2019 Bullet Journal

Thursday, February 14, 2019 0 No tags Permalink

It’s a new year, and I just started on my third bullet journal. You can read the original post here. I really enjoy the creative process of putting the journal together, and I enjoy tracking things like the weather and the amount of sunshine we receive here in Michigan in the winter (not much). I understand my Grandpa used to keep track of the weather as well, so it must run in families or something. My monthly goal pages look just about the same as in the original post I made, as is the monthly tracking log. The weekly spreads are also pretty much the same. I have added some new overall tracking pages though, and I think doing it for so long, it looks a little cleaner.

Weekly Spread:

2019 Monthly Plans:

Sun Tracker:

Bullet Journal

Thursday, February 16, 2017 0 No tags Permalink

Bullet Journal

It seems like everyone these days has a bullet journal. I first read about it in Buzzfeed last May. And then I started seeing them all over in Instagram and Pinterest. Touted as “The Analog System for the Digital Age” (see the details here), there have been countless articles written about the Bullet Journal, or BuJo. A lot of people use them for productivity. Some people use them as calendars. If you know me, you know I maintain a series of lists of work tasks already, and update them weekly. I also have a big House of Doolittle calendar that I buy yearly and drag with me everywhere:


Additionally, I keep my hours and a short task list of what I’ve done during the work day in an excel chart. Did I really need a third way of tracking all of this information? I mean, there are a lot of nice things about the journals. I love a nice notebook, don’t you? And I have a good sized collection of fountain pens, washi tape and different colors of inks. I often find myself scrolling back through my Instagram photos to see what I was doing or what the weather was like a year ago, but I don’t take photos every day so that’s kind of hit or miss on what I will find. Ultimately, I decided to start a Bullet Journal to track things outside of work that have meaning, and use the BuJo as a bit of a creative outlet as well.

Now, there are a million ways to set these up, and I encourage you to look around online, especially on pinterest, if you are looking for ideas. But here’s my set-up.

Monthly Goal Pages


Each month I set up a goal page. It has a tiny calendar on the top so I can see how the weeks flow, a quote about the weather or the month or something inspirational, and three boxes for tasks, joy and resolutions. The task box is stuff I need to accomplish or projects I want to get done. March is National Crochet Month, so I need to keep that in mind and make sure I have goals set for those projects. I also want to finish sewing a purse I cut out months ago. I just started working on this page for next month, so I haven’t added all of my tasks…honestly, I’m likely going to add some of the February tasks that I might not get done this month. The joy section is a small list of things I can look forward to in the upcoming month for when I’m feeling a bit blue. These are not big things, just small things that could bring a bit of daily joy (did you know a small Shamrock Shake only has 150 MG of sodium?). The resolutions aren’t really big new years resolutions, but things I resolve to do/track/work on during the month.

Monthly Tracking Log

Bullet Journal

Next to the monthly goal page I keep a monthly tracking log. The top portion are good things that I want to track (doing a great job on the daily letters!) and the bottom portion are things I don’t want to or shouldn’t do (like take ibuprofen every day). In an ideal world, at the end of the month the whole top portion would be filled in and the whole bottom portion would be blank. I don’t necessarily track the same things every month, and normally the items on my ‘resolutions’ box from the monthly goal page are in the tracker.

Weekly Spreads


Next up are my weekly spreads. I tried a number of formats before I settled on this. And every week is different…that’s where the creative outlet comes in. I try different hand-drawn fonts, or add different washi tape bits or stickers. Sometimes I try drawing something. I always put the sunrise/sunset times (right below the weekday), and the average and actual temperatures (at the bottom of the day). At the end of each day, I draw an indication of the weather…partly sunny, rain, snow, etc. I do note in the meetings I have for the week, as I now wind up taking the BuJo home to work on at night instead of dragging the calendar along. I don’t really write my task list for work, though. I also have a section where I write something I’m grateful for each day, and then there’s a small note section as well. Here’s next week’s page spread, themed for Twin Peaks Day:


Special Pages

I have a number of other special pages for things I want to track over time. There is one for my stand-up paddleboarding and one for crochet projects. I have a page for craft project ideas and a list of birthdays so I can remember to buy cards. I have a sun seeker page where I track days with some measurable sun, and a page for garden and nature observations (thunderstorm on January 17, the starlings returned to their nest on January 30). I have a page where I am keeping track of who I write to each day, so I don’t seem like a nut and write to the same person twice in a week.


