Misc Monday ~ in which it’s still Monday some places

It’s still Monday. Barely.

I wanted to write this post earlier, but I REALY wanted to have the giveaway photo for you, so I kept putting it off. Now, with an hour and a half left to go in Monday, I finally have the photo:


This is what you’re entering a giveaway for. A Spiraldex self-inking stamp, a lined journal, two fountain pens (a JinHao and a Noodler’s Ahab), and some ink samples. I may throw in a few other things, too. If so, though, those will be last-minute additions and won’t be in pictures.

One reminder – I did my best cleaning out these two pens after I tried them and decided they weren’t the weight of pen I prefer, so they should be at least mostly clean. However, I can’t guarantee they are completely clean, so I recommend cleaning them out before use.

To enter the giveaway today, leave me a comment with suggestions for how you conquer procrastination… or, if you’re like me and haven’t learned that yet, some sympathy for the lack of sleep sometimes caused by procrastination would be nice.

Misc Monday ~ in which I link to Bullet Journal sites

I haven’t talked much about Bullet Journals on here, but I have been doing a lot of looking into how other people use their BuJo (common abbreviation for Bullet Journal) in the year-plus since I started mine. Let’s look into some of those other reference sites today, shall we?

  • Bulletjournal.com ~ first we have the official site. This is the best place to begin if you are looking at whether or not a Bullet Journal is right for you. However, this is not a one-stop-shop anymore. Too many people have made Bullet Journalling their own. You can certainly use the BuJo in its original, simple form. But if this looks too austere for you, don’t worry. There are plenty of mods you can make (and plenty of examples of these mods).
  • Boho Berry ~ Kara at Boho Berry is not the first example of a more colorful, creative Bullet Journal that I found, but her journal is one of the ones that inspired me to do more with mine. The link at the top of this bullet is one of her early BuJo posts; she has more here and here.
  • Tiny Ray of Sunshine ~ Kim is another one of the bloggers whose BuJo I first saw as an example of what I could do with mine. Hers adds color to the official plan (not that the official BuJo site says you *can’t* add color) but is otherwise very minimalistic. It’s a refreshing change among some of the elaborate journals out there. (She also has more BuJo posts here.)
  • Wundertastisch ~ Sandra at Wundertastisch is a Bullet Journal blogger I found later on, but she has some good ideas that would be helpful to new BuJo-ers. She also has some free printables which may work well for you if printables are your thing. (I tried using printables, but with a very few exceptions I found that I would print something which appealed to me at the time, and then not use it.)
  • Sublime Reflection ~ I don’t remember when I found this site (and I think I found it via Pinterest, where you can get sucked into a black hole of BuJo ideas) but this particular spread was useful for me in getting my weekly layout ironed out into something I would use successfully.
  • Pretty Prints and Paper ~ I mostly visited this site when I was trying out the daily challenge prompts (handwriting, planning, etc) and didn’t visit much after I decided that the daily challenges were too much structure for me. Still, even if you don’t like the challenges, she has a lot of good examples and links.
  • Time Management Options ~ There are three sites I used primarily when I was deciding on my time management / tracking. I started using a bar with my time tracking at the top of my daily spreads, like the ones shown here (Boho Berry) and here (Passion Themed Life). Sometimes I will still go back to those bars (for one thing, because they’re easy to draw and I – for example – don’t bring my Spiraldex stamp along on vacation) but I found that I wasn’t as good about using the time tracker bar as I was about using the Spiraldex. They both use the same principle, so I have no idea why I like to use more often than the other.

So there’s a bit of linkity to help you with your BuJo set-up, if you use (or want to try) the Bullet Journal method. I love it because of how flexible the system is. (You should be able to get a hint of that from the variety in the links above, and that’s just scratching the surface on BuJo links.)

For today’s contest entry, if you have looked into the BuJo, please let me know which sites (if any) inspired your journal! If you don’t BuJo, then just any comment will be fine.

(Reminder: the give-away will be for a blank notebook, a couple of fountain pens and ink samples, and a self-inking Spiraldex stamp. I meant to have a picture for today’s blog post, but didn’t get it taken over the weekend. I’ll try to take one this week instead. Entries will be accepted for the entire month of April, with the give-away closing on Sunday, 4/30, at 8am Pacific.)

