Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Over the river and through the woods...

...to Grandmother's house we went.  This afternoon we took the bus to Creswell to visit Grandma M.  The boys love buses almost as much as they love Grandma, so there was plenty of excitement in the air while we waited to catch the bus to the downtown (Eugene) station.

Today the weather forecast included the possibility of snow, so you might think we were feeling the chill as we walked to, and then waited at the bus stop.  Actually, with only minimal forethought, we were quite warm, even when the wind picked up a bit.

The boys wore their standard cold weather uniforms: soft woolen caps, sturdy pants with silk or capilene long underwear, soft woolen socks, Bogs boots, and rain coats with either a thick fleece or wool layer underneath.  (Mittens are also a part of this set-up, but they were removed in these photos for snacking.)  We probably spend a little more on cold-weather clothing than most families in our income range, but we spend a lot less on mass-produced plastic toys, movies, etc.  We consider an investment in cold-weather clothing as the cost of year-round access to the outdoors, which is the most stimulating and fun "toy" imaginable.  Plus, we get at least four years out of each item of clothing, since Bigger passes things on to Little in good time.  Our team of grandparents supplies some of these items each year for birthday and holiday gifts, which we very much appreciate.

There's little photographic evidence, but I wore my standard cold weather uniform: soft wool tights (sweater tights from Sock Dreams in Portland today), an extra pair of wool knee socks, tall boots, a simple dress, a cardigan, and a hooded wool coat.  I'm still getting the hang of taking my own photo, so you'll have to use your imagination.

While waiting at the bus stop, we find it best to have...

...a snack.  Little in particular seems to be eating nonstop these days.  We also always bring...

...an imaginary border for our kingdom.  Beyond that crack in the sidewalk lies a perilous no mans' land (and a busy street).

We typically pack at least one book for bus trips.  Our current favorite is a selection of stories by Margaret Wise Brown that Ritta got for the boys.  (Thanks, Ritta!)  It hits the ultimate traveling book sweet spot: compact size, sturdy binding, excellent literary quality, and it's an anthology (meaning lots of stories are available for long trips).  What more could you ask?

Of course, we also bring correct change for the bus (though these boys are young enough to ride free), and aim to arrive a few minutes early.

Today we did not need our book, as the boys were enthralled with the bus and its inhabitants.  On the ride downtown, our bus was packed.  We sat at the back, where the seats are elevated, and talked about our plans for the evening and all the things we saw out the window.  The bus was a little late, so we had to rush to make our connection to Creswell.  I think that next time I will give myself more time to transfer.

Creswell is a small town about half an hour from downtown Eugene, by car or bus.  During our ride there, freezing rain dropped in fat circles on the window.  Bigger and I chatted while Little dozed for a minute or two.  People were knitting, reading, and fiddling with their cell phones (though no one was talking on one, thankfully).  It was a pleasant and cozy ride, and I was glad that someone else was driving through this weather so that I could relax.  We arrived 35 minutes after leaving the station, and met Grandma M. at the stop.  When we walked into her place, there was a fire in the wood stove, and dinner waiting for us in the oven.  Is that a tired mother's fantasy, or what?

Little dazzled the company at dinner with the sequel to this bus stop dance.
One of the goals I have for this winter is to take the bus to Creswell more often, in part because I hope that transit service to this part of Lane County will be improved.  On the weekends (when we most often go there), there are only two (on Sunday) or three (on Saturday) bus trips there per day.  Not only is Grandma M. a big attraction in Creswell, it now has a year round Tuesday farmer's market and Heidi Tunnell's Tuesday bakery, Wednesday dinners, and winemaker barn dinners.  I would love to see more frequent bus service to Creswell so that we could get to these events more easily by bus. 

But for now, the times that we do bus down there are hundred times more interesting and enjoyable than a drive would be.

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