There’s not much to a Bullet Journal…a notebook and a pen would work. But if you go to Michaels or follow boards on Pinterest, you’ll quickly learn that there are a ton of supplies you can use for your BuJo. Here’s what I use:

  • Rhodia notebook, dot grid, 5.5 x 8.3 inches. I have a number of Leuchtturm notebooks as well, but I find that some of the inks show some shadowing or even a bit of bleed through. The Rhodia doesn’t.
  • Pens/Ink – this is another area where I can use my fountain pens and ink. Since I first do the designs in pencil and erase after inking, it’s always helpful to test on something else if the ink will smear. The Noodler’s ink always smears no matter how long it sits. All of the black is done with Tombow 62038 Fudenosuke Brush Pens (2 Pack from Amazon). They don’t smear, they don’t bleed and they have a nice bit of flex. Love them and at $8 for the set, it’s totally worth it.
  • Markers – I have the Kuretake Pocket color brush set in 12 colors. Sometimes I want more colors, but I deal with what I have.
  • Colored Pencils – I use a large Crayola set. They aren’t great, but it’s what I had and I don’t hand draw much. You could probably get a better set.
  • Washi Tape – At first, I didn’t understand it. Now, it’s an addiction. I use it on the BuJo. I use it on my envelopes for letter writing. I love it, and have many rolls in many different themes.

So that’s it. Are you thinking of starting a Bullet Journal? I’d love to hear about it!

February Update

Friday, February 3, 2017 0 No tags Permalink

February Update

After sporadic posting altogether, and only postcards in months, it is time for a February Update. One of my goals is to post two times a week in February, so you should be seeing a few update posts not related to postcards in addition to the regular postcard posts.

Now that we are past Groundhog Day, we have 45 days until the official start of spring. We have not seen much sun lately, and February is supposed to be a bit colder than average. The starlings at the shelter did return to the nest earlier in the week, which is a good sign. We have one robin sticking around, but I saw him in December so I am thinking he just lives here year-round. Still, I have heard the male chickadees singing their spring song a few times. I am still hoping I can be out on the paddle board April 1, but that may be a bit early.

December Updates

Tuesday, December 22, 2015 0 No tags Permalink

Misc. December Updates

Here we are, at year-end, and I haven’t done a good job of posting anything other than postcards. Today’s a good day for Misc. December Updates. First, it’s been unseasonably warm this year. Freakishly warm. 60 degrees on Thanksgiving. Bob and I took two walks downtown that day, and had a wonderful dinner with all our family at Mom’s house. That’s the Elizabeth Building above. It was built in 1912 and named for the builder’s wife, according to this. For as long as I remember, The Hair Shed has decorated this window with their wigs. I’ve always found it fascinating.


It’s supposed to be warm this week, too. How warm? According to Accuweather:



We’ve had some amazing sunrises:


And fantastic sunsets, too:


Bob installed my cat weathervane on the new shelter pole barn. Don’t you love it? I do!

Last night, the winter solstice came at 11:49pm. We are celebrating the first day of the return to the light tonight, with taco soup, cheddar jalapeno bread and a steamed pudding. I’ll be sure to take a photo of the pudding if it turns out. I’m posting regularly on Instagram if you want to see what I’m doing on a regular basis. I’m sitting on a ton of new postcards for the new year. Wishing you and yours much joy in the year ahead.

Misc. Monday


Wooooo dog, this post has it all. It’s been months since I’ve done a general, non-postcard update. So here it is, the fruits of the summer.


Our veggie garden did great this year. I made two batches of salsa verde (tomatillos, onion, garlic, jalapeno).


In addition to tomatoes for eating, I made a batch of sauce and cooked down two batches of tomato paste (boil and peel tomatoes, puree, cook down, put in pan in 350 degree oven and bake until paste).


And I made a batch of sauerkraut. We got a fair amount of radishes. Three heads of cabbage. Lots of tomatoes. A few carrots. Good lettuce and arugula. Next year we’re planting more green beans and more peppers. This year we also got a compost barrel (and inside bucket) and we’re composting our kitchen waste. Right now I also have a batch of hard cider cooking. It’s exciting!


I’ve been crocheting up a storm. I made a mint lap blanket for a friend. Then I made this lap blanket with a ruffled edge. LOVE the ruffled edge. The yarn is Simply Soft Paints Yarn in Rose Garden.


I loved the yarn so much (and overbought), so I made a scarf and sent it to a friend who needed a scarf. Now I’m working on another scarf for another friend.

