Considered Thoughts

A Star is Born – Again

I saw a Star is Born on Sunday but I waited a few days to write about it.  If I had written the review right after the movie, it would have been ungenerous and unkind.  In the theater where I saw the movie, there were people sobbing in their seats, audibly, and I was struck more by their emotion than by the movie.  With that kind of tangible evidence, I certainly can’t argue with the gut punch effect of the movie.  And, I can’t say anyone was manipulated into crocodile tears, because it certainly wasn’t a secret that this was going to be tragic love story told with all of the trappings of traditional melodrama.  People weren’t manipulated into emotional reactions – they went there for that sole purpose.  There’s a scene right in the beginning of the movie, where Lady Gaga’s character, Ally, dumps her boyfriend while she’s on a break from work.  She’s hiding in a bathroom stall having this difficult conversation with the guy, and after she abruptly hangs up on him, she walks out of the stall, stares into the mirror, drops her head, stomps her feet, and let’s out a primal scream, followed by “fucking men!”  Go ahead and scream, and cry and let it all out, friends, Lady Gaga has not only given you permission, she has shown you the way.

So, why didn’t I take her hand, just go with it, into the cathartic tears and the emotional release that the movie guaranteed?  I certainly did in the second remake of  A Star is Born, with Judy Garland and James Mason.  When James Mason walks into the ocean, and the music swells, and later Judy is sobbing over her lipstick on the wall at Gruman’s Chinese Theater, I sat in my bed crumpling tissue after tissue.  It’s the same story, after all, it should have gotten me.  And, it wasn’t the fact that I knew how it was going to end – I’ve seen the Judy Star is Born at least five times, and I react the same way every time.  It’s certainly not a talent thing – Lady Gaga has the pipes, and she’s a talented song writer.    And this A Star is Born has been updated, as it’s certainly a more accurate portrayal of addiction.  It should have spoken to me, right?

And, I think that it’s for those very reasons, that it doesn’t work for me.  First, Ally is a more modern woman than the previous stars’ incarnations, but at the end of the movie, I still don’t know if she sold out by becoming a pop star, having been manipulated by her slimey manager, or if she is exercising her own agency, this pop star is the star she wants to be.  I just don’t know. And, based on the set up of Ally’s character, the foot stomping in the bathroom, the punching of an off duty cop to protect Bradley Cooper’s famous rock star character, Jackson Maine, from an intrusion into his private time, the impulsive quitting of her job to not just run after a rock star, but run after something better for herself, I could only believe that a girl who’s going to belt a cop is not a girl who is going to be like, yeah, ok, you drink, I’m not going to try to change you, except to say once in awhile “that’s not ok,” and “this is the last time.”  It’s more than hinted that her character has dealt with alcoholism before with her father, and therefore, she, unlike Judy Garland’s Esther Blodgett, absolutely knows that her love alone is not going to make him better. When she visits him in rehab towards the end of the film, and she tells him that his actions aren’t embarrassing, that he has a disease, she has known that this is a disease all along, yet, all we see her do to confront this illness is tell him, I won’t get on a bike with you when you’ve been drinking, I won’t come get you from the side of the road again.  And, after she makes that little speech, she marries him – not even an hour later.  He’s had a good talking to by Dave Chappelle so he’s cured?  I don’t believe her character is that naïve.

And, I don’t think she’s that much in love either.  Jackson Maine is an asshole.  He’s disgusting.  The first time she goes back to his hotel room, they’re making out, and he’s wasted, sweaty and  the thought of the smell of him was enough to ruin my popcorn.  He passes out, and his brother emerges out of nowhere to put him to bed.  And then, after the brother leaves, Ally gets into bed with him – and waits for him to wake up so they can consummate this whatever it is.  This is not romance, or love.  This is just fear – she’s afraid of what will happen if she leaves.  She just ditched her job, everything, to be with this guy, and now what?  And that fear dictates her behavior the rest of the movie.  She doesn’t trust her voice, she doesn’t trust her beauty, and she doesn’t trust she can make it without her creepy manager, and her verbally abusive, downright mean husband.  And, she certainly doesn’t love him enough to try to help him.  There’s never a moment in this movie when she acknowledges just how sick he is, or that he needs serious mental health treatment, and a lifetime of therapy.  And the last thing she does do is lie to him, and she doesn’t even recognize what the lie is – the truth is, her creepy manager was never going to let her cancel that tour, and she didn’t really know what their future was going to be.

And in giving Jackson Maine a back story to his addiction, and making his drinking more about self-medication than over indulging in the rock and roll life style and the trappings of stardom, the movie introduces a mental health component to his addiction beyond alcoholism as a DSM V disease.   This guy is not just suffering from alcoholism; he is clinically depressed, perhaps bi-polar, and he definitely has PTSD.  His first suicide attempt was at 13.  Suicidal ideation doesn’t just go away.  He suffers from tinnitus – he’s not just trying to escape the noise of the crowd – he lives with a deafening noise in his head all the time.  Everyone in the film kind of shrugs and says, he drinks too much.  But, that’s not really what’s at the heart of this guy – it’s the agony he’s suffered since he was child – a child who tried to string himself up just to get the attention of an abusive father.  So, when his brother, at the end of the movie, tells Ally that it was no one’s fault but Jackson’s, I think, well, yeah, but . . . instead of telling him “you drink too much,” you could have said, “I think medication and therapy might go a long way here.” Look, I don’t think anyone owed this Jackson Maine anything, but maybe I would have felt more if she had tried to help him before he ruined her Grammy night.

So, they cling to each other, she rises, he falls.   She calls his cellphone a lot. And in between?  There’s just no joy in this relationship, ever. I never for a second in this movie ever felt any happiness between the two of them.  Nor did I ever enjoy being with them.  Sure, there’s magic onstage, but that’s performance, not intimacy.  When James Mason walks into the ocean, I felt like he was taking Judy with him.  When Jackson commits suicide, I felt bad for the dog.

I started off by saying, that if I had written this right after I had seen the movie, I would have been ungenerous and unkind, and now that I’ve read this over, maybe I have been anyway, but I only meant my criticisms towards the movie itself.  I certainly don’t want to be ungenerous and unkind to the people who were moved when they saw this movie.  Just because I had problems with this movie, I can understand why someone else wouldn’t.  A tragedy is a tragedy, who cares if it’s tragedy a or tragedy b.  It was better than the Barbra Streisand version, so there is that. There are a lot of good things about this movie – I believed Bradley Cooper as a rock star, I liked Lady Gaga, the music is great, as are the concert scenes.  I just wish they had just gone on tour together, instead of remaking one of my favorite movies of all time.

