to be bone white”, “no, Kelly Moore doesn’t make a bone white”, “but there’s got to be!”; “uhhhhhhhhhh…. no, sorry!”. yadayadayadayada

Mikey comes home, “they don’t have bone white.”

I went to the landlords, “no bone white.”

The landlords sent me a PHOTO of the paint can saying “bone white”, so Mikey took the photo back on to Home Depot and the teen clerk was all, “oh, you mean, BONE”


Yeah, so that’s been going on. And now 2 out of the 4 rooms that need painting are now BONE, semi-gloss and looks pretty awful. Semi-gloss is the stuff that vomit can slide off, it’s just all hard and glossy and not what you want your living space walls to look like.

But it’s not our place! BONE, semi-gloss, they want; bone SEMI-GLOSS, they get!

Moving on,

I suck at goodbyes. Like, awfully. There are some people that it’s hard to say goodbye to because I love having them in my life so much, there are some people that are easy to say goodbye to because while I love having them in my life, I’m full of confidence that I’ll see them again. But the majority of everyone? I don’t really think I’ll see again. Not in this life anyway.

And you’d think I’d be good at this, being a third culture kid and all, moving just about every year, new schools all the time and a steady stream of new-meet-and-greet. But I’m pretty awful at it. I want to just duck under a table and let it all pass and come out when we are in Mexico already.

We said goodbye to Grandpa Jack.


I walked home, crying, because I just don’t know if I’ll ever see him again – he’s 90 in November. He could be like my Grandpa Knobby who is still trucking along at 97? Or my Grandma Jean who is 94 or so? Maybe. But we never know these things, do we.


And Grandpa? He’s a good Grandpa. He’s a wonderful Grandpa. He’s a wonderful person example for me in how I want to care for my kids, so steady, so responsible, so always-there. So reliable.


I love my Grandpa Jack.



Happening elsewhere: I’m on Mamalode – “Partners in Crime” – in which they chose to feature ME as BATMAN.












(or something like that… sort of… go check it out 🙂 )


I’m @withalittlemoxie over there if you care to follow my feed – here’s some of the photos I posted this week (- mixed in a with a couple that I meant to!)

leaving weekHappy Friday!

Dear Pleasure Delayer,

You know who you are.

When the platter of crispy-hot tempura arrives, you save the shrimp for last – it’s your favorite – even though you know (you know!) that it will be lukewarm and slightly soggy by the time you reach it.

You wait and wait and wait to wear that gorgeous dress you bought that you love so much. You look at it sometimes in the closet, loving the colors of the fabric, the drape and feel of it. But it seems too special, so you wait and wait for the exact “special occasion”.

You love your deep green Urban Decay eyeliner, the 24/7 one that glides on so effortlessly! And stays, actually stays on your eyelid. But it seems like such a vivid color and you don’t want to freak anyone out and it seems like it needs to be pulled out for a moment that calls for glitter, not for this very now. So it sits in the box, waiting, unused.

Your art supplies! The stashes of images, paints! The blank canvases! The exact-o knives, glue gun, sharpie pens! Water colours, water colour papers, acrylics and oils! The items you painstakingly collected from here and there around the globe, just waiting for the perfect collage, the perfect assembling the perfect piece. You are always scared you are going to fuck it up so you don’t even try, then you are scared you won’t do them justice, so it all just sits there, waiting. Waiting. Waiting for the time in which you’ll feel confident enough to wrap your hands around something that brings you pure joy.

Well, Pleasure Delayer. Guess what I just did?

I just filled up our mini van with things that I can’t use now that I’m fulfilling an even greater dream. It’s bittersweet, knowing that to do one, I need to let go of the other.

The dress that I loved no longer even fits my postpartum body.

The eyeliner isn’t good to use with my eyes anymore.

My art supplies – my trove of treasured potential – gone. I didn’t even make the collage with the Chicano art. Nothing, nada. All gone, zip.

The moment was yesterday, the moment was last year, the moment was the moment that I set sight upon whatever it was: the dress, the eyeliner, the deck of cards, the magenta shimmering paint. That was the moment that demanded attention, wanted to be enjoyed in the now.

My Dear Pleasure Delayer:

You are more likely to just be left grappling whispers of dreams by delaying your pleasure. The shrimp tempura won’t stay crisp and hot forever; you may as well bite that one that you like the best and enjoy it first.

Wear the dress, the eyeliner – today being today is a good enough occasion!

Make the collages! The paintings! Spread the paint on with a palette knife, thick and shining and rich and true. All art – made with intention – is good! And if only in that it’s made you happy by doing it, it’s served its purpose!

Don’t wait.

Never wait.

It’s just not worth it.

I so hope you are really listening and won’t just nod, “yeah”, “one more post on doing what you want” and shrug on past something you love that’s waiting. No, no, no! Can you do me a huge, enormous favor and promise me you will commit to doing something today – TODAY!! – that you *really* want to do – be it wearing the red lipstick, making a collage, contacting the choir for an audition, writing the essay that you have in you. Something. Whatever it is. Something challenging and something that has been sitting in a corner, whispering your name.

Don’t make my mistake.


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