I’ve been reading, too. Just finished Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri (very good) and Me Before You by Jojo Moyes (excellent). Here’s how I turned out with the Summer Reads 2015:


What Comes Next and How to Like It: A Memoir by Abigail Thomas

The Bone Clocks: A Novel by David Mitchell

American Ghost: A Family’s Haunted Past in the Desert Southwest by Hannah Nordhaus

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel by Anthony Doerr

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

The Wishing Thread: A Novel by Lisa Van Allen

The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters

Beach Town by Mary Kay Andrews

All but two done, but I made up with two others. Not bad.

I’m getting ready to start sewing again. I have to make my Halloween costume for Howl-O-Ween at the shelter. And I have a new pattern to make a dress. Just need to pick up the fabric and I’m ready to go.

How about you? Can you believe summer is over and we’re well into autumn already?

Je Suis Charlie

Thursday, January 8, 2015 0 No tags Permalink

Je Suis Charlie

Dear friends,
I am struggling. I suspect many of us are, though it’s difficult to tell from the lack of relevant posts cluttering up my twitter and facebook feeds (come on, there are more important things to talk about now than whatever bullshit you did last night or ate for breakfast). My thoughts are with those who lost their lives, with their family members and friends and coworkers, with the people of France and with those world-wide who voice a sometimes unpopular opinion simply because not sharing is the biggest loss of all. For the journalists, satirists, artists and those who make us see life in a different way, thank you for the work you do and for your contribution to free speech. You are making the world a better place through thoughtful examination. May your voices never be silenced.

Merry Christmas

Wednesday, December 24, 2014 0 No tags Permalink


Found this meme on a tumblr somewhere. Can’t believe it’s already Christmas, can you? How quickly time passes. If you are spending time with your family, hold them a little closer and let them know how much they mean to you. If you are sad and lonely, remember that we are already on the march back to spring. It’s nearly time to start planning your spring planning and thinking about the return of the robins, etc. For each of you, I wish a peaceful holiday, no matter how you are celebrating.

The Best Natural Deodorant Ever

Thursday, December 18, 2014 0 No tags Permalink

How to De-Funk Yourself

Meow Meow Tweet deodorant

After my ACL repair surgery, I instantly found that my old standby natural deodorant, Alvera, wasn’t cutting the stink. Was it the bag of antibiotics added to my IV that made me now so funky? It’s a possibility.*

You may remember that I’ve been on this quest for a natural deodorant that works before. Sadly, my own concoction of deodorant worked for awhile before once again giving me the fire pits of doom. And you know I’ve tried many of the natural deodorants out there:

Tom’s – didn’t work at all

Kiss My Face Liquid Rock – worked, but has alum

Jason – didn’t work at all

Lush Aromaco – works, but not everyone in my life loves the smell of patchouli

Dr. Hauschka – weird medicinal smell, expensive!

Alvera – stopped working after a course of antibiotics

NOW – need to apply 3 times a day

Lavanila – not thrilled with any of their scents, need to apply 3 times a day

Somehow, somewhere, I came across Meow Meow Tweet Baking Soda Free Deodorant Cream with Grapefruit.** As having gone through fire pits the first time with a type of Lush deodorant no longer sold, and a second time with my own concoction, the fact that MMT specifically called out baking soda sensitivity was appealing. I bought a jar.


And, as you can see, I’m most of the way through that jar because it works. Now, it doesn’t stop you from sweating, but there simply is no odor when you do. The cream itself smells heavenly. And, though it’s clearly not recommended, I found that when I flossed my teeth after applying with my fingers, it tastes good too (seriously, don’t eat it!).

The consistency does change depending on temperature. This time of year, it’s solid and you can use your fingernail to scrape off a pea-sized amount. It will melt as you apply it. When we were in Chicago, the room was quite warm and the consistency was quite soft and spreadable. Either way, it works just the same.

It really smells so good, it should also be a body butter and perfume and room deodorizer and laundry detergent…basically, I’d be great with having my whole life smell like this deodorant. For me, it works all the way through to the next morning. It doesn’t burn after shaving. It’s 100 percent awesome and worth the cost. If you are a sensitive sort and are looking for a great-smelling, natural deodorant you should give Meow Meow Tweet’s a try.


*doing some research on funky body odor after a course of antibiotics, I found that re-introducing good bacteria to your system should be a top priority. Eat the yogurt with the probiotics! Eat healthy!

**I did not receive any monetary contribution or free product for my review. This stuff works for me, and I wanted to share my joy with the world.

Misc. Monday

Friends, it’s been awhile since we’ve had a Misc. Monday post. Can you believe we’re nearing the end of October? I’m trying to pull together my costume for Howl-O-Ween at work with five days left to go. What have I been working on instead of the costume?