So, if you too go to a Star is Born looking for that promised emotional release, and instead you get disappointing popcorn because you can’t stop thinking about stinky Bradley Cooper, I’ll give you an alternative- Tracy Dogs Adoption Day.  Tracy Dogs is an dog rescue in Texas, that saves dogs from high kill border shelters.  After an online adoption process, the dogs board a bus, and go off to their new forever homes, that begin in a PetSmart parking lot.  The bus parks, the new dog parents anxiously wait, and one by one, they bring the dogs off the bus, and into the arms of their new doggie parents.  Every month there’s a live video.  Sometimes like on Saturday, I caught it live, sometimes I watch the replay.  And boy, do I cry those big crocodile tears of joy for these sweet puts.  Time well spent, definitely!

When You Know Nothing, How to Build a Website

One of the reasons the blog got a makeover truly was the yadda yadda of yesterday – writing, word recovery, all that cerebral stuff.  But, there’s another reason.  I’m a nerd, I like techy things, and I actually like fiddling around with web design.  So, when my brother posted on Facebook that he was looking for an easy, cheap website solution for his wedding/event band, I raised my hand, and he “hired” me – i.e., I owed him money (not much, just my half of mom’s bday present), and it was a good way to wipe the slate clean.  He was skeptical, and doubted my English major/lawyering  skills would translate into web design, but little did he know . . . I am addicted to DIY tutorials.  And, if you can DIY the curtains in your bathroom, you can DIY a website.

Are you the Jon Snow of website creation and design?  You know nothing?  Well, after a few hours on youtube, you will know enough to get yourself started.

First, you need to find a web hosting service, which should provide you with a domain name registration, domain hosting, and WordPress installation.  I use Dreamhost, my brother uses StartLogic.  Does it matter?  Sure, it does – if you’re a professional working for a client, stuff like memory, and databases and ftp and all of that stuff come into play, and you need to know what makes your website run, not just your WordPress install.  But, if you’re just building a personal website with WordPress, the most important thing is customer service.  Because you must accept from the outset that things are going to go wrong, either with your WordPress install, or with memory limits when you first start using your site, or any number of things.  I’ve only had to call Dreamhost once about my website.  Startlogic, well, I was on the phone with them for hours for three days getting the WordPress install to function.  I can’t really tell you whose fault that was – my brother, in his attempt to manage his own domains, had so much guck in there (I could explain what all that guck was, but it’s no worries for you really) that I can’t fault Startlogic, and the technicians I spoke to were very helpful, and understood the importance of a small business being online, now.  The takeaway from the guck is that starting fresh is the easiest way to go, and once you start overwriting something existing, life gets more difficult, and that customer service is important.

So, step 1.  Get web hosting, 2. register your domain name, 3.  install WordPress.  Do you have to use WordPress – of course not.  There’s Wix out there, and Squarespace.  There’s building your own code.  But, we were on a budget, and there really isn’t a cheaper way to go than WordPress.  With Startlogic, for instance, web hosting is $2.50 a month (I think), the domain name and registration are free, WordPress is free.  Everything else on top of that is decoration – so you have to decide if you want a Home Depot Christmas tree for your website, or a Martha Stewart decorated forest.  For instance, StartLogic partners with Mojomarketplace, and for additional fees ($99 and up) you can purchase a custom theme, professional installation and customization.  If I had failed, that probably would have been the way my brother would have gone.  But, since I figured it out, we stayed in budget – which was the Home Depot Hanukkah bush.

So, this is what WordPress looks like –

 

WordPress is the house for your site.  It’s a container.  Your theme is your framework, and works like your basement and the shell of your house, it powers your house, and gives your site it’s organizational structure.  It is the backend, what your guests never see.  All you will have to do on the backend is set up the organization of your website – things like menu structure.  The living area, the thing that makes your home pretty and livable, is the front end – what people see when they hit your site, and customization is based on visualization.  I don’t know anything about backend creation – I trust the theme, and follow the instructions.  The front end, on the other hand, is easy peasy now that there are drop and drag page editors out there.  That’s what I mean by visualization – you want a photo – you drop it on the page.  You want some space between a text block and an image, you drag a spacer on the page.  You want to change your font, you click on the font, and you can change it.  There are many drop and drag page builders out there, but I went with Elementor – it’s free, and it’s easy, and there are so many youtube tutorials for you to watch that can take you through your website creation, step by step.  If you want to spend some money, you may want to think about Divi, which is a combination Theme/Page Builder, which requires a subscription fee to Elegant Themes, which if you’re looking to build more than one website, might be the way to go for you.

So, Elementor is your front end editor – the visual design.  But, we can’t forget about that basement – and Elementor is not fully compatible with every theme.  Based on the tutorials I watched, and the ones I’m going to recommend in a second, I used this theme – OceanWp.  From that theme, I made this website – Main Line Affair.  Think of OceanWP as your sketch, and Elementor (a plugin, i.e., a tool for your website) as your paint.  OceanWP gives you your structure, Elementor gives you your design.

So this is the theme customizer (this is this website’s theme – Essence – not OceanWp – I didn’t feel like heading over to my brother’s site to take a screenshot.  It looks very much the same, but more options, which is why OceanWP works so well with Elementor – many many customization choices) – lots of settings for the way your site works, not how it looks (other than to tell wordpress where to put stuff, like your menus,headers, and footers) – it’s your framework.

And, Elementor – on the front end –

See the box that says drag widget here?  The two columns on the left are widgets – you drag the widget box onto your page, and voila!  That’s it.  Or see that little folder?  You click on that, and it will bring up a template library – more on that below.

Are you scratching your head, what’s a widget?  So, if WordPress is your house, and your theme is your framework, plugins are your lightswitches, and widgets are your furniture.  Plugins are tools you install to give your website more functionality.  Widgets are areas of information that provide visual content for your blog.  Widgets are often, but not always, powered by Plugins.  So, the plugin is the lightswitch, the widget is the lamp.  So, if you look at the side bar if this blog, you’ll see three fields – About Me, Recent Posts, and Instagram – all three of these content areas (widgets) are configured and powered by plugins.  Anyway, you can google all of this terminology and you’ll probably get better definitions than my Good Housekeeping version of website design.  This house analogy works for me, and maybe it’ll help you conceptualize how all of these things work together.  If not, forget I said, and use whatever methodology works for you.

So, I’m not going to go through the steps to customize OceanWP with Elementor – I’m just going to link to the videos I watched.

