We’re going on a road trip! Nothing too exciting, just to Waterloo, where Caleb is attending a band camp. Caleb has been playing cello for a little while now, and he vaguely enjoys it, but the one missing ingredient to the secret sauce—supply chain issues due to Covid—is being able to play and make music with others. It’s been a bit nutty, trying to get everything packed up, blankets for the baby, blankets for the rest of us, clothes, headphones, technology, cords, various creams, food, utensils, pots and pans, diapers, toothpaste, snacks, music books, Caleb’s stacks of books. Jon has been removing books from boxes and bins and bags, raving about how no one in this family understands the physical limitations of our vehicle, while Caleb, oblivious, tucks books from a new stack he’s just retrieved from the shelves into the boxes and bins and backs, having missed entirely the spatial sense insults. I myself have some concerns that these are library books that won’t make it back from Waterloo, but who am I to crush a young man’s reading ambitions. It’s in moments like these that I can acknowledge the superiority of e-readers.


And of course, the most exciting part is packing the stationery for the trip. There is not too much to it, certainly no surprises or insights, just the usual. My journal, a few pens, a few pencils, something to read.


I’m also bringing my new Traveler’s Notebook, a real breaking-in and using it, rather than just admiring it in the sun, which is nice. For Caleb’s band camp, I have one ½ Refill for a Short Trip for trip prep lists, things to buy, schedules, meals, and another refill for his activities. A few pencils, a trusty sharpener, a pack of fun sticky notes. Having never attended band camp before, I have no idea what to expect, but I will be ready for plenty of notes and maybe some doodling.




And in my TSL Utility Case, which I love and am looking forward to using more heavily as travel opens up over the next few years (and decades), I’m carrying a few stationery supplies. In the hectic days leading up to this, I did a lot of thinking about what I was going to bring, and I ended up just grabbing at what was floating around in the chaotic renovation state of our house. A couple of Sailors and a TWSBI, a few disposables, washi tapes and things for a bit of journaling or snail mail, emergency scissors (I can’t recommend these ones highly enough: they are small but sharp and cut well and reliably), stickers.



I had had big plans to prepare shop stuff ahead of time, maybe a few blog posts in the queue ready to go, but it turns out I have absolutely nothing prepared, and am just winging it all. I admit I’m a bit nervous about this.


In any case, please enjoy this old photo of Caleb, playing cello in the shop. I believe this was during Covid, when the shop was closed, and we trekked in every day, with his cello. Life swish swishing right past me as I recall those heady, stressful, bright summer days, the world both quiet and deafening with the newness of the pandemic. But off we go now, band camp, music, road trips, stationery. The unbelievable richness of life.


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August 07, 2022 — Liz Chan



Nina said:

Once again I thank you for sharing these heightened moments of joy with us out here. You’ve made life richer for all the humans + cats who are lucky enough to know you. You’re exceptional.


Kathryn said:

In an age of endless technology and screens, it brings me great joy to see children investing time in music. if / when it clicks, it can be a lifelong gift.

Lisa RR

Lisa RR said:

Have a great time playing music at camp, Caleb!

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