We call our 85′ Westy-girl, Sug (pronounced “Shug”); short for Sugar Magnolia. Okay. Yes! This name is a Grateful Dead reference (my honey is a pretty serious Dead Head), but it’s actually more than that. An amalgamation of many references: the street on which we live, the sweetness that she’s brought into our life, and one of my all-time favorite literary characters (Shug Avery) from Alice Walker’s The Color Purple (if you haven’t read it–do–like right now). It’s not a coincidence that like Ms. Avery, our Sug has played many roles in our lives: teacher, confidant, friend, companion. The experiences of Shug’s life define who she is, and our Sug plays a role in our experiences helping to define who we are. Sug is rough around the edges, but she’s warm and safe on the inside. And, yes. The Grateful Dead reference is also totally appropriate, “She can dance a Cajun rhythm/ Jump like a Willys in four wheel drive/ She’s a summer love in the spring, fall and winter/ She can make happy any man alive.” And, after 25 years of raising kiddos, we are excited for music, dancing, and adventure. She’s been part of our lives now for the last two years. And, we’ve managed lots of quick coastal weekends and one big Southwest, summer excursion. We’re gearing up for a long weekend at Patrick’s Point in just a few days. Our 2019 van life trips will be short this summer, but I’ll keep you up-to-date on these adventures and on our Vanagon hacks & mods.