First, I watched Tyler Moore‘s How to Make a WordPress Website in 24 Steps.  In this video, he talks about all of the things I glossed over – web hosting, WordPress installation, theme installation, and theme customization.  I pretty much followed this step by step when I made my brother’s site.  I watched a part of the video, paused it, did a step, moved to the next.  I was amazed at how easy it is to have a functional website up and running in a matter of hours.  One of the best little nuggets from this tutorial is templates – there’s no need to reinvent the wheel anymore.  You can just drop an entire Elementor template onto your WordPress page – and voila! A working website.  Of course, you don’t want a cookie cutter website, but it’s a good outline – use what you like, delete what you don’t.  Mix up your templates.  Make it your own.  Not only are there templates included with the free Elementor plugin (you can go Pro, pay and get more, as well as more drop and drag features), but there are other template resources out there.  Free?  Go to Tyler’s website, and he has a bunch of nice free ones.  Want more options, and are willing to pay – try the subscription service Crocoblock, which Darrell Wilson talks about in his similar tutorial, How to Make a WordPress Website – 2018 – Easy and Fast!  This video is a lot of the same steps/information from the first video, but it’s the repetition that makes the information sink in, and gets you more comfortable with what you’re doing.  Darrell Wilson also has a Skillshare class that has a three hour version of this tutorial.  I didn’t watch that.  I felt like I had the hang of it.

So, here it is in a nutshell –

  1. Find a webhost
  2. Register your domain name
  3. Install WordPress
  4. Install OceanWP from the WordPress dashboard
  5. Install Elementor from the WordPress dashboard
  6. Customize your site, from an organizational stand point with OceanWP’s customize menu, and from a visual design perspective, with Elementor’s drop and drag functionality.

Now, you can add your bells and whistles.  Darrell Wilson recommended Logomakr.com to make a logo.  I used this free service for this blog (although it was something I easily could have done on my own in Photoshop, but since I wasn’t at home I used it.  It’s easy, slick and there are lots of design options – all for free!).  The only money I plunked down to finish the site off was $25 for Slider Revolution, which creates animated sliders.  I watched this tutorial from NYC Tech Club, How to Use the Revolution Slider Plugin.  This is a really long tutorial, but in it, he walks you through the creation of four or five sliders, and in doing so, you get a good overall lesson on how to use the Interface, and the plugin’s capabilities.  And, again, the key take away was templates.  You don’t need to recreate the wheel, you can just import a slide from a template, switch out the template content for your own, and voila!  Your website now has movement.

More decoration?  Not a photographer and need photos – in the more info section of Darrell’s video he provides links to a bunch of photo sources.  I’ve used Pixabay for digital art journaling, and it’s easy to use.  The only danger in using stock photography is that inevitably, someone else has used it on their website as well.  With my brother’s website I thought about using wedding photos from Pixabay, since it is a wedding/event band, but since the band is an east coast entity, I went with a Philadelphia theme instead, and used my own photos.

If you don’t want a full blown website, and you just want to blog – just install WordPress on your domain, pick a theme, and write!  That’s it.  If you want more control about how your blog looks, every theme has some kind of customization available – and you can use it, or not.  As I mentioned in my last post, I installed a new theme, and I totally cheated. I splurged with $20ish, and bought this theme, Essence, from Lucid Themes on Etsy.  Why did I do this instead of going the OceanWp and Elementor route?  Pretty much because to get the blog layout I wanted, I would have had to upgrade to Elementor pro (different drop and drag blog layouts are only available in the pro version), and it was cheaper just to buy a template that did it for me.

So, that’s the bare bones version of creating your website.  Once it’s functioning, there are other things to explore – newsletter services, SEO customization, pop ups, testimonials – so many things.  And, in this day and age, there’s a youtube tutorial for every single one.  And the good thing about these youtube tutorials is they are directed at the know nothings, like me.  Professionals don’t need these videos, they’ve got certifications, and real world experiences, etc.  These tutorials are designed to for the beginner who needs help, and are designed so that you land on the creators web page, and seek out his/her services in some way.  Youtube is just more marketing, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t an educational opportunity as well.  Just know that when you watch these videos, you are watching a commercial.  And, you can take it that way, go down the link rabbit hole, and buy products, or just use them to learn how to DIY, just like your curtains, or your bookcases, or you sweaters, or whatever.

And there you have it.

Go forth and create my friend.  And if it doesn’t work out, no worries!  There are a gazillion resources out there for you.

 

Rebranding


Whenever I’m in a real craft rut, I clean my craft room.  Sometimes, that’s all it takes to get the creative mojo going – a nice, neat tidy space.  Other times, a clean workplace is just an empty space, and I sit and twiddle my thumbs, waiting for inspiration to fill that space.  So, I’ve spruced up the blog – I installed a new theme, I customized my home page and my blog posts, and I’ve organized my categories.  And, I’m typing . . . that’s something.  I don’t know if the inspiration is here, and I am driven to write, but I know I need to write.  I’ve lost words, you see.  I reach for a word, and it’s just beyond my grasp.  I find myself describing movies as “good,” and the weather as “bad.”  Once I spoke in paragraphs, now it’s “sweet, nice, great!”  I don’t know if it’s acclimating to the brevity of social media that’s caused this, or just laziness, but I know I don’t like it.  And, there’s something deeper going on.  I find social media, the news cycle, and the general unrest we’re experiencing as a nation unsettling.  I fear paralysis.  Every day I disengage a little more, and writing about my little crafts seems frivolous, and small.  But, it’s not really – this is a small place after all, this blog of mine, and I should write whatever I like, frivolous, important, somewhere in between.  The important thing is to write, to recover my words that seem to have scattered in the wind, gather them up and put them back in my word basket.  So, to that end, I’m not longer going to write about just crafts – I’m going to write about whatever I feel like.  Maybe a movie or book review, maybe my thoughts on a podcast, maybe my current knitting project.

Lemon & Olive will always be a craftastic place, but it has to be more to me, by being less.  What I mean by that is, the purpose of Lemon & Olive was to engage with the craft community.  Now, I need it to be more personal.  Of course there were never any rules – I never had to write about just crafts, obviously, but when a blog has a tagline of “a craftastic place to be” I think there’s an expectation that the blog will be about crafts, and now, I find that too restrictive.  I want to be transparent; if you hit this page, you may stumble on politics, or opinions you may not agree with, along with my knitting, quilting or arting.   And, if you don’t come back, that’s ok.  if you want to engage with me in the comments about a differing opinion, that’s ok too.  Is it now a lifestyle blog?  I don’t think so – I don’t think of myself as generating click bait titles, or writing posts with 10 things, or anything like that.  For now, we’ll just call it my online journal, personal enough to mean something to me, but not so personal that it’s too intimate to share.  Maybe it’s a magazine.  We’ll see.  See that – I lost some words in there – going from “maybe’ to “we’ll see.”  Hopefully, I’ll lose lazy shorthand like that, make the connections, and in turn, connect with you.