Misc Monday ~ in which I have a giveaway

Happy Monday, and Happy April! I feel like doing a giveaway today… sound okay to you?

So, I’ve only made a little reference to it, but I’ve been using the Bullet Journal method for organizing for a little over the past year. I’ve been really enjoying it. I’ve also been using the Spiraldex time tracking system for a while, too. (I got the Spiraldex info from here, but here are some other good links about it.) After using print-outs of the Spiraldex for a while, I decided to make a stamp out of it. And then I realized that I wanted to modify the stamp I’d made, so I made a second one and now have one to give away.

I also have picked up some fountain pens that I decided to try which I decided I wasn’t going to keep for one reason or another (though both still work just fine; they’re just not for me). So in addition to the Spiraldex stamp, I’m also giving away a JinHao 250 fountain pen and a Noodler’s Ahab pen. (The JinHao just didn’t feel right in my hand, and the Noodler’s pen is plastic – which makes it a lighter weight pen than I prefer. So it’s entirely personal preference.)

I’m also running out of room in my ink sample storage, so I’ll throw in a few ink samples I’ve picked up from Goulet Pens. And, I have several blank journals (and some lined journals) which I have no current use for, so I’ll pick one of those later and add it as well.

I’m going to have this give-away run for the rest of the month, and will pick a winner on the last day of the month (which conveniently happens to be a Sunday). Entries will be open until 8am Pacific Time on Sunday, April 30th. I’ll use a random number generator to pick a winner later on Sunday, and will post the winner in May 1st’s Misc Monday blog.

So, to recap: you could win a care package including a Spiraldex self-inking stamp, a JinHao 250 fountain pen, a Noodler’s Ahab fountain pen, some ink samples, and an as-yet undetermined blank journal. (It might be lined, or blank, or grid. I don’t know yet.) How to enter, you want to know? Well, give me a minute. Let’s talk about Bullet Journalling a bit first.

For the best explanation of it, check out the official website. But a quick summary of it is as follows: you use a blank journal as the base for a journal-slash-diary. (Some people modify other planners, but I don’t do it that way.) You then use whatever combination of monthly, weekly, daily, and specialty spreads you like in order to track your tasks, events, etc. People use the Bullet Journal to track all kinds of EVERYTHING, from daily to-do lists to weight loss spreads to financial savings goals to vacation planning lists. It’s truly amazing how people have adapted the Bullet Journal. I have pictures of a few of my own spreads to share, though I have hidden some of the more personal information for the purpose of sharing the pictures. You can also see areas where I have made mistakes and resorted to white-out to fix the errors.

Here’s a picture showing how I use the Spiraldex. I have a color-coding system that I use for basics (work, sleep, knitting, etc) and then I write in the day’s additional colors below the Spiraldex. (This is the newer one that I’m keeping. The one I’m giving away looks like this one, but with blank circles instead of circles with the hours filled in.) This is also an example of how I use my daily spreads. (I use monthly, weekly, and daily spreads, since the to-do list aspect is what I appreciate most about the BuJo.)

Bullet Journal

This is my monthly spread. By the end of the month I will have filled in the top section with another quote or stickers or something – whatever speaks to me at the time. (Also, the picture cut off the “April 2017” header. Oops.)

Bullet Journal

Some people do a small habit (etc) tracker. Mine is a full 2-page spread. I track EVERYTHING I CAN THINK OF – in addition to habits and medications, I have a section for weight tracking, sleep tracking, and step tracking. New this month I added a notes section, where I can write down things like headaches, cramps, or whatever else I didn’t plan for.

Bullet Journal

This photo is of my cat tracker and misc. monthly stuff. I like tracking what recipes I tried each month, as well as what knitted (or crocheted, etc) objects I finished in a month. This is also where I track my progress on my 101 in 1001 Challenge. And last, but certainly not least, this is where I keep track of my monthly books read. I used March’s here instead of April, so that you can see how I use it. I write in the title of each book as I start it, and then color it in when I finish it (or cross it off if I DNF it). And for the cat stuff, I track what I feed her, when I feed her, how much she weighs, and any other random stuff I need to track. Vet visits and hairballs are two examples of these other things.

Bullet Journal

And finally, here’s my weekly spread. This is where I’ve been tracking my meal plan, my water intake, my blog posts, and the mileage for my goal to walk from Hobbiton to Rivendell. (So I track official walks here, not whatever walking around I do at the office.)