First, Scarf Three of the #12scarvesofxmas. It’s made with two skeins of Red Heart Boutique Unforgettable in the color ‘Polo.’ It’s a very basic double crochet, 31 stitches wide. I started out trying a few different stitch patterns, but my work often requires ripping out and starting over and this is not the yarn for that. Once crocheted, it cannot easily be undone without breaking the yarn. I should be able to finish this one up this weekend. Which means I have eight weeks to finish another nine scarves. Yikes.


Every other autumn, I get the desire to re-read The Mists of Avalon for some unknown reason. Just finished that, and started this book, Ghost Song by Sarah Rayne. Not bad so far.

In other news, I’m working on some small holiday projects that I’m really excited about (including one for everyone’s refrigerator!). I’ve picked out my holiday greeting cards and am mentally writing the update already. If you like vintage-looking cards, you might want to check out Victorian Trading Company.

The chill in the air has me thinking of my favorite cold weather drink of all time, the Salty Maple Buttered Cider featured in Serious Eats. I use Kraken rum because it’s cheap as hell. Sometimes, I don’t have lemon. I don’t put salt on the rim of the glass, but if I’m feeling fancy I do sprinkle salt flakes on the top. Also, sometimes I can’t be bothered with vanilla bean and use extract. But it’s still the same basic concept, right?

Love the song. Thinking about trying out some of his dance moves…

ACL Autograft Surgery

Monday, September 22, 2014 0 No tags Permalink


It’s been nearly a week since my surgery to reconstruct my right ACL. Thought I should give an update.

We got to the hospital just after 10am and they took me back for prep pretty fast. Got all hooked up to the IV.  I’m not only afraid of needles, they often have difficulty finding an appropriate vein. Not much fun. In addition to the regular anesthesia, I received a nerve block. The anesthesiologist described it as inserting an electrode into my femoral artery and watching for which parts of my leg jumped. To be honest I was pretty doped up and don’t remember it. The nerve block works for like 17 hours. Before I knew it I was back in the surgery suite. They did tie me down and I remember the mask going on, but that’s it. The surgery was more involved than expected. When Dr. Russell got in there, he discovered that I had not only blown out the ACL but also tore the meniscus. That complication made for a longer surgery, more pain, and a longer projected recovery – a month of no weight and no driving compared to two weeks. Waking up in recovery was excruciating.  When the nurse went to remove the drains I cried and she hit me up twice with morphine.

I don’t much remember getting dressed or the ride home, but I do remember getting into the house. Bob drove up on the lawn and I managed the five feet or so on the crutches before scooting on my backside up the stairs. The combination of Percocet, a super strong anti inflammatory and the remnants of the nerve block got me through the night.

Now here’s something they don’t tell you but I read after the fact. The second night after surgery is your worst pain. The nerve block has worn off. You feel the full effects of what was done. It’s horrible. In fact, all nights are worse than the days. You’ve been up and trying to get around all day. The crutches cause other pain, in your arms, your neck, your back. Five days after surgery, the pain medication they put you on runs out. You’re supposed to be moving around more and the movement causes pain.

Bob has been my hero through all of this. It takes all I have to get from the bed to the bathroom and down five stairs to the living room (repeat as many times as you need the bathroom, all scooting up and down on your backside). Every single other thing, Bob takes care of. Hungry? Thirsty? Help getting in and out of the chair, the toilet, dressed? I need the cell phone charged or socks put on or another pillow? He does the laundry, prepares all the food, and then does every single other household task on top of it. Taking care of me and the cats and the house is a full time job where he doesn’t get a minute to sit down. Oh, and he works his regular job on top of it. He purchased and installed a shower bench and a new shower head. He is constantly thinking about how to make everything easier and better. He is encouraging and sweet and makes me feel better.

Mom has come over nearly every day. She made and brought dinner one night and she keeps me company. I’m tired and frustrated and in pain and it’s hard to keep my spirits up. She texts me all day. She’s the best mom.

There’s not much on tv and I’m tired of reading and crocheting. Sitting at home on the couch all day sounds like fun while you’re at work but reality is not as entertaining. I’m missing the best part of autumn. But right now, no pain medication and my leg pain is maybe a two. My headache is worse than my leg pain. It’s getting better. I’m anxious to have the follow up appointment Friday. Three more weeks until I can at least drive, but I will try to make it to work a week from today.

The fast details? It hurts way way more than I could have dreamed. But thanks to some amazing support each day is a little easier.