 

Last Day for InCoWriMo2017!

Today is the last day of February, and therefore, the last day of InCoWriMo2017.  I can’t claim a full victory, but I think I can do half a lap.  I managed to get out 22 pieces of correspondence, 19 of which went in the mail, and three of which were hand delivered.  I wrote to complete strangers through the InCoWriMo website, the Bullet Journal Pen Pal Group on Facebook, and Instagram.  I sent a few letters to friends, and family members received birthday cards.  Joe was not only the recipient of a Valentine’s Day card, I also made him a card with one of my new dies.

Ok, so before I show you this new die, let me say this.  This die lead me to a internet ordering freeze.  I have no idea what I was thinking buying this die, other than it was on the HSN 60% off partial craft day show, and I just got sucked in my the sale.  But, in truth, while it is super cute, I have very little use for it, and it was only $10 off, not 60%.  I just get so entranced when I’m watching the HSN crafters, and I get lured in by the sales pitch person who ooo’s and aaahh’s.  Anyway, after this purchase, I called Halt! And, I haven’t ordered anything other than a replacement nib for my dip pen in two weeks.  Yippee for me!  Can I just tell you how much money I have saved?  You don’t know how much you’re spending until you’re not spending I guess.

Anyway, here is said die:

These dies, one an owl, one a fox, are part of the Sissix Fold-Along Card series.  You place the die on the fold, there’s no cutting edge on the fold, though, and what happens is you get the gatefold card, shaped like the owl or the fox, with a tab to slip the sentiment cut out in.  So cute, right?  But, all of the stamp sentiments are really lovey dovey, and I would only make cards with that mush for my husband, and how many owl and fox cards can I make him?  So, I made him the fox card, and he was like, yeah, thanks, because he’s just not into those kinds of things.

As you can see, the owl went out as part of InCoWriMo.  That insert card is a separate die, so that’s nice, but if you want to mat the owl in anyway, you have to freehand cut, or cut another base, and cut that out to mat whatever part of the card you want, like those inside panels.  The bottom line is, these dies are cutie patootie, but the odds of me using them again . . . slim.  There are a few really usable stamps in the owl set though – with feathers and such, so I think I will get some use out of those.  The fox is really Valentine’s Day-ish, but whatever.

Before these dies, I also bought more Art Impressions Watercolor Stamps – as part of the crazy online ordering phase.  I would say to myself, it’s just a rubber stamp, but then there’s two stamps, then three.  It all just adds up.

These are the cards I made with my new stamp set, the covered bridge.  The reason I bought this stamp set was because it’s a mini set, so it’s cheaper than the large set, and it came with 2 different trees, and a kind of flower/leaf stamp – foliage is always good, and helpful for different scenes.  I think I’ve talked about these water color stamps before, but if I haven’t, just briefly what you do is color the main image with a water soluble marker.  Once the image is stamped, you pull the color out of the stamped image with a slightly damp brush.  Then, you do the same with the rest of the images – so for the trees, I used a brown marker for the trunk, and a green marker for the top – and that was it.  Anyway, they definitely have a handmade feel to them, because I haven’t quite mastered how to do a textured/weathered look with watercolor.  Anyway, I do love these stamps, and when the buying freeze is over . . . no, not unless I need them, yup.

In any event, I’m glad that my ordering freeze came at the same time as my fountain pen frenzy.  I have my two pens, the two Metropolitans, one in a fine nib, and one in medium, and I love them both.  And, if I were still in ordering anything mode, I’d probably have ordered up a half dozen other pens and ink upon ink, but instead, I’m learning what I like about the pen, I’m thinking more cautiously about my next pen, and I’m not at all in a hurry to do anything.  Although, I really really do want this ink.  The buying freeze comes to an end on 3/8, because that’s the next HSN marathon craft day, and it’s just unreasonable think I won’t order something.  So, the ban will come off, and I will dust off my paypal account, and I will try to take everything I’ve learned in the last two long weeks of purchasing diet, and only buy ONE THING.  Yes, yes.

So, in other news, I totally changed up my shawl for the MKAL, and I hate it.  More on that tomorrow.

And, I’m all settled into my Foxy Fix and I hate that too.  More on that later, too.  But, just so I don’t cause any kind of controversy about Foxy Fix, I love the notebook – I just don’t love the size.  The size was a mistake.  But, that’ll probably be the Thursday or Fridays topic.

Laters!

 

 

And So It Begins – Bring On InCoWriMo 2017, and . . . a New Obsession, the Fountain Pen

Look who’s ready for InCoWriMo 2017, or to translate that mouthful of an acronym, International Correspondence Writing Month.  I have six handmade cards and envelopes ready to go, and I have my Flow magazine on hand to decorate the rest.  After a trip to the post office this morning, and a very helpful Postal Person, I ended up putting Letters 1 and 2 in the mail so I don’t have to go back tomorrow.   Yep, I’m cheating already I guess, but I’m looking at the month as a whole, because I doubt I’m going to actually post letters on the weekend – the mailperson doesn’t always come on Saturday, and if it’s snowing, I’m not walking the half mile to the mailbox. And, there are Sundays when lets face it, getting dressed means I change from the pj’s I slept into clean pj’s or sweats.  And, I wonder why I’ve gained weight?  Sheesh.  Anyway, my point is, I’m playing by Wendy’s rules, since it’s all informal anyway, I’m going to do the best I can to mail out 28 letters in what would be nearly a daily fashion.  But, there’s no way I’m standing at the post office 2 days in row to have a letter weighed when I’m already there, and it’s ready to go.  I also showed the Postal Person my unfinished letters, and had her give me some educated guesses about the postage.  The bottom line is, the rest of the handmades are going to be U.S. bound, because sending them overseas will be ridiculously eexpensive, and I’m going to rethink my notecards.

I bought these notecards because a. they were on sale, of course, and b. I used them to accompany swaps.  These notecards are so stinkin’ cute, but did you know that because of their small size, they’re actually nearly twice the postage?!  They require special care, hand cancelling I suppose.  I’m thinking I may just stick the cards in regular envelopes.  We’ll see.

But, what’s that other item in the photo?  Not the Flow Magazine, not the carefully crafted handmade cards, no, no – that other thing.

That would be a fountain pen.

A Pilot Metropolitan Retro Pop.  It is totally impossible to follow InCoWriMo on Instagram, and not be sucked in by pen, ink and stationary posts as well.  Based on my misconceptions, I had never really considered a fountain pen.  First, I originally thought that fountain pens were just for calligraphy, that the fancy nib was chiseled for classical, traditional calligraphy.  Wrong, totally wrong in fact.  There are fountain pens that are somewhat designed for calligraphy, they have an stub italic nib (lingo, lingo – see how much I’ve learned!) or a flex nibs.  I thought about going that route, but the bottom line is, calligraphy is best with a dip pen (or if you’re into brush lettering, a brush), and I’m already in the wheelhouse, and all of the reviews I read of the affordable caliigraphy pens were meh.

