Tag Archives: outdoors

july celebrations

a busy but always festive month, double celebrations each year!

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the life we live daily: entertainment for free

It’s a shame, really, when I said in my last entry that I was doing a series of posts in honor of my fourth anniversary of blogging. That was in July. And that was this blog’s anniversary month. And now, it’s what? Days before Oktoberfest!

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A lot of things happened in between. And I mean a L-O-T. Let’s start with, I turned thirty. Some of our very good friends migrated to Canada (sniff). I’ve been to India and was a vegetarian for a week. I got a raise. It’s the first time in my life that I’ve ever gotten a raise. And then I started working my ass off since then.

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But today, today is a special day. I’m celebrating turning thirty with my best friends in the world in a surprisingly nice hotel (I’m not that easy to impress) right smack in the middle of the city. Unfortunately, these good friends of mine were kind enough to sleep out on me, thank you very much. My children are angels watching endless cartoons (we don’t have cable). And Turo is away partying on boys’ night. For the first time in a very long time, I actually have time for myself to not be super busy and… blog! Well, who am I kidding, of course I’m writing a report after this, but right now I  still have some glorious minutes to spare.

For this post I want to share one of our family’s best kept secrets: going out and having fun without spending a centavo. If you think this is impossible in this day and age of consumerism, well I’ve got one word for you, EXPLORATION.

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We’ve lived in Los Banos for over two years now, and to be honest, there are still a million places here that we haven’t been to. Some of these places we know or heard of, but a lot of them are probably just around the corner we only need to go and find them.

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I guess the difference is about looking at life as an adventure. That there is something special waiting to be discovered at every turn. This is something my children taught me. That life is never just about goals, and reaching them. Not just about plans, and making sure things go the way you want them to.

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It’s about finding nice little surprises along the way, and actually stopping for a moment to enjoy them. Because at the end of the day, you will likely end up doing that thing that you need to do. Or reach that place you’ve dreamed of going to. Or get that role you’ve always wanted to sink your teeth into. Because you’re smart enough to think up goals that are actually doable and within your capacity.

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The question is, when you find something really interesting along the way that is not within your perfect little plan, can you afford to hang back for a moment and stare in awe like a little boy would?

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To some people, there is a huge opportunity cost to doing just that. But for us, breaking one’s journey is practically free. And, oftentimes, it’s even the most exciting!

some traviesa trivia

My fascination for natural decor has just stepped up a notch.

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Traviesa is a Spanish word for a piece of wood that functions as a cross beam or brace to support the rails on a railway track. The photo above ignited our interest for the traviesa. Here it was used to create a deck or platform as part of an outdoor landscape design.

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You can assume traviesas to be about a century old. So don’t be surprised that it can function perfectly even outdoors in all-weather conditions. These are some long-aged wood we’re talking about. They’ve been treated with time, no additional chemical treatments needed.

IMG-20130321-01878There’s something about me and old, aged, sturdy wood. I feel like they have so much character, so many stories behind them. And more stories waiting to be written and told.

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So, this fascination took us a several kilometres down south as we went on a search for sources of traviesas and other types of old wood. As it turned out, we have a trusty antique wood supplier a quick drive a way.

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There was wood of all kinds, sizes and thickness. You could see how deep the wood grains are. Some have cracked and faded. Some used to be staircases, door jambs. Some were materials to make boats.

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To me, visiting that store by the highway was a very intimate experience. There was so much history amid these huge planks of wood. As if every piece was speaking to us about where it’s been. And we were all ears.