Bullet Journal

So that’s my Bullet Journal in a nutshell! Do you use the BuJo? If so, what are your favorite spreads?

And, the part of this blog post you’ve been waiting for: how do you enter the contest? Well, leave me a comment on this post (and be sure to include your email address so I can contact you if you win). For today’s entry, any comment is fine! There will be additional ways to enter during the rest of the month, so stay tuned!

Edit: I forgot to mention that I will ship anywhere. If you are picked in the drawing and have a mailing address, I will send you the package of stuff!

Misc Monday ~ in which we discuss Susan Pevensie

You’ve read the Narnia books, right? I hope so. At least enough to understand the basic fate of the main characters from The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. Because if you haven’t, you probably won’t understand this post fully. (And frankly, reading the entire series of 7 books won’t take you that long. They’re each about 4 -6 hours long as read by the Harper Audio narrators in the audio book version I have.)

Anyway: Susan Pevensie. Queen Susan the Gentle. One of my favorite book characters from my childhood. And yet, re-reading the books as an adult, I get the impression that her author was overwhelmed by her. I don’t know that C.S. Lewis really understood Susan, or at least not Susan as a young adult. Even looking at his treatment of her in The Horse and His Boy, which shows Susan as an adult Queen in Narnia, I don’t think Lewis really knew what to do with her.

When I was young, and I read these books, I empathized with Susan. I felt I was Susan, in a way. I was the eldest sister (though I only had one sibling) and I was the practical one. I was also not a tomboy. So of course I felt most connected to Susan. And when she was left out of The Last Battle, it felt like this world I had grown to love was abandoning me. This feeling didn’t last and I got over it, because by that time I had also found some small connection to Jill and so I transferred my empathy for that last book. But still, I felt hurt, and abandoned, and it stuck with me enough that The Last Battle is still the Narnia book I re-read the least often.

It is only recently that I have begun thinking about what Susan would have been like after the train accident. Not immediately after, because from the first reading of the book I understood that in one tragic wreck Susan was left an orphan, alone without her brothers or sister or parents. (I think at that first reading it slipped my mind that Eustace was her cousin.) So when I was younger and thought of Susan after the Narnia series was over, I knew she would be sad.

And that’s as far as I got.

I never stopped to think what it would be like to have to attend all the funerals alone. To be 21 and have no close family left at all. I started thinking about it when I read some great pieces on the subject a year or three ago, and that was reinforced when I listened to the books this time around. It seems to me like Susan is the most adult-like of the children throughout the entire series. And while I am not going to speculate (as many have) on Lewis’ prejudices or biases, I will say that indicates to me that he never really understood Susan. Yes, there are children who act older than their age. (I was one.) But there is more depth to them than just kids who act old, and Susan doesn’t show much of that.

Anyway, I haven’t fully formed my thoughts on this, because part of what interests me the most about Susan Pevensie is not what Lewis wrote about her, but what other people have. Here are some samples (by the same author, because I love them):

the Pevensies after the War

Susan after Narnia

Do you have opinions on Susan, or the Chronicles as a whole? Or have you encountered any beloved childhood books that have completely different meanings as adults? It’s an interesting thing to reflect on, and it makes me wonder what about me has changed to make the books feel so different… the books certainly haven’t changed, since I’m reading the same, much-loved copies I was gifted as a child.

Misc Monday ~ in which there are not enough spoons

Many of you are probably already aware of the Spoon Theory. (Those of you who are not should read up on it. It’s a great way to describe energy rationing for those with chronic illness or disabilities. Even if this doesn’t impact you at all, it probably impacts one or more of your close friends or family members, whether or not you know it.)

Now, usually I have plenty of spoons. However, I do have occasional depressive tendencies. (I think many of us do, whether or not we acknowledge them.) I do not mean “ooh, you get sad a lot” when I refer to depression. I am referring to the more physical version, which comes with fatigue and a complete lack of energy or motivation to do anything. And I don’t mean that I don’t want to do my chores. When I get depressed, I don’t want to do anything. And I don’t have the energy for much, either. There are days when the only reason I get out of bed is because I have to go to work. (I don’t have bad enough episodes to prevent me from going to work on my worst days. I have it comparatively good, and I recognize that. But I have also learned not to belittle my issues just because “someone else has it worse”.)