Then, I thought they were too expensive.  Well, that depends – my pen was $13, and there are fountain pens that are even cheaper.  So, $13 compared to a disposable Bic is comparatively expensive, but it’s so inexpensive when you compare it to this – a $65,000.00 pen – crazy right?

The bottomline is, a fountain pen can be for everyone and anyone, and it can be used as your every day pen.  The benefits are basically that you only have to apply very little pressure to the page to get your ink to flow, if you have a good pen, you’ll have a perfectly smooth line, and if you take care of it, you can use it forever, by refilling your ink with cartridge refills or an ink converter (a doohickey that sucks ink out of a bottle).  A good pen goes a long way.

Anyway, placing my first foot into the fountain pen rabbit hole, I did some research.  I started with Goulet Pen Company, because they were doing a giveaway in conjunction with Boho Berry, a bullet journaler who I follow, and I watched their series Fountain Pens 101.  This pen was one of their recommendations for starter pens.  Then, I went on youtube, and watched a few reviews, and for the most part, all of the reviewers were surprised at how good a pen this is for the price.  So, I bought the pen along with a box of refills.  With Amazon prime, it was less than $20.  I did feel guilty, though, that I didn’t give my business to Goulet Pens after I sucked up all of their free knowledge, but it totally came down to the free two day shipping.  But, I suspect that it won’t be long before I buy something from them, be it a converter, or ink, or  . . . another pen perhaps?

Because I do love this pen.  It’s a fine nib, and because Pilot is a Japanese brand, and the Japanese nibs are generally thinner than American nibs, it writes like an extra fine:

As you can see, it’s a small enough nib to get in the little grid boxes, but you can go bigger and still get a lovely smooth line.  And, even though it is a fine nib, it’s not so fine that you even come close to feeling like you’re scratching the paper, or that you’re digging a hole in your journal or planner or whatever.  However, I think I’d like a medium nib . . . so that could happen.

Also, now that I’ve used black ink, I may have gone into Dick Blick’s today and bought blue ink.  And while I was there, I really really wanted to buy the violet ink, but couldn’t justify it at this point because that would mean I couldn’t use my pen at work, as I have been, because what lawyer writes in pink ink?  Legally Blonde is a mythological movie my friends.  Blue or black.  So, that means I really need another pen for my violet ink, right?

Anyway, this is how it begins.  Now, I’m trying to convince Joe that he needs a fountain pen – so that we can be in it together.  I don’t think it’s going to work, but he is mildly intrigued.

So, I usually write about knitting on Wednesday’s, and I link up with the Yarn Along.  This week, though, I’m pretty much where I was last week, although now I’m working on a sleeve.  The mystery knitalong doesn’t start until tomorrow, so I’ll have something yarny to report on Friday.  Will it be a good mystery, or bad mystery?

Stay tuned!

 

One Week in My Hobonichi Techo “Planner”

One week in, and I’ve kept my commitment – journaling everyday in my Hobonichi Techo Planner.  I don’t know how I stumbled upon the Hobonichi – maybe through Facebook, possibly through Instagram, either going down a bullet journal internet sink hole, or maybe a Traveler’s Notebook time dump.  I can’t even tell you why I became intrigued with it – I’m not really using it for planning, although I could, but I’d rather not carry my journal around with me; I’ve already lost one Traveler’s Notebook, and that was certainly heartbreaking.  After I decided that I had to have one, well, just because I did, I hemmed and hawed between the A5 larger size and the A6, and settled on the A6.  When I finally had my little book in my hands, I didn’t feel immediately connected to it, I just thought “huh.”  It’s really much smaller than anything I’ve ever written in – it’s the size of a Project Life card, basically.  But, I’m not investing in the bigger one until I at least try this one out, and prove to myself that this is something to which  I do truly want to commit.  If I stop writing in it halfway through February, there will be no larger A5, it’ll be done.  Punished.  No Hobonichi Cousin Avec for me.

So, I did begin in earnest, definitely willing to give this little guy a try.  I ended 2016 with buying a Flow Magazine related product, Project Calm, a magazine that looks exactly like Flow, maybe it’s a special edition?  In any event, I love the illustrations, and the quotes, and the paper, and all of the Flow-y-ness, and the Calm – so every time I turn a page in my journal, I randomly open up my magazine, snip something from the page, tape it down and then I write.  Of course, when I finally get my “flow” going, I’m out of room.  I almost feel like I should start writing on scrap, and then when I get to where I really want to go, and what I really want to talk about, that’s when I should move onto the small 4 x 6 page.  Or, if I’m a good girl, and I write every day, I’ll get to size up!  I guess if I do have a mighty story to tell, I could always add a tip in.  We’ll see.  In the meantime, I’ve become curious about flash fiction, which is a really really short short story.  Project Calm did a piece about these bite sized nuggets of literary goodness, and it seems like the perfect medium to explore when you’re confined to a 4 x6 space.  Skillshare actually has a few classes about the medium, so I’ll give them a listen.

I wish I could say the dieting was going as well as the journaling.  It’s just frustrating.  I was hungry all week, I exercised, I counted my steps, and I moved the scale .2 lbs, and then one small bowl of unbuttered popcorn later, it was back to where I started the week.  And that lead to pizza night Friday, because I was like f-k it.  But, I’m back on the right road – went to the gym this morning and swam, and now I’m eating a lovely salad.  Back in the day, I would just stop drinking, and I’d drop 5-7 lbs.  And certainly, if I stopped drinking AND exercised, well then, we were looking at dropping full pant size in less than 2 weeks.  Those days are gone, my friends.  I just have to keep my head up, and just keep doing the work, I guess.

Doing the work in 2017.  That’s my flash nonfiction or the day.

 

Buh Bye 2016

2016, I will not miss you.  Yes, there were celebrity deaths that were saddening, but that’s life.  2016, to me, was objectively a really bad year.  If you’re reading this, and you had a fantastic year, great!  I don’t mean to diminish anyone’s triumphs, successes and joys, but honestly, I’ve lost sleep this year about what a crap year  it’s been, from the random acts of violence, to the exposed schisms in our country, to the lunatic that we put in the White House.  On a personal level, the year started with a car wreck, nearly killing my brother, but only “luckily” breaking both of his legs.  The first few months of the year, we spent hours at the hospital with him, and then in the nursing home.  While I have no problem waiving buh bye to 2016, I can’t say that I don’t look upon 2017 without trepidation.  It’s no secret I’m a liberal, but it’s not that I fear a Republican in the White House – I would have been ok, not happy, but ok, had a McCain won, or a Romney – I wouldn’t have felt like we were all going to die.  But, I truly fear the fascist madman soon to be in the White House.   But, what can you do, just hope for the best I guess!

So, without further ado, I’ll unveil my word for 2017 – nope, it’s not hope.  It’s Commit.  I’m tired of doing things half-assed.  If I’m going to do something, I really want to explore if I’m committed.  I’m tired of starting things, and not finishing them.  Of beginning a creative project, spending a ton of money getting supplies, and being done with it after I’ve completed one project.  I’m tired of signing up for online classes, quickly watching them, and then not doing any of the work.  I’m tired of saying my diet starts on Monday.  And with Commit as my word, the opposite is also my mantra – if I can’t commit, I’m not going to do it.  In picking my word, I’ve also picked a few year long projects to which I’m going to commit:

  1.  Ali Edward’s One Little Word Class.  I’ve picked a word before.  I’ve picked a lot of words over the years.  I’ve even put them in the sidebar of my blog.  But, by March or April, even February, the word is long forgotten, and certainly not a prism through which I’m making choices.  So, to help me along, and commit to my committing, I’m joining Ali Edwards for her monthly prompts and exercises designed to help you incorporate your word into your life.
  2. Journaling.  I am going to journal every day, even if it’s just a sentence, or a list, or maybe a doodled word.  I used to be diarist.  While what I wrote was so embarrassing, I ended up throwing most of my diaries out – yep, I through at least 20 in the garbage because I didn’t want to visit with that person ever again.  But, I miss the act of writing – not just memory keeping, but figuring things out, whining in my personal space, focusing or being silly.  So, in order to keep me on track, I bought this:

This is an A6 Hobonichi Techo.  Basically, its a small, one day on a page planner/journal/notebook.  I struggled between buying the A6 and the larger A5, but I settled on the A6 because I thought it would easier to live up to my commitment, and journal every day in a smaller space, and the A5 is in Japanese, and the A6 comes in an English version.  I also ordered a used Chic Sparrow traveler’s notebook cover for it, so I’ll report on that when it arrives.  If I outgrow the A6, the A5, the Cousin Avec, comes in a six month size, and I could also size up for the second half of the year.

3.  Also on the commitment list for 2016 – Hand Lettering!  I have decided that 2017 is going to be my year of hand lettering.  Right now I’m exploring – I have a dip pen, a Tombow dual brush pen, and a Tombow fude on the way.  This is my creative art commitment for the year, because that’s what hand lettering really is – drawing letters.  And rather than willy nilly committing to this online art class, or that one, this is what I’m doing this year – and I will hopefully add some watercolor to the mix.  To help me along with my commitment, I’ve created an instagram account just for my lettering endeavors – OliveInks.  And, to support this commitment, I’m working my way through a class on Creativebug, as well as joining in on some Instagram/FB challenges, primarily this one for now, #ShowMeYourDrills.  I’ve also signed up for Skillshare, using their 3 mos/99 cents promotion.

Can I just tell you how relaxing and soothing these drills are!

and 4.  Diet, Health and Exercise.  I’ve gained 20 lbs since moving to the suburbs.  It’s like it happened over night, but it really happened over four years.  Mostly this year though.  I’m a stress eater.  But, I’ve got my smart watch, counting my steps.  And, I’ve bought a new bathing suit to start swimming in January.  And, I’m going to try to be kind to myself, not beat myself up, acknowledge that this is unlike diets in the past when I wanted to lose 5 lbs, but didn’t really need to lose 5 lbs.  Right now, I need to lose the 20lbs because my clothes do not fit.  This is a big commitment; it’s not going to happen overnight – but I’m committed.

So, goodbye 2016!  For the world in general, for 2017, I can only hope, but for me personally, I am committed to making 2017 better, more productive, more creative, and healthier – if my summer clothes fit, I’m going to call 2017 a success.

Take care, everyone and Happy New Year!

 

 

Random Rambling Friday Wrap-Up

Is the month over?  It’s over – at least the work week, in oh, 3 1/2 hours.  Counting, definitely counting.  I was appointed to this case, and my, I am busy!

But that doesn’t mean I haven’t had time for this and that’s, right!

So, in no particular order

  • Passover fun was had by all!

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Ssshh!!!! I’ve already broken Passover . . . I just couldn’t take the matzah bloat anymore. I remember Moses, the desert, the boils and the locusts, I’m good. I got it, for six nights. Fini.

  • I may have made my last flipbook.  I think I’m over it.  I’m not sure.

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So, as I mentioned, I was spacing out my swaps, not over committing, so it wasn’t flipbook overload.  I think I’m just over it.  I don’t know.  I’m over the washi tape, that’s for sure.  Whoever called it tape didn’t really know what tapes’ function is.  I found myself adding layers and layers of washi to get the washi below it to stick.  The pages were actually pretty securely put together with hinges, and glue, but then I decorated with washi – and the decorative washi wouldn’t stick.  Oy!  In any event, this was a flip I made for a Paris swap through Facebook.  I bought the printable graphics on Etsy, and with them, I made journal cards, shaker gatefold flaps (with the fuse tool) (you can see them clipped together in the above photo – when you take the paperclip off, underneath is a pocket with goodies), and a snow globe!   Crazy!  I finally used my holiday card, snow globe die –

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I bought this die two years ago from Papertrey Ink, thinking I was going to make my own holiday cards, with Lemon and Olive in the snow globe.  That didn’t happen.  I don’t know why I thought Paris and snow globe, but it clicked, and I think it turned out cute.  I was in such a creating frenzy, though, I didn’t think to photograph the process until I was all done.  So, basically what you do is use the outline die to create a base.  Then, you cut the top of the shaker out of decorative paper, and sticky foam.  You then layer the base, your sprinkles, the foam, a clear circle vellum/plastic window, and then the top – voila! A shaker globe.  For whatever reason, my sprinkle stuff got caught in my sticky foam, so it doesn’t really really shake, what can you do.  Be more careful I guess.  But, I wasn’t about to rip it open and make another.  And for sprinkles – see that circle die?  It makes snowflakes, and confetti  – pretty cool!

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Now that I’m thinking about it, and rambling along, I think that my “over it” feeling about flipbooks is that I’d rather make them for someone who I’m regularly corresponding with then a one-time swap with a passing stranger. I feel like this is something I’d want to make for a penpal after we’ve exchanged a few letters, and I was making something for someone I kind of ‘knew.”  Too bad I unceremoniously abandoned all of my penpals after my father died, and my Wendori was lost forever.