Anyway, like I said, usually I have plenty of spoons. But last week, I had barely enough spoons for the entire early part of the week. I managed to do what I had to, and only what I had to. Once that was done, I collapsed on the couch, staring at the TV and not even really doing any crafting because even knitting or crocheting took too much energy.

This is something I am both used to and not. I am used to it enough that I know there are days when I am not going to get anything done and have come to accept that there’s no use beating myself up over it; that will only make things worse because guilt feeds my depression and makes it last longer. Sleep is one of the things that helps, but it seems I have to force myself to get sleep because getting ready for bed takes too much effort.

So… all of this is to explain why this blog post is delayed, and being posted in the afternoon instead of the morning. Once my spoons were replenished toward the end of last week, I didn’t have time to catch up on everything and scheduling blog posts was one of the easy things to set aside.

But, I am also writing this post as a reminder. Sometimes people who seem perfectly fine aren’t. And sometimes they need extra understanding or extra help even when there’s no visible reason why they should. If you have enough spoons, and you see someone who is running low, please consider doing something to help them out. Even a small thing for you could be huge for them.

Misc Monday ~ in which I become one of the 3%

I did something this weekend which I have been wanting to do for a while: I donated blood.

No big deal, right? Yay me. But, it got me thinking. (Part of the reason for the thinking was some of the paperwork & promotional material they had on hand at the donation site.) Why had I not donated before? I’ve been eligible (off & on) since I was old enough, and this is the first time I donated.

Well, I guess it’s the same reasons a lot of eligible people don’t donate. Too busy, too much of a hassle to go somewhere to do it, and – the big one for most people – NEEDLES. Ick. Giving blood for lab work is bad enough; you want me to voluntarily get a needle stuck in me?

And yet, I don’t really feel that way about needles. Shots are no big deal. Blood work (now) isn’t much worse. Just don’t make me watch the needle going in, and I’m fine. (When I was a kid the story was different and involved a tech trying and failing to find my vein multiple times, but that was then and this is now.)

Anyway, I finally got there, thanks in no small part to my dad booking the appointment for me. I’d been wanting to go donate, but he made the extra push that got me off my butt to actually do it.

And while I was there, I found out that only 37% of the American public is eligible to donate. Between permanent disqualifications (diseases, lifestyle, medications), temporary ones (shorter term illnesses, international travel, vaccines), and age restrictions, that leaves only 37% of the population who can donate. And of that percentage, only 5% do donate. In my specific area? Make it 3%. Yes. You read that right. Only 3% of people in my area donate blood.

And I hadn’t been… why again? Because it was too much of a bother.

Yeah. That’s gonna change.

With the current political climate, I’ve been trying to come up with things I can do to make a change for the better. This is one of them.

Misc Monday ~ in which we muse about social media

I wasn’t quite sure where to start for this first official Misc Monday, but then I remembered that a friend of mine commented on the introductory one that I should talk about virtual friends and how they’re real friends. And it’s true: I’m sure that all (or at least most) of you have friends you met online who you still consider real friends. You may have never met these people IRL, and so do they still count? I think so. I am in contact more with online friends I have never met in person than just about everyone I went to school with. I won’t even pretend to claim that online friends aren’t real friends.

But then that got me thinking – how do we meet new online friends these days? Twitter, perhaps. Blogs, definitely. Most of the people I know don’t meet new people on Facebook, since they have their privacy settings locked down relatively tightly there. But Instagram? Snapchat? Other new social media options that the kids are using to get away from the formerly-cool sites which their parents now use?

I remember some of the older ones. MySpace is an obvious choice. But did any of you use Plurk? (I know at least one of you did, since that’s where I met the person who suggested this topic.) And how many of you went to school in the era of IRC chatrooms? I met a boyfriend there back in the day. (Yes, we met in person. No, it didn’t end well. And that’s all I’m going to say about it.)

It really makes you think. I had school-sponsored pen-pals in elementary school. Do they still do that anymore? Or if they do, are they online instead of pen and paper? And if that has changed, is it a good thing, or bad? (My answer: change is often a good thing, so it’s probably good. Unless the change is that they no longer do it – it was an amazing experience to communicate with someone in a completely different situation than me, and kids these days need to experience that at least as much as I did.)

Anyway. That’s my initial take on the subject. I may think of more to say on the matter later. What are your thoughts?