I did make one more, that I didn’t photograph, for a swap on swap-bot, and I enjoyed it more because it was an offshoot from another swap wherein the person had asked me to write back, and I felt like the “project” was more of an elaborate envelope than this humungous thing:

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All said and done, between the cover, and the flaps, I decorated 10 pages, filled a bunch of pockets, and spent many nights after work assembling, fusing, die cutting and tweaking.  The ‘elaborate envelope” was like this, made from one sheet of 12 x 12 paper, with flaps made from simple, creative cutting.  This little, hour long project, was fun, and relaxing, and I can see more of these in the future.  The ten page, humungous flipmonster – not so much.

  • I investigated, and bought a new planner.  In my last post of last year, I mentioned that I had my MIL buy me a faux Midori Traveler’s notebook online from an Etsy seller, Dokkipaper, for Hanukkah. planner1I remain supremely happy with my present, the leather just keeps getting softer, and a bit more scuffed with loved.   But the calendar insert that I printed for myself is set to run out in June, and I have to decide where my planning is going next.  So, I fell down the crazy, deep internet whirlhole of planner communities.  At first, I was seduced by the Happy Planner, and joined a half dozen Happy Planner Facebook groups, without actually buying said planner.  After a few weeks of watching everyone sticker up their months, days and weeks, I decided that wasn’t for me.  I also became less transfixed with the Arc system of rings – it seemed hard to flip the paper, and heavy, really heavy.  So, I unjoined all of those groups, and joined Christy Tomlinson’s Planner Society FB group, because while almost everyone is subscribed to her Planner Kit Club, everyone is in a different planner.  I then became enamored with the Kikki K’s, the big ones, the A5 size.  Hmm, do I really want that big thing, I thought, and if I do, do I really want it for planning?  I mean, that’s a big thing to whip out in court and check a date.  So, I did some soul searching, and realized, yeah, I am supremely happy with my TN, why would I change?  I must be yearning for something else.  And, that something else, I concluded was more of a memory keeping journal, to help me along with my Project Life, and to be more of a daily journal/diary.  In my original post about my TN, I mentioned that one of my inserts was a “Morning Pages” booklet.  Er, that didn’t last long.  And, since I had pasted a copy of the sentencing guidelines (because everyone has that in their planner!) in the back of my calendar, I had started leaving it out on courtroom tables, and I became concerned that I might lose it a la the Wendori, and then my morning thoughts would be out there for everyone – what thoughts they were, I wasn’t exactly a daily journaler.  So, the solution, it seems is to have a planner, my TN with a new calendar insert, and a big thing I can keep at home, beside my t.v. chair, to update daily.

So, I wistfully looked at everyone’s pretty Kikki K’s, and could not bring myself to spend that much money ($90+ shipping) on a planner, even a pretty planner.  So, deciding to plan within my means, I begin investigating the Webster’s Pages Color Crush Planners, which right now are on super sale on Blitsy (with the Mother’s Day coupon code).  They’re similar to the Kikki K’s, but faux leather, and not quite a true A5 size.  But, there was just something about them that I didn’t like.  Well not just something, the guts of it – the inserts.  First, the calendars are dated, so I’d have already lost nearly half the year.  And second, it has a snap closure.  I want to punch holes into things and stick it in my memory planner, and I don’t want to be constrained by a snap.  So, while I had an A5 Color Crush planner in my basket on the Blitsy site, and post coupon, it was only $42.95 with shipping, I couldn’t hit the commit button.  Instead, I got sucked into the youtube planner channels, and after not careful, but “I want that” consideration, I decided to go with the Heidi Swapp Memory Planner.

There it was – right in it’s name – the memory planner.  Exactly what I was looking for.  A kind of planner, a kind of abbreviated scrapbook, a kind of journal.  That’s the right planner, I thought.  So, that’s the “I want it” part – the careful part – well, I threw careful to the wind.  The online reviews of the planner aren’t so good – that the holes all have to be repunched because they were punched too small, that the binder feels cheap, etc.  But, you get what you pay for, and after my 40% off coupon at Michael’s, and a free shipping code that Michael’s gave me after I left the planner sitting in the cart overnight (so smart of them! push me over the edge into purchasing with a shipping code!), it was only $20.  So, I reasoned, if the binder is crap (and all of the warning signs are there that it just might be), I can always put the inserts, which, along with the photo sleeve inserts are the reason I was buying the thing anyway, into another binder, like this one from Dokkipaper, a kind of faux Kikki K, faux Dokibook, which is also snapless.  ah, but you may say, how will you do that because Heidi Swapp’s isn’t really A5, and it has only 4 holes.  Solved that one – I’ve already seen someone on the Planner Society FB group punch the extra two holes, and put it in a traditional A5 planner, so I think I’ll be good.  So, for now, I’ll try out the cheap binder, and see how it goes – and I’ll let you know.

All of that rambling has left my exhausted, like poor little Olive after playing with her ball outside all day, and then scarfing down her dinner.

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Definitely a hard life for the little Boston!

Have a great weekend!

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Random Thoughts

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Good morning! It’s rainy, dreary and all around blech here in Philly – what a great day to go back to work after a long weekend. It’s too much of a meh day to make connected, coherent paragraphs, so here are my random, jumbled shares for this bleakish a.m.:

  • PenPals and Swapping.  When we moved to the suburbs, I felt incredibly disconnected – from my normal routines, from my friends, and I also lost a bit of my independence.  I don’t drive, I’m a terrible driver, but in the city, not only is there no need for a car, a car is a pain in the ass because there’s just no parking.  In the ‘burbs, it’s all about the car.  So, in attempt to reach out to the far off world, because that’s how I felt, a bit, trapped in my large suburban house, I started penpaling and swapping.  For the most part, I was swapping through Swap-bot and through a couple of ATC swap groups.  The ATC swap groups became all about the drama, so see ya.  I got bored of Swap-bot, and then there was Facebook – and the Pocket Letter craze.  I made a half a dozen pocket letters, never wanted to make another one, and I was off the swapping.  Penpaling was a bit more complicated.  I had joined the League of Extraordinary PenPals, and I was writing to ten or so people.  I was keeping up, doing just fine, for probably a year, and then my father died.  Strangely, I didn’t really have trouble writing letter after letter telling the whole saga again and again, but after I wrote them all – that was it.  I couldn’t write another letter.  And, it didn’t help that I had lost my Wendori (my faux Traveler’s Notebook that I had made myself, and had my pen pal log as well as all of my addresses and stamps).  And I just stopped.  I figured if I ever got a letter saying, hey, what happened to you?  I’d figure out the next step then – but I never did.  I was writing to people who also had too many pen pals, and I guess I wasn’t missed.  And, then I dropped out of the League altogether, because not only was I not an extraordinary penpal, but at that point, I couldn’t stand looking at the Facebook page – here, I was navigating the No Dad waters, and people were posting stuff like, “can you help me through this difficult time, I lost my favorite pen” or “send good thoughts my way, my third cousin twice removed is having surgery tomorrow.”  I just didn’t really have any patience, or generosity towards anyone who suffered merely from this thing called life.  Anyway, with the return of Project Life, and the hauling out of all of my papercrafting supplies, the swapping bug has bit again – this time with something called a Flip Book.  So, while I’m not wholeheartedly committing to penpaling again, I am dipping my teeny toe into the Swap-bot waters.  I’ve signed up for two swaps, and I’m not signing up for any more until they’re out in the mail.  I’ve joined a few swapping Facebook groups, but I’m not signing up for anything until those two swaps are out the door.  I’ll let you know how it goes!

 

  • Beautiful.  For my Valentine’s Day present, Joe got us tickets to see Beautiful, the show based on Carole King’s early career.  Strangely, after seeing the show, which was toe tapping and superfun (although – huge note to lady sitting behind me – no one came here to listen to you sing.  You leave the show singing, you don’t sit in the show singing), I was not intrigued by Carole King, but rather with her cad of a husband, Gerry Goffin.  I knew that King’s writing partner was her husband, but before the show I never really thought about who wrote what, and it never occurred to me that she didn’t write any of the lyrics, but was solely a composer, at least in those early years of collaboration.  So, I started to think about how could a guy write all of those lyrics, written primarily in a woman’s voice, like Natural Woman and Will You Still Love Me.  And then I started to think, are they really in a woman’s voice, or are they more of a unisex voice, filled with all of the humanity, introspection and insecurities that I normally, but wrongly always attribute solely women.  Or, was Goffin just an excellent fiction writer, capable of writing these tiny one act plays from a woman’s perspective, because he knew the song would be going to the Shirelles or Aretha Franklin, or their babysitter, Little Eva? In any event, it was a great show, and if it comes to a town near you, see it!

 

  • Project Life.  This past weekend was my niece’s bat mitzvah.   When it came time to fill my pockets,  I only had a handful of photos.  How strange!  I’m so used to being the photographer at life events, it’s weird to be at the mercy of someone else providing photos, as I now have to wait for my niece’s photographer to finish up with his proofs, and for my sister-in-law to post the good ones on Facebook.  I feel really awkward and conspicuous at functions with my DSLR, which leads me to question what the future is for my DSLR.  We have a tripped planned to England in June, and I know I’m going to take it, but I’m secretly dreaming of a super expensive, lightweight mirrorless Fuji or Sony or Olympus.  Ah, one can dream.  In any event, while waiting, I did have a few photos on my iphone, and there were some photos already on Facebook, so I made an insert with Ali Edward’s 6 x1 12 Layered Templates, and my nieces’ speech and my brother’s toast.  You want to see it?  So do I – but my mother liked it so much she took it, and now I’m waiting for another copy to arrive from Persnickety prints.  So, I’ll show you when it gets here!

 

  • Batman v. Superman.  Of course we had to see this opening weekend.  So Ben Affleck was a totally lame Batman.  Rather than being dark and mysterious, he was just glum and constipated.  And, the ending of this movie was just downright bleak, and a soul suck.  This movie was below zero fun.  At least the commemorative popcorn bucket is pretty cool, but that’s about it.

 

  • Happy Planners.  I want one.  I don’t need one.  What else is new?  I can’t even tell you why I want one.  I’m happy with my Traveler’s Notebook setup, and I don’t want to carry around anything bigger.  I don’t like the vertical layout of the Happy Planner, I like the horizontal layout of an Erin Condren.  But, I like the ARC system dics!  I like the idea of being able to remove pages, and adding pages.  I have seen people “Arc” their Erin Condren planners – uncoiling the binding, cutting off the leftover fringe, and repunching with an Arc punch.  But, that seems like a big risk for a lot of money – these planners are pricey!  I don’t even want to decorate it – I don’t get all of those planner layouts.  I don’t really get planning to plan.  But, I feel like I want something bigger to not plan my week, but to record my daily events to help me out with Project Life.  I guess I want to use it like a diary, with minimalistic entries, to jot my stories down as a placeholder for the eventual Project Life pocket.   I do carry around a notebook with morning pages in my Traveler’s Notebook, but when I do remember to write morning pages, I don’t write daily memories, I write things like this blog post – random thoughts.   There’s a Michael’s coupon today for 40% off one item, and there’s a free shipping offer for four hours, between 4-8 today, so today might be the day.  Or not – because I haven’t totally justified it yet.

 

  • State prisons.  Tomorrow, I have to see a client at SCI Graterford, and I started to mull over what my favorite state prison is, and then I stopped myself.  I really shouldn’t have a favorite state prison.  But, if I did – it wouldn’t be Graterford, uch.

And those are my random Monday morning think abouts!  Hope you have more interesting things going on!

Basic CMYK

Yearly Make-Over

Every year, I do a little blog makeover, and every year, I think that this new container is going to miraculously make me a better, more consistent blogger.

Every year, I’m wrong.  But, the blog feels fresher, and remains an ever patiently waiting home for my stories.

January and February were honestly pretty crappy around here – Joe was still in recovery mode from his broken foot, on the first year anniversary of my father’s death – almost to the hour – my brother was in a car accident, breaking both of his legs, and there was work upheaval that made going to work every day not fun.  So between trips to physical therapy and the orthopedist (with Joe), visits to the hospital and then nursing home (with my brother), and playing office politics, I was happy to spend my free time knitting, making a bit of art, and catching up with Project Life, and even the idea of blogging was pretty much a drag.  But, now, Joe has been cleared to go back to work in full capacity, my brother is home and on the mend, and work has returned to the normal, crazy place it’s been for the last 20 years of my career.  So, now it’s time to blog.

I’ll probably redo the header, but all I really did was switch wordpress themes – maybe that’s all you need to do sometimes to get out of rut – switch themes in every sense.  While I loved the last theme, it really was hard to read, and I couldn’t get the text color right without upgrading to the pro theme, and until I become a pro blogger, I certainly don’t need a pro theme.  So, I saw this theme, Button, on someone else’s blog today, and I liked the featured photos, and the bright orange colors, and inspired, I thought – time to blog!

And, since I had no idea when I woke up this morning that I was going to visit ye ol’ blog, I didn’t have any photos prepared for a real post, so I thought I’d start the year, er March, off with a gratuitous cute dog photo as my first featured photo.

So, happy belated New Year to all, and perhaps more tomorrow!

Basic CMYK

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